Magazine article The Spectator

Globophobia

Magazine article The Spectator

Globophobia

Article excerpt

A weekly survey of world restrictions on freedom and free trade

Ten new members join the European Union on Saturday and thousands of economic migrants are queueing up at the borders, raring to go. I refer, of course, to Western European property investors hoping to make a killing on property markets in the East. While we have heard a lot of grim warnings in the press about Eastern Europeans descending on Dover by the busload to take our jobs, steal our women and eat our children, buy-to-let investors have received nothing but encouragement: last weekend's property sections were brimming with suggestions as to where to invest, what to buy and how much rent it is possible to screw out of your Estonian tenants.

Such is the hypocrisy we show towards free trade. When it's about us travelling abroad without the need for a visa, buying property and coming home with an MPV-load of cheap wine and fags, we're all for it. When it's about foreigners coming here to look for work in our restaurants and on our building sites, on the other hand, suddenly it's not such a good idea after all. …

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