In the years since Poland joined the European Union, a significant number of Poles have migrated westward, particularly to the UK. They have a reputation for being competent and hardworking, and since they are accustomed to lower wages than those prevailing in Britain, they are often effective competitors with native Britons for available jobs.
And now we have a new twist to the situation — the earlier Asian (read “Pakistani”) immigrants and their descendants are complaining about the upstart newcomers.
According to The Yorkshire Post:
Eastern Europeans ‘targeted by angry Asians’
A clash of cultures between Asian and eastern European youths is leading to increasing tension and violence on Yorkshire’s streets, it is claimed.
Some young Britons of Asian descent are now leading a campaign of intimidation against the new economic migrants from eastern Europe, whom they claim are taking their jobs.
The situation has become so bad in cities like Bradford that a leading social think-tank has begun research into how to get the two sides working together.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has commissioned Bradford-based organisation QED to identify the causes of tensions between the two groups and improve cultural understanding and communication between them.
In the introduction to the project it states: “The newly-arrived central and eastern European migrants have settled within five of Bradford’s most deprived communities, which have high percentages of ‘settled’ ethnic minorities.
“There are problems of local cultures clashing and major misunderstandings of each other’s backgrounds and ways of living.”
Project director Mohammed Ali told the Yorkshire Post: “The European Union expansion has had an impact on the number of jobs going to those in the ethnic minority communities – it’s easy to bring in outsiders who will work for less but we run the risk of leaving people behind.
“We’re looking at the causes of tension and ways of bringing the groups together. Communication is the key to these things – we want to look at opportunities to bring people together to share each other’s cultures and backgrounds and experiences.”
I don’t know for certain — maybe some of our Yorkshire readers can give an informed opinion — but isn’t one of the “causes” of the problem the fact that Poles are actually willing to work hard?
The article goes on:
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While most of the crime between the communities goes no further than verbal threats, car vandalism and petty fights, little gets reported to the police because of the traditional eastern European wariness of authority.
Yes, anyone who has experienced life under communism knows better than to attract the attention of the state authorities.
One Asian scholar at a Bradford mosque, who did not want to be named, said: “A lot of Polish people are coming into Bradford at the moment and unfortunately we’re seeing Muslim boys breaking their windows. They’re complaining that the Polish people are coming in and taking their jobs.
“They’re taking out their aggression on the newer immigrants for what they’ve had to suffer themselves in the community for years.”
“We had to go through this, so now it’s your turn!”
Writing on an internet forum about a recent problem of eastern Europeans selling fake gold jewellery in the city, bank worker ‘Amir’ said: “Our parents worked very hard, they had two jobs at a time, with no benefits.
“They suffered racism and other hard times – but these Polish people are causing mayhem on the streets, illegal driving, drugs, crime, harassing women.”
Harassing women! Well, that’s something that’s never been seen before in Pakistani communities.
Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “We’ve been accused of being racist in the past but this proves that the problem with immigration is not about race but about numbers.”
The light finally dawns. It’s not about race. Who would have guessed?
“We cannot cope with the numbers coming in from eastern Europe, it places huge tensions in communities, it puts pressure on housing, health services and schools, and as we’re seeing, creates all sorts of problems.”
It’s funny that it took Poles to force them to reach such sensible conclusions.
Actually, I’ll disagree with one of the above conclusions: this is about racism.
It’s about the paternalistic British authorities who never expected any better behavior from “Asians” because they weren’t white. Now that Poles — white people — cause the same problems, the agents of the State are forced to confront the consequences of their earlier racism.
It’s the “soft bigotry of low expectations”, British style.
Hat tip: Jens.