Wednesday, 25 August 2010


One can establish and sustain a reasonably comfortable, even cozy political platform via xenophobia. In Romania, reliable mountains of votes can be won (predominantly in Transylvania) with campaigns against the ethnic minorities. In the UK, with great support from very wide circulation daily papers that border on both fascism and paranoid schizophrenia, it is similarly profitable to scare people with immigration and immigrants.

Whilst major media tycoons also take part in xenophobe propaganda, the business realities in the UK have been, are and, based on recent re-assessments, will be very contrary to what the media and certain politicians say.

Recent numbers show that one in five employers feel they must consider (again) heavy reliance on immigrant workers, because they simply cannot find the skills and skill sets they need among local workforce. And we are not talking here about just the stereotypical cases of higher-level jobs in consultancy for example, the surveys showed that the problem exists across all layers of the job market.

The simple truth is, whilst the certain media goes on and on about the job losses amongst British people (and resonates with Gordon Brown – remember him? – lines on ‘British jobs for British people’), many jobs simply could not and will not be filled by non-immigrants.

The recent surveys showed numerically what was known by some more honest parts of the media landscape and the people with both eyes open: myriad jobs are simply ‘below’ the Brits. We live in a country where, due to decades of self-destructive educational policies, the average youth also thinks that by default, he/she must end up at some University, get a cozy white collar job with lots of pay and no real work, and retire with a smile (increasing number of) decades later.

Of course this is some exaggeration, but the problem is endemic and it is even more embossed by the recent financial situation and the countermeasures the Government brings in. With the austerity measures and their side-effects, it exacerbates the contradiction between economic realities and self-perceptions leading to expectations linked to the type of jobs Brits think they have the God-given right to do.

It is a sensitive topic, but the numbers and facts were there for decades, now just shouting at us even louder because of the financial and economic fallout.

Let’s face it, A-level results have been increasing beyond imagination in terms of A (and as of this year, A*) grades received by pupils. Those (including the pupils) without grasp on the realities of the education system’s demise in recent decades claim that it shows how brighter and better young people have become prior to, of course, jumping to some University campus,

Universities have been and are crying that this world where truly ludicrous number of students come with myriad A grades is an absurd world for them to differentiate between candidates. Employers have been and are crying that they spend years training the so-called stellar University graduates up for the skills that they really need.

In this climate, everybody thinks that he/she is entitled to a University education, and then of course the high-paying office job.

The reality is that vast reliance on immigrant workers is and will be happening, if one believes the reality seen across job sectors and the numbers coming out of sweeping surveying of employers… So let’s see what parties like the BNP and the xenophobe media will say in future, whilst watching the economic reality unfold.

Friday, 13 August 2010


A value so close to the meaning of the Universe :-)...

Certainly, the Home Secretaries, who introduced the infamous Section 44 of the so-called Terrorism Act in Britain, thought that it is close to the meaning of the Universe...

Not one single terrorist was apprehended with the powers given to the police by Section 44. But it gave police powers to stop & search without any actual reason (nor had to give any reason to those targeted).

Just counting the cases where totally innocent amateur and professional photographers alike were targeted, it was a truly Stalinist piece of legislation. Just in the photography organisation that I'm a member of, every single month the newsletter listed the chilling stories documented by members, many of those cases bringing back memories of the 70s-80s in the Eastern Block.

The European Court deemed it illegal and one that was in violation of fundamental human rights. However, the former Government soldiered on, and only the recent (what one could call) regime change brought finally a revision of such laws.

The website that the leader of the Liberal Democrats opened for the public to vote on laws to repeal was soon overtaken by comments from pressure groups and just silly people (in vast quantities). It really proved the old Churchill saying, that the best argument against democracy is a 15-minute chat with the average voter. It also proved that vox populi always suffers of short term memory problems and selective amnesia.

However, despite the vast number of comments on fox hunting laws, smoking and drugs, Section 44 managed to die disgracefully - not that the voting website led directly to that, of course not... But it was an interesting experiment in democracy.

The Section 44 is now scrapped, and human rights organisations joined the cheering of the masses. The continuation is now up to the new Government.

Certainly, Section 44 was a shameful spot on a benevolent piece of (turned paranoid) legislation, but the true colours in the fight against terrorism will be revealed as time goes on. Let's see whether this Government can keep a sane and cool head, and not spiral into bouts of paranoia as the previous regime did.