Those Romanians and Bulgarians 141

One achievement of which I am very proud was my part in ensuring that the UK did not place restrictions on the right to free movement of the first EU Eastern European accession wave.  The arrival of so many Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Latvians etc in the UK has been a brilliant social and cultural development and provided some support for an economy wrecked by the reckless greed of bankers.

There can be no more stark illustration of the tiny political space occupied by the major political parties and portrayed by the mainstream media as the only “serious” political opinion, than New Labour’s shrill contention that the bankers of RBS/Natwest should only be allowed 100% of salary as a bonus and not 200%.  Why not about 5% like other civil servants, which is what they are.

To return to the subject, free movement of peoples is a great thing.  I do not want governments to tell people where they can and cannot go.  It is wonderful that I can wake up tomorrow and decide to settle in Trieste or Gorzow Wielkopolski, without permission from anybody.  Don’t take it for granted, think about it – isn’t it wonderful?

My role?  I was First Secretary Political and Economic in the British Embassy in Warsaw when the question of our attitude to free movement on accession was decided, and I produced a paper on the subject.  I researched it quite assiduously, including a meeting with the five Romany Kings of Poland in the castle at Oswiecim – Auschwitz.  My conclusion was that there would be no mass migration, but many young Polish people might typically come for a few years to work and earn money to start a home back in Poland.  My paper was influential and I was much congratulated.  Incidentally, I very much underestimated how many Polish people would come, but I am unrepentant – in fact extremely happy about it.

When I first achieved serious political consciousness, in my teen years, I should have been horrified if you had told me that in my lifetime the government would defend the receipt of intelligence from torture and indefinite detention without trial, and much educated opinion would agree.  I would not have believed the government would pay for poster vans going round with signs telling immigrants to go home.  And I would not have believed that some poor Romanian chap arriving in the UK would have been hounded by reporters- to general approbation – because of his ethnicity.

The fundamental worries about Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants do have one rational basis.  More than any other EU states, Romania and Bulgaria were admitted despite the fact that they blatantly did not meet the acquis communitaire across the full range of economic and governance measures.  The decision to pretend they did was fundamentally dishonest, and that will always have future ill-effects.  Romania and Bulgaria are less developed, worse governed and therefore more prone to mass economic emigration.

While I deprecate the dishonesty of pretending they met the acquis, however I did and do support their membership of the EU.  It was the right strategic move.  An approach that said, “you do not meet the acquis, but we will admit you to membership, now let’s work out the consequences” would have had better success.  The EU’s great mistake at present is not offering a fast track to very early membership to Ukraine on a similar basis.

In a couple of decades Bulgaria and Romania will have caught up.  I expect that, because of the difficulties of the societies from which they come in terms of crime and governance, it is not unlikely that there will be a larger proportion of social problems from these new immigrants than from other recent Eastern European immigration, and doubtless we will see these trumpeted in the racist press.  But in the long run, it is another great addition to our country and increase to our own freedoms.  I must go look at the countryside of Eastern Romania.





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141 thoughts on “Those Romanians and Bulgarians

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  • ESLO


    I really don’t think you have Habba right (I suspect he is a fairly mainstream Tory which doesn’t automatically qualify him as a racist – at least it doesn’t in my book) – if anyone is disrupting this thread at the present it is you and Mary. There are plenty of issues that have been raised from an anti-immigration perspective and worse that only I appear to be challenging.

  • Clark

    Does anyone know where to find Habbabkuk’s comments about Eastern European emigration across Europe? It’s on some previous thread, but I don’t know where to find it.

    Habbabkuk acts like a manipulative and cowardly hypocrite. He hasn’t dared to post his previously published opinions on this thread, where it would be on-topic and subject to scrutiny.

    Anyone who thinks Habbabkuk is Hasbara, check my link above. Habbabkuk just sometimes acts like Hasbara, because it’s a good way to wind people up and thereby disrupt discussion. He uses “exposure of anti-Semitism” as a tool.

  • Anon

    Hi ESLO, could you enlighten me as to how mass-immigration “enriches our society”?

    Also, would you place a limit on it?

