Thursday, April 9, 2009

I read somewhere a while back; I can’t remember where, that if one was born in 1931 one should consider oneself very lucky, as those born in that year tend towards having a long life. Why this should be I have no idea but I suppose if you’re into longevity that’s pretty good news. Perhaps those born in the forties are not quite so lucky. I received my PRS magazine today and looking at the obituary pages, tributes for some, a mention only for lesser mortals in the world of music of which there are many recently deceased, in the tribute section of nine obits six are in the forties: 1948/43/40/45/46/46.
To quote yet another George Leybourne song, “It’s the same thing over again, the same thing over again.” In other words nothing really changes. In 1596 Queen Elizabeth told her Privy Council, “There are lately divers blackamoors brought into this realme, of which kinde of people there are already here too manie.” Where did I get this interesting piece of information? I am reading “The Lodger – Shakespeare on Silver Street” by Charles Nicholl, a birthday present from Christopher and very interesting it is too. In the same period there was many a moan about London growing too big, too noisy, too smelly, too dirty, too dangerous, too crime ridden and that was when the population was less than a million. So there really is nothing new under the sun. It was not an influx of dark skinned people only that was causing ructions then but the French and Dutch refugees who were (I paraphrase here) taking over people’s houses and jobs. Does that ring a bell or does it not? Way back in the swinging sixties you could play a game in Leicester Square called spot the Englishman and you would be hard put to it to find a dozen or more. (Slight exaggeration but it makes the point.) Only in this instance it’s Poles and Hungarians as well as all the illegals who have managed to finally make it to Britain. The Middle Eastern and North African smugglers might not be as brutal as their Mexican brothers who evidently, once they’ve deposited someone in America, suddenly up the price and if their demands aren’t met the result can be very nasty indeed. People running is truly a major problem and an impending disaster of major proportions as literarily thousands of seekers after a better life put their lives in the hands of the smugglers to whom they have paid, in their terms, a small fortune for a trip across the Med in a rotten sometimes totally unseaworthy boat. Nobody knows how many have drowned in making the attempt but what happens to those who do land in Spain, in Italy, in Greece? Just how many can Europe take? Already thee are shanty towns on the outskirts of cities that are described as health hazards where refugees with nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing positive to look forward to stagnate because nobody knows what to do with these people. The xenophobia of the Elizabethans and the Jacobeans (we will slit your throats) a threat which caused many of the Huguenots to flee the country will be as nothing compared to what could happen if Europeans begin to really feel they are being swamped. “They live off welfare. They get everything done for them. They take our houses and our jobs. It’s our taxes that pay for their upkeep.” No, there really is nothing new under the sun but what, if there is one, is the answer?’ A certain conservative politician many years ago made a speech in which he mentioned “rivers of blood” which brought down the wrath of all right thinking people on his head. But what if he was right? We can only pray it doesn’t come about.

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