THERE is a continuing local interest, understandably so, in the effects of immigrants upon Spalding. And indeed much has been said both for, but mainly against the influx. A brief word, then, about how we arrived at the current situation.
On May 1, 2004 ten countries joined the EU as member states with limited rights. These included Poland and the Baltic states. Although their citizens were allowed to travel throughout the EU there was no commitment placed on established member states to issue these newcomers with work permits for seven years ie until May 1, 2011. Only five member states issued permits from day one. These were The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, the Irish Republic, and the UK.
Denmark also limited the issue of certain of its welfare benefits to the newcomers.
The limits which the Blair Government could have placed on work permits and welfare payouts were carefully not made public and so most people wrongly believed we had an immediate obligation.
Although there is certainly widespread knowledge that there is a hard core of immigrants who degrade the quality of life for local people, there is no outlet for reasoned discussion. The racist taunt is used to stifle debate. However, what practical steps can be taken now, after such an unconscionable act of social vandalism has been committed by our Government?
This is why I welcome the input by Diana Gajek and Bridget Moss. It cuts through all the British establishment politically correct rubbish, recognises the problems and acknowledges that there needs to be rigorous action. It is a courageous statement and it is significant that it comes from within the immigrant community.
Deporting the undesirable minority, which Diana and Bridget suggest, should be possible. Certainly there are precedents for deportation. The Irish Republic has deported Roma gypsies, as has France.
Surely we don’t have to put up indefinitely with the various indignities this anti-social element inflicts on us. Obviously, while this most visible and objectionable immigrant group remains on our streets and in our town the local residents’ perception of all immigrants is going to be tarnished.
It will also hamper the integration of worthwhile Eastern Europeans. Still, these ladies are making a brave effort to offset this and it seems to me they have more idea about how ordinary Spalding residents feel than our own political masters do.