  • Clark

    ESLO, I realise that I’m disrupting this thread and I regret it; I’m trying to keep my comments brief. But Habbabkuk’s disruption has continued for over a year, and your support for him contributed to the resignation of the moderator, eventually causing comments to be closed entirely. Please reconsider.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    @ Clark

    You should really stop obsessing about me. Why do you?

    Calm down, dear!

    And you and Mary should both get your facts right: there was a good discussion going on this thread’s theme, with some interesting comments and takes on both sides of the debate when Mary suddenly popped up with a post about a person from Ghana followed 31 minutes later by another completely O/T comment on the forthcoming Davos meeting (or, at least, Mary made no attempt to tie in her Davos post with the subject of this thread). Was that not the sort of trollish behavious of which I stand frequently accused….by Clark and Mary, for example?

    If I have time this evening, I might post a few small elements on immigration.

  • old mark

    ‘No lets just look at all those who arrived after the Celts and the language we use. You might get your thrills by painting youself with Woad and speaking an ancient version of Welsh – most of us don’t’.

    More historical gibberish. You are conflating the comings and goings of assorted Germanic tribes across the North Sea and Irish Sea in the dark ages with present day mass immigration. Between 1066 and the mid 1950s, inward migration into these Isles from outside was miniscule. The ‘nation of immigrants’ trope clearly seeks to obscure this fact, as you well know.

  • Anon2

    Just out of interest I read an article by the head of medicine in Bulgaria and she said that 50% of the Doctors who qualified in Bulgaria in 2012 had left the country and were in the US, Germany and the UK. Some of 2013 potential qualifiers had already been headhunted by other EU countries, with Austria high on the list.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    PS – the only thing I can remember posting in the past about immigration from Eastern Europe was – I think – that a number of Eastern European governments (I think of Romanian, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) seem to be cynically using freedom of movement within the EU to rid themselves of a minority – the Roma – which they hate and despise. Roms flood into western Europe because those governments do everything possible to make life as difficult as possible for the Roma in those countries. They are, in effect, exporting a ‘problem’ for the making of which they themselves are primarily responsible.

    I realise, of course, that the arguments about mass immigration cannot and should not be confined to the question of the Roms.

  • Mary

    The Hard Man and the Hard Woman of the Tory party have decided.

    Jobless migrants to be DENIED housing benefit: Ministers insist UK’s generous welfare system will no longer be a magnet for citizens of other EU states
    New rules mean EU arrivals claiming jobseeker’s allowance will not be able to receive housing benefit as well
    Those who get jobs but then lose them will only be entitled to housing benefit for six months
    Ministers hope the measures will cut migration to the UK from EU states
    But both Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa May say more needs to be done

    UPDATED: 13:33, 20 January 2014

    Sorry Clark Can’t remember and it’s too depressing to read back through some of the stuff.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, thanks for your constructive comment at 3:35 pm. I however dispute that the movement of Rom’s constitutes a “flood into western Europe” (Roma are a minority, and Western Europe is big), and point out that “flood” is frequently used as a “scare word” in the context of immigration.

  • ESLO

    Old Mark/Anon

    You may wish to ignore the impact of the mass immigration of Anglo Saxons that gave us much of our language and culture I don’t. Subsequent waves of immigration might not have been as significant in size – but they have also added to our culture. The current wave hardly qualifies as mass immigration in proportionate terms to the Anglo Saxons – and their are plenty of other societies around the world that have benefited from immigration, most notably the US.

    There are obviously short term limits to what the infrastructure of any country can cope with in terms of an increase in population – but we can and will cope despite the little Englanders claim of imminent collapse. If people are really worried about the strains caused by immigration, and how criminal elements often benefit as a result, then they perhaps should pay more attention to addressing the causes as to why people wish to move in the first place. Strangely enough the Little Englanders who complain about immigration are usually the most ignorant when it comes to ideas to deal with the root causes.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    @ ESLO

    “If people are really worried about the strains caused by immigration, and how criminal elements often benefit as a result, then they perhaps should pay more attention to addressing the causes as to why people wish to move in the first place.”

    That is right. As far as the Roms are concerned, western European governments should put pressure on the govts of the countries I mentioned previously to treat the Roms better and make greater efforts to integrate them socially and economically. Let’s be honest about this – Roms are victims in their countries of origin.

