Coming soon to a street near you

Every day we hear news of immigrants from all sorts of unsavoury places living in million-pound houses on the taxpayer. One recent story involved Fulham, to which I self-servingly pay more attention than to any other London borough.

A Muslim family of five moved into a £1.5-million semi, to which, according to the mother, they ‘have every right’. It’s good to see that recent arrivals adapt so quickly to the language and ethos of their new land. The process however isn’t quite complete for they have yet to learn that rights are married to responsibilities. On past evidence, this, if it ever happens at all, takes longer.

As a demonstration of this lapse, the happy family have turned the house, which after all doesn’t belong to them, into a stinking pigsty complete with broken furniture, smashed appliances and other debris. The action then had to move outside, for movement inside the house was becoming difficult. The happy family began to throw what they no longer needed, along with the weekly accumulation of rubbish, out into the street, giving it that unmistakeable je ne sais quoi feel of a shanty town and threatening a suitable drop in property prices.

The residents’ sensibilities, both aesthetic and fiscal, were hurt, and they tried to bring the authorities in on the fun. Proving he still has a lot to learn about the local mores, a teenage scion of the family, his torso defiantly bared, was photographed extending his middle finger towards the camera. Give him another couple of years in the mansion, and the youngster will go native enough to use two fingers to communicate the same message.

That happened last week. Staying in rural France at the moment, I’ve lost track of the story, and so don’t know what happened next. But, in a parallel development, the other day our neighbours had to rush to the outskirts of Paris where they own a flat used as rental accommodation. Actually, that description is only half-right, for, while the furnished flat has indeed provided accommodation for a North African family, our friends have been unable to collect any rent.

All attempts to do so were met with unpleasant and menacing hostility, communicated in the kind of French that even unabridged dictionaries don’t contain. The owners then sought help from the local council, begging them to evict their non-paying guests. That, they were told, was a complete impossibility, for the poor family had nowhere else to go. Inured to the logic underlying the explanation, our friends used the mildest of equivocal language to suggest, nay to hint, that this wasn’t entirely their problem. It’s not ours either, yawned the council official and sent them on their way.

Suddenly last Saturday our friends got a call from their Paris neighbours, helpfully informing them that their tenants, or, to be more precise, guests, had brought a removal van in and were loading it with our friends’ furniture. No, not all of it, only the items they like. Those they don’t like they were smashing up, turning the normally quiet street into a bedlam.

Distressed, our friends called the police in Paris, only to find that, it being Saturday evening, the station was shut for the day. The next morning they did manage to reach a bailiff, who explained to them that they’d better familiarise themselves with the proper procedure for handling such cases. Procedure, Monsieurdame is all important, but no? Without procedure all would be un bordel, a word that originally meant a whorehouse but now also means a mess. With or without procedure, it’s our flat that’s being turned into un bordel, our neighbours tried to explain, in vain. All right, what’s the bloody procedure then? The procedure, Monsieurdame, explained the patient man, is for you to go to your local gendarmerie and file a complaint, filling all the appropriate forms.

Our friends rushed to the local gendarmerie, only five minutes of frantic driving away. Naturally, it was shut, that being Sunday. The matter had to be put off until normal office hours, for all normal Frenchmen, regardless of their affiliation with law enforcement, spend Sundays drinking, eating and gardening.

On Monday morning the family decided to heed Adam Smith’s prescription and divide labour. The husband rushed off to Paris to see how much of the flat was still salvageable, while the wife went to the gendarmerie when it opened at 9 am. After waiting for an hour or so, she was issued several kilos of forms to fill in. The saga is on-going, and God only knows how it’ll end, though by the looks of it He has given up on the outskirts of Paris.

It’s good to see that London and Paris are striking such powerful, well-coordinated blows for true European integration and harmonisation. We all, goose or gander, are going to be smeared with the same sauce of suicidal, bleeding-heart, bien-pensant policies, with the bureaucratic ingredient especially rancid.

Sooner or later, taxpayers are going to rise in revolt, taking the law, what’s left of it, into their own hands. Evictions will be effected not with procedure but with shotguns and cricket bats, with civil order the main casualty. It’s already suffering attrition all over Europe, and things aren’t getting any better.

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