Blog : Posts tagged with 'foreigners'

*

Regionalism

In which we discuss employment in Grimsby, as it’s in the news


Nice to see the Grimsby area in the news for once, even if it isn’t very good news. I bet the Grimsby Telegraph‘s news staff have been so excited over the last week, to get some national-quality news to report on, they’ve probably been wetting themselves.*

I was rather wistful myself, what with formerly being local – so much so that in my teens I did work experience in the very refinery that’s been on the news. It’s bad luck, really, for the contractors who sparked the protests off: they would have to bring foreign workers in to one of the most reactionary and xenophobic parts of England. Grimsby’s the only place where I’ve heard someone say the immortal line: “I’m not a racist, but I do think all those coloureds should go back to their own country”. Without irony. And mean it.***

I’m also well aware that the area’s an employment blackspot; on the other hand, though, I also know that it’s not as bad as you might think. There are great estates full of people who have been on benefits ever since they were old enough.**** There aren’t many jobs other than in a few limited sectors. But, when I lived there, I had contacts at a local employment agency. Within a few sectors – mostly factory line work – there were once plenty of jobs. They go to immigrants; Poles and Lithuanians. That’s because Poles and Lithuanians were the ones who turned up to apply for these jobs, and were the most employable when they turned up. It’s easier, I guess, to sit in the pub and rant about how all these foreigners are taking the jobs of honest British workers, than it is to go out and get one yourself.

I said “there were once jobs” because I’ve not been around there for a while, and all I’ve heard since I left has been about factories closing. I don’t know what things are like there at the moment, but from what I’ve heard things aren’t going well. I’m not saying, either, that the work in question at the refinery shouldn’t have gone to a local company. The refinery and its suppliers, though, already in total make up a big chunk of the local workforce, and the small number of foreign contractors that have caused the protests make up a tiny proportion of the number of workers on the site.***** They haven’t put that big crowd outside the refinery gates out of work, either. Grimsby has bigger problems than foreign workers, much bigger problems. The issue shouldn’t be whether the Prime Minster should live up to some sound-bite his speech writers came up with a while back; it should be one of getting more investment into the area. More foreigners, in fact – both Lindsey refinery and the neighbouring Humber refinery are foreign-owned plants. It’s also a problem of education; and a problem of ending the area’s isolationism. You can’t exactly pick Grimsby up and move it closer to civilisation, but maybe things would be better if that could be done with some of the locals’ minds.

* Although their managers won’t like it – it might be a bit of a budget-stretcher for the Grimsby Telegraph, sending reporters all the way from Grimsby to Immingham. God knows what might happen – one of them might even try to put a burger-van lunch** on expenses!

** there aren’t many other refreshment options in the area, unless you can get in the refinery canteen.

*** And it was a nurse, too.

**** I would have said “ever since they left school”, but a lot of them didn’t go to school.

***** The site is, after all, the size of a small town.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Running The Place

In which we consider the blind spots in people’s xenophobia


People I come across, for once, seem to be getting themselves interested in politics. The local elections, and the soaring cost of petrol,* are for once getting people interested in who runs the country, or things like that.

Sadly, most of the people I come across at work and day-to-day aren’t the sort of people you’d trust to run the country. Trains of thought go along two lines. “Wouldn’t it be nice if things were a bit cheaper,” and “there’s too many foreign people about, you know.” They then say to our Token Polish Office Temp: “I don’t mean you, of course, but you know what I mean. There’s too many foreign people about.”

They don’t really mean that he’s white; it’s just that people everywhere seem to have an enormous blind spot when it comes to “these dirty foreigners.” The sort of people, at least, who say there are too many foreign people about, always have one big exception: foreigners they know personally. They don’t count. They are decent people, unlike the rest of them, the great mass of indistinguishable and interchangeable Foreign People who are here to steal their women and marry their jobs (or something like that). “Oh no, I don’t mean you, I mean all the ones who you read about in the papers.” Why is it that they still believe what they’ve read in the papers, have heard from a mate in the pub, will pass on in a “joke” text message, when all their personal experience goes in the opposite direction?

* it is a Rule Of Clichés, apparently, that any time the cost of petrol is mentioned, the word “soaring” has to be attached.

No comments yet. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , ,

*

Things people say

In which we hear some shocking hypocrisy


I’ve been surprised before by things I’ve overheard people say at work. I’ve even posted about it: suddenly, someone who looks normal, says something horribly bigoted. The staff over in Another Part Of The Forest still manage to amaze me, though, not just with what they think, but with what they’ll say out loud.

Over there this afternoon, I got chatting to the current office temp. He’s just taken his university finals, and is temping over the summer before he gets a proper job. He was telling me how great his time at university was:

I made some great friends there. One of them’s going into professional sport – he’s going to be right at the top of his sport in a couple of years’ time. I’m glad I met him – he’s going to be a millionaire soon, exactly the sort of person you want to stay friends with!

“Erm … yes,” I said, wondering if he was being as serious as his eyes said. That’s really not why I have friends, and I hope it’s not why my friends have friends; but if that’s the sort of person you are, fine. Later on, though, one of the other co-workers* managed to beat him. The temp was complaining about the number of Lithuanians and Poles living in the area, and she said:

Ooh, I know, there’s loads of foreign people living round here. Still, we’re not as bad as some places – at least they’re all white round here. I don’t like this town though. I don’t like living here at all – if I could, I’d move abroad somewhere.

Again, she seemed completely serious. No idea of the big hole in what she’d just told me. I stopped talking and got on with work; it was easier than trying to explain what she’d said.

* A girl of about 19 or 20, hoping to go to university herself soon if she can raise enough cash.

One comment. »

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , , ,

*

Search this site

*

Contact

E: feedback [at] symbolicforest [dot] com

IM: Ask me if you'd like to know

*

Post Categories

Artistic (118)
Dear Diary (349)
Feeling Meh (48)
Geekery (109)
In With The Old (34)
Linkery (37)
Media Addict (164)
Meta (79)
Photobloggery (94)
Political (113)
Polling (7)
Sub category (19)
The Family (31)
The Office (70)
Unbelievable (53)