    I should add that as for immigrants in general from Eastern Europe, I don’t believe that their crime rate is any higher than that of indigenous populations – possibly lower, in fact.

    Re cultural enrichment in any meaningful way, I believe it is simply too early to tell. Inter alia, it will depend on how long these new immigrants stay and how their socio-economic position develops over time.

  • Mary

    What Blair says when you try and citizen’s arrest him

    By Alex Stevenson  Monday, 20 January 2014 3:55 PM 
    Not again… Not again…

    Tony Blair has brushed off yet another attempt to citizen’s arrest him over the Iraq War.

    The former prime minister was dining at a Shoreditch restaurant with a group of around eight others when the incident happened.

    Twiggy Garcia told Vice magazine: “I went over to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said: ‘Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq.

    “‘I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge'”.

    As expected, Blair declined the invitation. Instead, according to Garcia, he replied: “‘No, shouldn’t you be worried about Syria?'”

    Garcia continued: “I replied that I can only address things that are within my grasp at any one time. Then he asked me, ‘But don’t you agree that Saddam was a brutal dictator and he needed to be removed?’ and I replied ‘Not by an illegal war’. Then he started talking about how lots of people died in the 1980s.”

    The Office of Tony Blair issued a statement pointing out the ex-PM was open to debate the pros and cons of his decision to support the 2003 decision to oust Saddam Hussein from power.

    A spokesperson said: “There is nothing to report here apart from fact that Mr Blair did offer to discuss the issue – that offer was declined and the individual walked off. Nothing else happened. Everyone is fine and they had a great time at the restaurant.”

    Garcia’s attempt to bring Blair to justice for his involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq is the fifth citizen’s arrest attempt encouraged by the website, set up by columnist and author George Monbiot.

    “The purpose is to keep the issue in the public eye, remind people a great crime has been done and that there’s been no justice served as a result of that crime,” he told

    “In itself, it won’t lead to a reconfiguration of global justice, but it helps to create a different political environment and then that in turn hopefully creates more pressure to ensure that crimes like this don’t go unpunished in future.”

    Not all those who perform citizen’s arrests on Blair will be doing so for purely political reasons, as Monbiot’s website promises those who follow its rules 25% of the funds it has raised.


  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    @ Clark

    OK, we can find a different word to “flood” if you like. I wasn’t trying to do a Daily Mail, but there are many in the country I am most familiar with (many of whom busk on the metro trains or beg on the street) and I understand that London (and perhaps other cities) also have quite a few these days. Call it a flood or a trickle, but they are a very noticeable feature, let us say.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Reading Mary’s post above on citizen’s arrests, I was wondering if anyone knows what could happen after the subject of the arrest declines to go to a police station. Can reasonable force be used to make him do so? Or should the citizen call a police officer, restraining with reasonable force if necessary the subject until one such appears? Or is the whole concept just theatre?
    Genuine questions – I rather like the whole idea!

  • Romanian Student in UK

    As a Romanian national I completely agree with you Craig. These 2 countries are underdeveloped but they are quickly advancing and being part of the EU is accelerating the process which I consider is a good thing for human kind.

    What really frustrates me is the manipulating schemes of what you called ‘the racist media’. They are never honest and always take the opinion of the government party they are supported by.

    Something should be done to open the eyes of the community to the real world.

  • Anon

    Oh dear. Two mentions of “Little Englanders” and the usual guff about how it’s ok to have millions of third-world inhabitants settle here because some Germanic tribes migrated here 1,500 years ago.

    What do you find so wrong about a country wanting to maintain its culture and identity? What do you have so against it that you wish to see it disolved? Is it a contempt for “Little Englanders”? Why don’t you apply these standards to other countries that wish to maintain their identity?

    One in ten babies born here today are Muslim. I don’t have anything against Muslims, but why are we turning this into a Muslim country? Please could you give me an argument outlining the reasons why this must happen? It must surely be ideological because most studies conclude that the economic benefit levels out at about zero.

    I’m sorry, ESLO, because I agree with much of what you write here, but yours is one shitty little leftist orthodoxy that needs exposing.

  • nevermind

    Inselmenschen, don’t you just love them.

    Why do we direct our wailing and anguish to those who travel for work globally, not just from Eastern Europe, but nalso a large contingent from America and Australia?

