Dead Men Left

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Irish and Bangladeshi

I know you don't read the Telegraph opinion pages in the expectation of enlightment, but this drivel from Rosemary Behan is more than usually irksome. The argument, in summary, to save you reading the thing: my dad was Irish and he didn't blow himself up, so these Bangladeshis must be refusing to integrate.

I wonder if it might be worth reminding Behan of just how Irish immigrants were greeted when they started arriving in Britain in numbers, because - curiously - the welcome offered was not universal. Many unpleasant things were said. They had a suspicious foreign religion; they were idle, feckless and workshy, lurking in groups on street corners; they had huge families of dependent children; they sponged off hard-working Britons - and later, they were terrorists.

It's a strangely familiar list. Playing migrant top trumps is profoundly wrong because of it.