'Coming Over Here, Revitalising Our Culture...'

Christopher Fowler
post-1-1233957753_thumb The Swiss just held a referendum on whether to curb immigration to just 0.2% of the population, bringing it down from 80,000 to 16,000 people a year. Let's face it, they've never been team players, have they? But this time they voted against the curb - a good thing in my book. Perhaps they thought, hmm, vibrant culture, exciting world cuisine, full employment,
energised music scene, improved service industries and better understanding of the world, versus some goats, a few leftover Von Trapps, Nazi bankers and the Toblerone. The did the right thing. Meanwhile, UKIP leader Nigel Farage reveals that his Christmas card depicts White Van Man running over his opponents. And Tory grandee Norman Tebbit has come up with a really stupid immigration test.Let him explain it: 'Well one test I would use is to ask them on which side their fathers or grandfathers or whatever fought in the Second World War. And so you'll find that the Poles and the Czechs and the Slovaks were all on the right side. And so that's a pretty good test isn't it?
Perhaps we'll even manage to teach them to play cricket over the years.' As the Independent points out,
Lord Tebbit's idea would lead to increased immigration, relaxing rules for people from a host of countries who fought for the Allies, including the US and the former USSR, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa and the former Yugoslavia. Or he could try some new questions we've devised (warning: Questionnaire May Contain Local Jokes Hard For Foreigners To Understand) 1. How many times have you seen 'The Dam Busters'?' 2. Do you mind Carol Thatcher calling you Sooty? 3.'The Great British Bake-Off' or 'The Black & White Minstrels'? 4. Happy about submitting to the 'scrubbing brush and hot water' test as well? 5. Birmingham - culturally diverse cosmopolitan Midlands city with four Michelin-starred restaurants or a good place to shout racist abuse on buses? 6. How are your blackface Morris-dancing skills? 7. Zero-hour nightwork contracts - shameful exploitation or wonderful opportunity? 8. To be properly English you must always use the phrase, 'Two world wars and the World Cup, never mind, forgive and forget' after mentioning which country? 9. 'To my mind, the finest date-movie is 'Brief Encounter' with its proper sense of shame' - Agree or Disagree? 10. How much do you hate the French? I've grown up believing that we're not a racist nation, but in a world where economic migration is porous and fluid, there's a problem. In the same way that you can't simply allow rampant capitalism to rebuild cities, population density requires a certain amount of shape and control. One interesting side effect of migration to London is that younger people are once again repopulating denuded outer towns and calling upon family help to buy homes - so it now appears that family bonds have grown stronger because of, er, migration. This one may take some thinking through One thing we do know is that the bad old days of forced social experiments are over - people expect to be able to live and work where they like. UKIP has a membership one third of the size of the London Borough of Camden, which makes it negligible. But it served as an example of showing just how distant politicians have become from ordinary people, and for that it should be recognised.