An immigrant’s view on the European Elections

When we think about the European Elections’ results, there are a few points that rise out before our eyes and which unavoidably raise concerns. I was watching the transmission of BBC yesterday and I couldn’t avoid noticing that the British and Irish very legitimate (in my oppinion) concerns about the Lisbon Treaty are still in the agenda and influenced the results of this election. The EU policies must be discussed in an open and clear way with the people – those who really need to know “on which side their bread is buttered”. That’s what hasn’t been properly done lately, and when the doubt arises people just say “No”. 

The ascent of the Conservatives is certainly not due only to the corruption in Public Finances, though this might have been a decisive factor, the drop of water which made the glass overflow. A good revision in the general political orientation could be a good starting point for a recovery – though I must say, with the international examples that I’ve been living with every day, that Mr. Brown is making one exceptional effort not to let Britain fall with the crisis. Even though many people might disagree, which is natural, the UK is resisting this fall in a reasonable way, and this must be taken in consideration before opting for anticipated elections.

The raise of nationalists is very worrying, not only to many good-hearted British, but I think, mostly to the immigrants who chose the UK to live. This is something that must be very carefully discussed, and even I am trying to find the best words and the best way to understand what’s going on. I think that when something like this happens, it must be seen as a warning to democracy and it must unavoidably be discussed and understood, to get the know-how to give it a constructive solution. On one side I must say that we shouldn’t put all the beans in the same bag. There’s no distinction of origin, religion, or tone of skin – “people are the same all over the world”. I say, from my personal experience, that the decision of moving to another country is a very difficult one, and can’t be taken lightly – to break up with the roots, the culture, to use a second language more than our own, to be far from family and friends, to do a job that we never did before, to do not know where to go or whom to recurr to in the difficulties; to face the uncertainty every day. But, generally, when someone moves to a foreign country, goes with the intention of living as the native people do in that country, of being the best citizen, of contributing to the growth and the wealth of the country that opens the doors. Other persons (independently of colour, origin or religion, I insist), though, spoil the image of the good ones, by not making a little effort to communicate, to integrate themselves, talking with  contempt of the culture of the ones who receive them, and just being there to earn as much as they can, accepting all kinds of work at any price, overcoming all the rules, evading the taxes, and so on. Those, even though they are not that many, are the ones who concern the nations all over Europe, even the most tolerant ones. What some people can’t reach is that the fact of someone comitting a crime has nothing to do with that person’s nationality or tone of skin. I have assisted to several cases in my day-to-day job, which took me to this conclusion. And the historical, sometimes painful, truth is that people turn to whoever promises them solutions, true or false, with or without scruples, unfortunately.  I’m not giving one inch of reason to the far-right and I have no intention of judging anyone at all, don’t get me wrong; I’m just trying to understand the social motives of this vote.  In my oppinion, the solution never is closing the doors, but defining, instead, a good and fair politics of immigration. Each case is a case, each person is an option – as it happens in the USA or Canada, for example.  This is a very difficult matter to decide, but the radicalisms make it worse – being radical doesn’t erradicate the wrong-doings and doesn’t change people’s minds. Only the dialogue can do it.

The good immigrants come here – or anywhere else in Europe – work hard and do the jobs that no-one else wants, with the kinds of payment that everybody rejects, The “British jobs for British people” policy, in my experience,  is working very well – even if it is so subtle, we, immigrants, feel its effects everyday. Why can’t I be a teacher, for example?  I have internationally recognized qualifications, a First Degree, a long experience, British QTS, a stainless actual CRB check, good references both from my country and from here. No-one could give me a plain explanation, so far. But the agencies just reply “We have no work for you, we don’t want to waste your time.” The only way I see it is (the words that aren’t said) “… because you are a foreigner.” Yet a few years ago, the UK was appealing to Portugal to send teachers here, because they didn’t have enough, and they still don’t have – teachers are classified as “Most wanted”. No, I don’t feel revolted about it any more – after a few months of knocking my head on the walls, I accepted it very well. I have new perspectives for my future.  But this is just me – I know so many others, with Higher qualifications and great potential, working in costruction sites and in other Minimum Wage jobs. What do I mean with these stories? No, we are not the problem in the UK, we are here with good will and open hearts, as, for example, the so many British who live in Portugal are. We are here to build, to give, to elevate Britain, with all respect and admiration we have for its culture and people.

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One Response to “An immigrant’s view on the European Elections”

  1. Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

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