    Should the debate not be directed to those who have fettered globalisation as if they’d given birth to it?, although with Mandleson such thoughts are wishfull thinking.

    Not to forget those who undermined what little was left of sustainable systems, in order to make us dependent on their processed goodies, ideally without competition, two fingers to the WHO as long as Jack is allright.

    The Uruguay round of trade talks has given immense powers to companies and they are running rings round us. Always out for dismantling trade barriers, they never propose a global accounting structure or global socially responsible tax levels do they now, instead they are waving party political puppets in front of our neyes and call it democracy, making damn sure that they control the media and keep this hyst of the 21st century going.

    Its the companies that regret to offer contracts, who work solely with self employed/on call bonded labour and cheap illegal immigrants as long as they don’t know about their status, they should be cursed/reigned back, as well as the carrerist puppets who bend over to take it as it comes, regardless of party, so why can nobody see it?

    Especially those who are seeminghly so HIghQ here should posess enough historic facts to comprehend that we are being wound up by some poor old fashioned gameplay,played only by rich people, the kind who gloats in Davos, lays on a little economic gloom and, hey presto goes forth to the next ripp off.

    We are supposed to get angry with the people who are trying to make ends meet, so they can hide their complicity in this globaliser game, party politicians and lawmakers are guilty of playing us off.

    If we end up denuded of manufacturing and in the yoch of globalising seed merchants and GMO marketeers, then this is also down to the party political systems we allowed to reign over us.

    But hey don’t you just love a good rogue…..Errrooooolllll

  • Anon

    Habbabkuk, the arrestee would likely tell them to FO. Understandable, really, given the rather perverse fantasies of some of our citizens:

    “His punishment should rightfully be arraignment and sentence for his war crimes at The Hague, that life sentence to be spent in a solitary cell on a cold island with a tape on loop of the screams of the little ones having their dressings removed without anaesthetic. On the wall will be projected endless images of the babies born in Fallujah with gross deformities from the dust filled with depleted uranium that their mummies and daddies ingested and inhaled. That should suffice until he meets his Maker.”

    Not that I don’t think the war criminal should be in prison, but you can understand why we leave law enforcement in the hands of the Police.

  • fred

    “I don’t have anything against Muslims, but why are we turning this into a Muslim country?”

    God forbid our national religion would be one originating in the Middle East.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, thanks for being friendly in your 5:05 and 5:10 comments, especially seeing as you were responding to a comment from Mary.

    Alas, I think the citizen’s arrest is all theatre. From Wikipedia:

    “In order for the arrest to be lawful, [… it must appear] to the person making the arrest that it is not reasonably practicable for a constable to make the arrest instead”

    Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article doesn’t mention any powers to detain or use of reasonable force:

  • Mary

    That was good of you Anon to remind readers what I said should happen to him, once arrested, arraigned and sentenced.

  • Clark

    Anon, 5:21: Babies aren’t Muslim. We should not assign a religion to children, who aren’t in a position to make such decisions until later.

    Anon, read the comment section you quoted at 5:32 again. It’s not Blair who is to have bandages torn off without aesthetic or become deformed by depleted uranium dust; those are things that have already happened to others. It isn’t even “eye for an eye”. Seen properly, that comment calls only for Blair to face mere recordings of the consequences of his decisions and scheming.

  • Kempe

    There wouldn’t appear to be any grounds for a citizens arrest on Tony Blair and any attempt to detain him or drag him off to the local nick would seem to invite charges of assault, false imprisonment and kidnap.

    I have my doubts about the story anyway, Blair is still protected by a team of armed police offers, said to be 20 strong, at a cost to taxpayers of £400,000 pa. Twiggy would’ve been on the floor with a Glock to the temple before getting within touching distance.

    Good to see you back Craig, looking at how quickly we’ve settled into the usual pattern of backbiting, trolling and stupid conspiracy theories it’s like you never went away.

  • Anon

    Hi Clark, I’ve noticed this to be the stock reaction. “A baby can’t be Muslim!”, you cry. But we all know it is, and will be. You are applying a left-liberal idea to people who have absolutely no respect for your notions. Honesly Clark, you need to sort it out and get a grip on reality.

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