No, I don’t mean the libidinous poet, although he was wonderful too, at times and in places. Yet the Byron I’m talking about is also deeply attached to Greece, albeit spelled differently.
Well, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, especially since the picture is a dead giveaway anyhow. The Byron in question is a chain of hamburger joints. It became widely famous within a narrow circle some three years ago, when George Osborne tweeted a photograph of himself at his desk, eating a Byron burger with greasy chips.
That was a ploy, for being prolier than thou is de rigueur for our leaders, especially those who were born with silver utensils in their various orifices. George, supposed to be ‘posh’ because his family sells a lot of wallpaper, thought he could counteract that damaging image by eating plebeian grub. However, the ploy backfired.
Our guardians of proletarian probity calculated that, including the diet soda with which George washed his repast down, he hadn’t got much change out of a tenner – this, even though a Mickey D burger costs an impeccably populist 99p.
Because he could afford 10 quid for his dinner, George was outed as an inveterate posh boy, never to be trusted with a high-level job. His loss was Byron’s gain, for the chain received a tonne of free publicity.
I’ve eaten there once, but wasn’t overly impressed – I can make a better (and bigger) burger at home in five minutes. Nevertheless I’m now going to patronise Byron every chance I get, even if I have to take antacid afterwards.
What raised Byron in my estimation is its participation in a sting designed to flush out illegal immigrants among its employees. The operation was handled with the flair that explains why the French have referred to the English as perfide Albion since the thirteenth century.
The employees of Byron’s 15 London restaurants were lured to work at 9am on the pretext of a training exercise in ‘elf and safety’. When they arrived, they were welcomed with open arms by burly chaps from the Home Office, who demanded to see their work permits and immigration papers.
In many lamentable cases, those turned out to be either nonexistent or forged. As a result, 35 employees from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt were summarily deported, and some 150 more have gone into hiding.
One would expect that Byron’s management would be congratulated on doing their civic duty at a considerable detriment to the business. After all, filling the new vacancies with legal employees is going to cost the company a pretty penny.
It is of course possible that the Home Office had twisted the burger-flippers’ arm to make them cooperate – a company can be fined £10,000 per illegal employee. However, barring proof to the contrary, one has to assume that Byron acted out of genuine respect for the immigration law of the land, thus displaying a sentiment that’s largely dormant among the lovies of this world. On the other hand, the opposite sentiment is very much awake, which they went on to prove in short order, as it were.
With the speed one has learned to expect from our countrymen endowed with a flaming social – or rather socialist – conscience, they formed a campaign group snappily called ‘Shame on Byron – No One Is Illegal’. They then issued a statement reinforcing such groups’ reputation for sound intellect and impeccable logic:
“No human being is illegal. No one is disposable. Byron have acted shamefully and have made an example of themselves as a deeply disrespectful employer. Our protest aims to shine a spotlight on this unethical behaviour, deter it from happening anywhere else, and to support workers still working at the restaurants to resist exploitation.”
One has to agree: no human being is illegal. Some, however, commit illegal acts, such as forging immigration papers, work permits and some such. Without in any way diminishing their human worth, their transgressions ought to be punished, and deportation strikes one as the most logical method of doing so.
This particular transgression is at the centre of public attention because, largely thanks to legal and illegal immigration, Britain’s population is growing at 500,000 a year. If this demographic trend proceeds apace – and it seems to be, if anything, accelerating – before long we’ll have Russia’s population with one-seventieth of Russia’s territory.
It’s not just the quantity but also quality that’s problematic, for many new arrivals hate the West, even though they aren’t averse to the riches the West can provide. They tend to think that Britain must adapt to them, rather than vice versa.
London has already been turned into a foreign city. Do the Byron shamers want the whole country to go to the same pot?
The uncharitable answer is yes, they do. But, this being Sunday, let’s be charitable and just say they haven’t thought this through. For their benefit, the thinking organ is located in the head, not, as they seem to believe, three feet lower.
See you at Byron’s. Don’t bother ordering your burger medium-rare. It’ll arrive medium anyway.