Return to sender

I’m sick of Brexit and need to move on to happier things, so this will be my last comment on it. Honestly.

I spotted this (see http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2016/06/britain-after-referendum ) on the Economist website. The picture of the UK return to 1970’s mayhem was uncannily similar to my own recent thoughts on the subject – in my case more reflections on a number of BBC 3 films about the background to punk than any “serious” political analysis.

I should also add that events in the Isle of Man, and the local reaction to Brexit, are linked. The thing is, from the late 1980’s onward we attracted UK white flighters thanks to an odd – and from government papers I saw in 1990 I believe deliberate – government policy which “coincidentally” put off people of colour (even skilled, financially solvent ones) while encouraging any paler face, however undesirable.

In addition, I also know that a number of undesirables were “resettled” here, mostly as the pay-off in secretive “supergrass” arrangements with the police or security services, but sometimes with help from extreme evangelical groups, who saw criminals recruited in prisons and put through nominal bible college courses as a cheap source of clergy for the movement they hoped to plant here in order to supplement dwindling state subsidy in Northern Ireland.

In both cases, they took advantage of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which allows the perpetrators of all but a few crimes not to declare criminal convictions older than a decade on job applications.

Before all that, this was a sleepy place. While not too used to dealing with the obviously different, with the odd exception it managed it with the good manners and common decency you come to expect in quiet rural places where people just have to get by and get on.

Since then, it has got worse, to the extent that, while a resident of over 30 years myself, after Brexit my family feels less safe because of racism stirred up by recent UK “come-overs”. Their ignorance adds nothing to the island mix. They should be the ones considering moving away, not us.

There’s a larger island just across the Irish Sea which seems determined to revive the worst aspects of the early 1970’s. Maybe they would feel more at home there, claiming benefits or sitting around in the lobbies of crumbling, under-resourced NHS facilities waiting for an appointment.

We have suffered them far too long. Time that they, and not our productive immigrants, were encouraged to be a burden on the country that dumped them on us. Considering the UK government is fast retreating to the ugly, anti-democratic attitudes of those times, surely such bigots would feel right at home.

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