Thursday 25 February 2010

The Day the Immigrants Left

Last night’s programme The Day the Immigrants Left introduced by Evan Davis had a predictable outcome. Centred in the Fens it took white English unemployed and put them into jobs that these days are mostly done by immigrant labour. Predictably most, although not all, of the unemployed failed to cope with the jobs they had been given. They were unable to work as quickly and as efficiently as their immigrant counterparts. This was in effect a ‘reality’ television programme so it was hardly scientific. These were false situations and they were being measured against experienced people. But the programme did make some interesting points.

I know that it is stating the bleedin’ obvious but we sadly have an underclass in this country that is virtually unemployable. The reasons for this underclass are complex and varied but a lot of the responsibility lies, as I’ve said before, with Thatcher. On last night’s programme training was mooted on a few occasions which I found an incredulous notion. Why is the goal of a job now seen as the be all and end all of human existence in this country? In my opinion we have too much training and not enough education. What many of the poor souls in last night’s programme seemed to lack were life skills. The fundamentals of forming working relationships and operating in a polite and respectful manner. Why should they have these skills? No reason at all, as they have been failed by society for several generations. What comes naturally to someone of my generation and background doesn’t exist necessarily in the world of the white long term unemployed.

I suspect the desire of the programme was to redress the balance on the argument that immigrants are taking English people’s jobs and thankfully I think it succeeded at that. I think that this country has benefited both culturally and economically through immigration. Immigration is a red herring with regard to the plight of the white underclass. Their problems have very little to do with unemployment. It’s deeper and wider than that. When are we going to stop failing these people?

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