Stranger in a strange land

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Do I think all Muslims and Africans are bad? No, of course not. In fact I’m pretty certain that there are some very nice people from both groups. I just don’t know how you distinguish between the good ones and the bad ones at the immigration desk and neither does anyone else seem to, nor even care.

It is generally not first generation immigrants who cause problems. They are just grateful to be here and away from the countries they escaped from. They often work hard and try to get their children to study. It is generally the second and third generations who are the problem. They don’t feel at all grateful and refuse to do the lowly jobs their parents did. These newly entitled children of black and Muslim immigrants often don’t have the natural brains needed for high status work like doctor or lawyer and are unwilling to put in the necessary hours of study or work to that might compensate for a lack of natural intelligence. They are thus consigned to lowly jobs or remain unemployed, supported in their grievance by the Guardian and the BBC who peddle the rancorous belief that groups that fail must therefore have been discriminated against. The belief that some groups are just not very good a some things is called ‘bigotry’ and ‘racism’.

To the Muslims and black people of Britain who don’t hold such grudges I apologize for including them in my sweeping generalisation. Yet it remains the case that many Muslims and blacks have a chip on their shoulders and often blame the police, the education system or someone else for their rubbish lives. Even if they don’t complain, I still have no desire for native Britons to be replaced by alien people, no matter how nice or uncomplaining. That is just the nature of the feeling of ‘belonging’. No matter how rubbish your family, your home or your people, they are nevertheless your family, your home and the people you feel most at ease with. Almost no one would choose to swap their family for a ‘better’ family, and absolutely no one would exchange theirs for an inferior one. Only someone who hates their family or their nation would want them replaced by something else.


The country I feel I belong to is no longer a real place but exists only in my mind and in films like Brief Encounter. This England is long gone but unlike some people, I believe it really did once exist. My gripe is partly a childish one of being against modernity and the inevitable march of so-called progress. But it is also the non-childish gripe that mass immigration has contributed to my feeling of homesickness.

Like Britain, Japan has also changed a lot over the past 50 years but I don’t believe middle-aged or elderly Japanese feel quite the same sense of loss as do Europeans. This is because their country is still belongs to them, their children and their grandchildren. They don’t feel like strangers in their own cities as many Europeans do, or that they have been swamped by alien invaders. While native Japanese make up about 98.5% of the population of Japan, in my city of Leicester the percentage of native Britons living there has fallen from a super-majority when I was born to a minority now.

I am homesick for the past because I preferred it when there was less diversity. I actually want to be surrounded by people who think, behave and look like me. I would be happy living with virtual clones of myself. And if I felt the need for some variety I could always hop on a plane to the Gaza Strip or the Democratic Republic of Congo, or even just turn on the TV and watch the Discovery Channel. No need to invite millions of immigrants to come and turn my homeland into a land full of strangers.

I realise of course that my vision for Britain is not necessarily the same as that of the other 50 million native Britons who live there. But what if most of those people silently felt the same as me? Couldn’t we do something about it? Even if turning the clock back is not possible, we might at least stop more immigrants from settling here, even if there is little to be done about the millions who are already here.

There is an argument against this, pithily summed up in the title of a TV movie written by Johnny Speight, that ‘If there weren’t any blacks you’d have to invent them’, meaning that if we ever got rid of black people we would soon find someone else to complain about; probably Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. And if we got rid of them we would start grouching about the Jews, and if we got rid of all our immigrants we would moan about each other: our loud neighbours, the stupid progressive liberals and so on. Can’t we just deport everyone who is different from us in some way? The amount of complaining never diminishes, it just gets more and more trivial and petty.

I have a lot of time for this argument since I recognise in myself an almost constant low level of annoyance, regardless of how well or badly things are going for me. However, another part of me says, So what? If there were no burglaries we would start moaning more about say, pick-pocketing. Does this mean that the police should therefore decriminalise burgalry since our basic level of worry always remains about the same, regardless of what the police do? I don’t think so. Even if the subjective worrying of people today is not much greater than that of people living in a damp cave 20,000 years ago, the objective differences still matter. You still, objectively, stand a better chance of dying of pneumonia or being gored to death by a mammoth 20,000 years ago than you do now and that really matters, regardless of your subjective reaction. Also there is the phenomenon of ‘false consciousness’, in which it is possible to believe you are happy when you aren’t. I used to think that if you thought you were happy then you must be happy, but I have since changed my mind. I now think you can kid yourself, or allow others to kid you, into believing you feel something you don’t. As Scott Walker sang in his song The Bridge:

At night the people’s faces danced
Like pearls colliding on the breast
Of fat Marie whose thunder laugh
Was just a thread from crying.

Maybe some cavemen were also just a thread from crying and victims of false consciousness.


One thought on “Stranger in a strange land”

  1. That country still exists in many rural/affluent parts of England. The problem is that it mainly exists in communities where people over the age of 55 are in the majority, so in a way it’s a dying culture. There are young people living in such areas but there aren’t many of them.

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