Magazine article The Spectator

Absolute Tosh

Magazine article The Spectator

Absolute Tosh

Article excerpt

I have to say that I feel real, gung-ho sympathy for Beverley Hughes, the immigration minister. Hughes is under savage attack for allegedly misleading the Commons over the true extent of her department's covert policy that relaxed checks on foreign immigrants.

Further hysteria has been expressed because this May ten countries, most of them Eastern European, will be joining the EU. These countries include Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania. According to the scaremongers, we will be swamped by nasty foreigners who will steal our men and women, make 'sham marriages' and then live off the state.

What absolute tosh. I am the daughter of an immigrant from Hungary. My mother was forced to come here when the communists began to persecute her family. She hated London and often says that it took her seven years to become used to the English. Yes, she married an Englishman, but it was he who pressed her to marry him. Was that a sham marriage? Most marriages become shams sooner or later, anyhow. But my mother, with her Continental charm and tolerance, remained married to my father for twice as long as any of his previous English brides.

But let us leave that aside. Knowing Eastern Europeans slightly better, I suspect, than most columnists, it is inconceivable to me that Britain is in danger of being swamped by lazy louts. After May there will be two kinds of immigrants. The first will be scientists, researchers and workers in different areas of the arts who cannot find enough funding in their own country. This can only be to our advantage. Hungary, for instance, can boast more Nobel Prize winners per population count than any other nation. Just think of that Biro you keep in your jacket pocket or handbag. Who invented it? A Hungarian.

Many Eastern Europeans have a wonderfully un-English gift for making money from their creations. …

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