Thursday, June 30, 2016

I am a migrant...

Nigel Farage has managed to persuade millions of Britons to loathe legal immigration in much the same way that millions of Americans appear to loathe illegal immigration. This is a not inconsiderable political achievement. 

He has accomplished this by deploying many of the techniques the Donald as been practicing on his own willing dupes across the pond; interweaving forebodings of supplantation, sexual violence, terror and more into a compound sense of all-round unease with otherness. 

I too am a migrant — an exile if you must — living largely at the discretion of my host nation. 

I reside in a city that benefits enormously on many levels from the sort of constant internal migration of which I have been but one exemplar. Its economy swells, and yet, as it swells, it is undoubtedly also distorted in ways that surely must disconcert and occasionally anger the deeper-rooted local residents. 

There is an oddly visible and vocal group within the immigrant population here — I’m not even sure that the term sub-group is appropriate — consisting of fugitives, fraudsters, kiddyfiddlers, crazies, debauchees, deluded egotists, exploiters and spongers. 

On any given day perhaps the least sordid of them are busy posting pictures on Facebook of malnourished and mangy pooches in the hope that some compassionate soul will send them money to subsidise their sojourn in Central America. 

Nobody ever claimed that every single peripatetic person, anywhere around the globe, is a living breathing avatar of positive economic and social energy. 

It is possible to have a measured, adult conversation about these issues. 

But this is not the conversation that the likes of Nigel Farage or Donald Trump want us to have.

No comments: