The day the immigrants left
Strangely charming documentary on BBC1 last night - “The Day the Immigrants Left” - which I flagged up on the MRN Facebook wall a week or so ago. I thought it made a good case that the new economy that has come into existence in places like Wisbech - a small town in rural Cambridgeshire - hasn’t treated the local working class well and there is a whole category of people who have been sealed out of the jobs market.
The ‘blame the immigrants’ mentality was pretty entrenched amongst these people and there was a lot of unpleasant attitude, but that was mostly broken down over the course of the couple of days they were given jobs in the immigrant workplaces. The migrants themselves came across as people who’d scrambled aboard a life-raft in a stormy sea, grateful for the small security they had got from low-paid jobs working long hours.
Another programme might have asked them if this is what they really wanted for the rest of their lives, and I’d expect the fiction that they are content with their lot would begin to break down very quickly when we began to hear answers to that. And it’s hearing the answers to exactly that which makes you think that the migrants and the native workers might have a lot more in common with each other than they seem to think at the moment.