Thursday, May 23, 2013

Who ate all the swans?

Something strange is happening in the Fens of East Anglia. A grass roots movement against open door immigration is under way and unlike past protests it seems superficially at least to be absent of the usual far-right ideologues like the BNP & EDL.

Migrant workers from Eastern Europe picking leeks.

Organised by local man  Dean Everitt they've been held in Boston, Spalding and last weekend Wisbech. Depending on which paper you read it attracted between 150 - 300 people.

Wisbech Immigration Issues protest.

If you don't know Wisbech it's a town of around 20,000 people in  Cambridgeshire. The big employers are the industrial farmers providing us with fruit and veg via the supermarkets. In the last decade or so people from Eastern Europe have formed a large proportion of the agricultural workforce, perhaps increasing the population by up to 30%.

This was fine when the economy was buoyant and everyone seemed to doing well but since the financial crisis in 2007 there has been increasing tension between the English residents and the new arrivals as they compete for jobs and services in an unacknowledged depression.

Migrants looking for work.

Wisbech has also been subject to several national media reports that have portrayed the English population as feckless and lazy.

In the run up to the event there was a lot of chatter on social networks - particularly the Facebook page Wisbech Immigration Issues about the possible opposition to the protest. As it went  the event it passed off peaceably although it was attended by dozens of special police constables, for whom this was clearly the highlight of their week.

The main speaker, Everitt is an articulate and engaging.  more convincing as he is clearly uneducated in the ways of conventional political presentation. I suspect he doesn't know it but his philosophy is basically old-style clause 4 Labour - before that party became more interested in lawyers than labourers. He advocates protectionism, re-nationalisation, and working class solidarity - all decent Socialist  principals.

In fact , he has more in common with Arthur Scargill than Enoch Powell. Unusual for issues that you might associate with the Right of the political spectrum.

 Dean Everitt

Representatives from party of the moment UKIP   were supposed to be appearing but cancelled at the last minute, due it was said out of a reluctance  of being associated with racism. This left a gap in the schedule in which local organiser Sharon Jardine gave the opportunity of the audience to speak.

As you might expect some of the audience were of the  'send em all back' variety for whom the modern world must seem a confusing and frightening place - including one person who accused the migrants of 'eating all the swans'.

But notable in particular was one speaker, Victoria Gillick who talked about how  business  interests in the town have been able to override local democracy by exhausting the Council's resources through the legal system. This was in reference to the amount Houses of Multiple Occupation and alcohol licenses that have been granted in the town.

There were also voices of opposition. One from a lady called Liz, a retired mid-wife who said that any anger should be directed towards Government rather than those who were acting perfectly lawfully.

When she started speaking Liz was booed by the audience, but by the time she finished she was given a round of applause.

'Liz', a former mid-wife speaking up for the migrants.

Just before the event closed Everitt spoke again and said that if you are working class the main effect of open borders immigration was  to introduce another element of competition, creating a sandwich with the company's shareholders on one side trying to push down costs and the non-unionised migrant worker population on the other willing to put up with low wages and poor working conditions. This, he said left British worker pressurised from both sides.

'Ellie', a local resident speaking about apparent pressure on local services due to open door immigration.

In the UK children are quite rightly taught to aspire academically, and encouraged to invest in their education. If after all that  commitment and cost the only job you could get was for the minimum wage working in a field without a toilet you might be angry too.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya Si, interesting piece. This type of local gathering is specifically the low-key, rumbling & understated social unrest that is apparently either misunderstood or ignored by higher levels of government & who, regrettably, are still shackled by Victorian values of birthright, Oxbridge education & the assumption those of assumed lesser breeding may be ignored! Re swans & fish, there appears to be compelling evidence both have been killed & eaten as reported by local & national newspapers over the last couple of years or so. The 'Thin Blue Line' has recently investigated a local swan 'eating' complaint & in the face of pictorial evidence of the remains of swans & fire remains, has concluded no offence has taken place. Food for thought!