In my last column I drew a comparison between the events surrounding the Scottish rebellion in 1743 and the political machinations of Westminster on The Scottish Referendum for Independents. The same link with the history applies to the views of the British on immigration. Central to this is namely the caste system, the system that divides people on the basis of an inherited social status.
From the 17th century the British discovered the lucrative side of India. The entire area was annexed and in 1878 Queen Victoria called herself ‘Empress of India’. The British regarded the Indians as primitives. Although the British parliament did call for respect for the Indians and their culture: in reality there is little evidence of (‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’). Thankfully India formed through heavy taxes a huge source of revenu.
Like with the Scottish domination the ’divide and rule’ strategy was used by England. Handy tool thereby was not the clan system, but the caste system. Familiair to England, because at home they’re used to divide in the upper class and the lower class. When the first immigrants from India reached England reached that ‘dividing-system’ functioned as a guide. Most of the new comers came with the desire to improve themselves and to belong in their new homeland. A nice side effect for the upper class: cheap labor. Downstairs but had to make room for them … and did.
Meanwhile, many have found their way to the United Kingdom, people with their own religions, cultures and influences. But then, from the EU, the Eastern European wave of migration arrived. Those who saw themselves confronted with it, are situated in what now euphemistically is called the working class. The Anglo-Saxon welfare state is individualized, offers relatively low income-tested benefits for unemployment, sickness and old age and has strict rules on the right to benefits. Social services are largely privately organized, with the exception of the – still – public NHS (National Health Service).
Because of the influx of cheap labor and the associated downward pressure on wages, it caused a sharp increase in poverty. Work-willing people have to look for multiple jobs in order to survive. Meanwhile a demoralized underclass emerged, which no longer cares, many of whom have lived more of a benefit than to have worked, or even never worked and there is such a thing as benefits tourism, the subject of fierce debate.
That UKIP attracted three million voters is not surprising. Mostly in the south, where many immigrants reside. There is no flow to the north, leaving the Scots to afford themselves a overflow of sympathy for “the oppressed of the earth.
Offered the caste system initially some consolation for the parties … that’s over now. They will not admit it openly, but especially the first immigrants see themselves threatened by the newcomers. The big cities are feeling the pressure too. Britons who can afford it, leave -with their money to more pleasant places.
No good calling to dear Mums anymore: the upper class can not maintain that this is not their problem. This issue forms the basis for the EU referendum that is to come.
Indeed, Brussels says:
‘Free movement of our citizens is essential to the European Union. It is a fundamental right and an asset to our union. ” But that is only just if all the values, rights and obligations on both sides of the border are the same.