This is one those teasing headlines that writers sometimes try on to draw readers in. A slightly dishonest trick, this, and I apologise.
In point of fact, I don’t think massive immigration from Bulgaria and especially Romania is good for us. Over the last decade Britain has already received 1.7 million arrivals from Eastern Europe, most of whom, as if by magic, settled in Labour-voting areas.
There, I’m being facetious again. In fact no magic was involved, unless you believe that Tony Blair possesses supernatural powers. Anyway, about a million out of the 1.7 came from Poland, the rest mostly from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
A few months ago I made a purely empirical observation based on the experience of Britain and other host countries. All newly arrived communities tend to affect the crime rate, and not in the direction of lowering it. But they don’t affect it equally – a lot depends on where they arrive from. It so happens, and don’t ask me why, that there are proportionally fewer criminals among arrivals from Catholic or Protestant countries than among those espousing the Eastern rite – such as Serbia, Russia and, well, Romania and Bulgaria.
A few days ago that observation was confirmed by a couple of German politicians, who warned that every EU country blessed with a sizeable Romanian community has received, as a side benefit, a massive increase in crime, both organised and spontaneous. Drugs, prostitution, gambling, mugging, robbery, pick-pocketing, murder – nothing is excluded.
That’s partly why I’m feeling a trifle inhospitable in advance of the anticipated deluge a year from now. So I suspect do you. So, more important, do Dave and his jolly friends. Alas, just like you and me, they can’t do much about it. The EU won’t let them.
In a telling aside, our Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has suggested that it just may be possible to overrule the European Court of Human Rights over votes for prisoners, even though we would suffer political repercussions. Parliament, he said, can be sovereign on this issue. The emphasis is mine, for these three words correct my woeful misapprehension. Silly me, I thought Parliament was sovereign, full stop. Just goes to show how little I understand England’s ancient constitution.
Now Parliament doesn’t seem to be sovereign on the issue of a Balkan swarm descending upon England’s land, thereby making it both less green and less pleasant. That’s why HMG has to resort to subterfuge to limit the influx, but without getting on the wrong side of the EU.
To that end Dave called a meeting the other day and told Her Majesty’s ministers ‘to kick the tyres’ on the immigration proposals. More appropriate kicking clichés would include the words ‘long grass’ or ‘touch’, but we already know that immigration doesn’t happen to be an issue on which Parliament is sovereign.
Switzerland, on the other hand, cut its economic throat by staying out of the EU. So we can’t possibly believe all those lying surveys that place its quality of life at Number 1 in the world. That simply can’t be – staying (or getting) out of the EU is tantamount to instant penury and social disintegration, we all know that. Dave, Nick and Ed have told us so.
But it’s undeniable that such suicidal hermeticism does allow greater leeway in little matters like immigration. The Swiss ground rules are simple: do come, but you’re not entitled to any free social services, including healthcare. And the tiniest of transgressions, even if it’s only J-walking, means instant deportation with no due process anywhere in sight. No questions asked, no answers needed.
Of course acting in this manner here would be impossible, for this would run against the grain of my two favourite sets of initials: EU and PC. Witness the fact that the UKIP candidate in Eastleigh, the seat Chris Huhne has vacated to avoid a driving ban, has been made to apologise for suggesting that Romanian migrants have a higher propensity for crime than the Swiss.
The candidate Diane James simply repeated what the Germans told us, that there’s a problem with ‘the crime associated with Romanians.’ Such plagiarism didn’t go unnoticed. The Romanian ambassador called the remark ‘extremist’ and ‘unfounded’ – presumably even if true. ‘This kind of talk,’ he added, ‘is dangerous’. I can see why: if offended, Romanians may cut their supply of horsemeat (otherwise known as beef) to these shores.
A good friend of mine is a professor at a Dutch conservatory, where he has a Romanian student. The young man has a large family and knows dozens of Romanians in Amsterdam. Of the hundred or so people in his immediate circle, he’s the only one who isn’t receiving benefits. They all do some work off the books, but not so that the social will find out. The young pianist is widely regarded as stupid in the Romanian community – not seeking handouts is like throwing money away.
His elder brother put his computer background to good use by designing an authentic-looking website advertising discounted electronic appliances. Having received a large amount in pre-payments, he vanished into thin Romanian air. His victims went to the police, only to be told that such cases were too numerous to be even investigated. When the clamour died down the chap returned to Holland, where he is again receiving every benefit you’ve heard of and a few that you haven’t.
Now Britain is about to go Dutch (and German and French and Italian), while Dave and his mates kick tyres. Careful they don’t burst, fellows. If they do, it’s you who’ll be apologising to the Romanian ambassador.