Who should or shouldn’t be let in?

Three crimes currently adorning the newspapers’ front pages were all committed by Eastern Europeans. One Lithuanian raped and disfigured a woman in Kent. Another bludgeoned a Birmingham couple to death with a lump hammer. Moldovan squatters took over a house in East London.

And these aren’t isolated events: a disproportionate number of crimes are perpetrated by recent arrivals from that region. Various mafias from Kosovo to Moscow and everywhere in between are mentioned almost every day.

Naturally whenever an immigrant, especially one from a manifestly un-English country, commits a newsworthy crime, BNP types are up in arms. Partly because of that, civilised people shy away from the issue of immigration altogether, or else mumble sweet nothings when it comes up. Makes one wish BNP types kept quiet for a while, to make a serious discussion possible.

Some time ago I chatted on that subject with your quintessential Anglican, a church-goer who doesn’t believe in God. He was opposed to too many immigrants from alien cultures being admitted to the UK. I agreed. ‘But what about all those Poles and Russians?’ I asked, secure in the knowledge that my own background made me immune to the felony charge of Little-Englanderism. ‘I’ve no problem with those,’ replied the non-believing Christian. ‘They come from a kindred culture.’

That’s where our paths diverged. You see, I don’t think the Christian past of Eastern Europe means its present culture is similar to ours. It used to be, give or take. But after a few generations of communism it no longer is — and it’ll take a long time to make it so.

To paraphrase Lord Acton ever so slightly, socialism corrupts, communism corrupts absolutely. A child growing up under a communist regime learns as he emerges from his pram that he must think one thing, say another and do a third.

He’s trained to believe that all morality is relative — that is, relative to the current Party line, which alone is absolute. He’ll lie not because he is a compulsive liar, but because he doesn’t know the difference between a truth and a lie.

All Eastern European children were taught to worship Lenin and his fellow mass murderers. All Soviet children were also taught to worship Pavlik Morozov, a young pioneer who betrayed his own father to Cheka executioners. Survival is a day-to-day proposition to them, and even those who’ve never seen the inside of a concentration camp are imbued with the mentality of that provenance: You croak today, mate, as long as I don’t croak until tomorrow.

A couple of generations of this Walpurgisnacht, and a new psychocultural type emerges, Homo Communisticus, whose links with his country’s pre-Communist history are at best tenuous, at worst nonexistent. This cultural genocide is rarely mentioned whenever the numbers of Communist victims are calculated. And yet the lasting effect of cultural mass murder makes it an even more heinous crime than the physical murder of millions.

That’s not to say that all, or even most, people from Communist countries are fervent believers in that perversion. Far from it. In fact, most of them aren’t fervent believers in anything except survival at any cost. Where they come from survival was understood in purely physical terms: having enough food to eat and staying out of concentration camps. When they find themselves in the West, survival takes on new dimensions, mostly dealing with newly available creature comforts. The goals change immediately, but it’ll take many generations to change these people’s nature.

They have no more respect for the laws of their new country than for those of the old. Legal is anything they can get away with; moral is anything that pays an immediate dividend. Upon arrival in England they discover in short order that, though the police are less corruptible than in the old country, they are also less efficient and much less ruthless. And, in the absence of an in-built moral imperative, why not bend the law if the chances of getting caught are small and the punishment often derisory?

There are of course exceptions, people endowed with the mind, courage and moral sense to reject the spiritual poison of Communism. Many of such people find themselves in the West, where they become law-abiding, hard-working citizens. By the same token, there are many Chinese, Arabs, Indians or Africans who make a successful transition to Western civilisation. But that doesn’t negate the fact that they come from a culture different from, and often alien to, ours. So do the Eastern Europeans.

More than two million Russians have emigrated just in the last decade, and many of them have ended up in the UK. London alone has about 300,000 such new arrivals, and God knows how many more from other republics of what’s now called the former USSR. Some of those republics, such as Lithuania, are now ‘independent’ parts of the EU, which means their denizens can settle here as they wish. Add to these other Eastern members of the EU, plus those Ukranians and Byelorussians who can easily obtain Polish or Hungarian, which is to say EU, passports, and the influx of cultural aliens becomes staggering and unmanageable.

In the spirit of English pragmatism, a virtue to which I’m privy only vicariously, one has to ask the perennial question: So what are we going to do about it? The answer is, whatever would work. Leaving the EU would be a good start, but that’s a separate issue. Introducing tougher border controls would be another step, and also tightening entry requirements, whether EU laws allow this or not.

But all such measures would be futile in the absence of a fundamental understanding of the underlying problem. People who come from Eastern Europe may look like us, seemingly act like us and sometimes even sound like us. But most of them aren’t really like us.



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