This was after the election before last, the one that saw us saddled with an ineffective coalition, and the remark in the title above was overheard on the ‘bus. It would be easy to disniss it as some casual racism from a couple of middle aged white men, for the pair whose conversation I was listening to fitted the bill in terms of skin colour and appearence, but there was more to it.
It was a couple of days after the vote and 15 years or so of New Labour was all over and my two travelling companions were apparently horrified by the result. They did not seem to want to blame the Blair, Brown, Campbell and Mandleson quarter who had done such damage to the UK and wanted another outlet for their ire.
Their choice was the influx of immigrants and they bemoaned the fact that these people had been allowed in primarily on the basis that the would vote for a socialist government and keep New Labour in power for ever. After all that was one of the key reasons for that bit of social engineering; they had to all be lefties and who was letting them in? But they had turned out to be more right wing according to my companions and showed a marked lack of gratitude.
The conversation amused my at the time, but I was reminded of it this week listening to some colleagues from former Soviet Bloc countries talking about the election next month. The concencus was very much in favour of a Tory government and it intrigued me. Motives are not always the same, but the general position was that they are all workers, grafters even when compared to some of their UK peers. They work for pay and don’t support the notion of having someone else benefiting from their labours. “We came here to get away from Socialism” said one to general agreement.
I asked about Brexit, for it seemed incongruous that they would support a party that was, potentially, going to be closing our borders. Would that not make life more difficult for them to go home to see parents, for example? One almost spat back that they had had to have a pass to go to work on the other side of their home town, so why would a visa bother them? Another said that open borders were stupid; that letting in good workers made sense, but no more than that. “You British are too soft”.
Of course the irony is that the EU migrants that my companions on the ‘bus were talking about cannot vote in our parliamentary elections.