Deborah Ross: There's a problem when immigrants can invade my breakfast cereal

If You Ask Me


If you ask me, although there are some who say MigrationWatch – the "independent think-tank" whose e-petition calling on the Government to reduce immigration will be debated by the Backbench Business Committee this Thursday – is a nasty outfit comprising right-wing nut-jobs devoted to scaremongering and playing fast and loose with statistics, I am not among them.

If we're not being seriously over-run by foreigners, as MigrationWatch claims, can you tell me why I woke up this morning to find 62 Bhutanian students who had outstayed their visas hiding in my wardrobe, a Somalian family attempting to set up home in my sock drawer, and a Zimbabwean refugee camping out in my ear? However, I soon got rid of that Zimbabwean by shaking my head most vigorously. I also left him with some advice: "Choose your ears more carefully," I told him. "Although all Britons are descended from a fantastically varied ethnic stock, this is something I choose to ignore and I will not have you living in my ear or on any other part of my body, like between my toes. Do you hear?"

My day did not improve. I went down for breakfast, poured out my cereal, and can you guess what also fell into my bowl? Yes, three generations of a Romanian family and their donkey. Into my Special K! They'd been living in the box! "Get out my Special K!" I shouted. "Get out, get out, get out!" Oh, heavens, what a commotion; so much so I could barely concentrate on my Daily Express. And although I could afford to miss any further stories about foreign illegals having killed Princess Diana – I think this is widely accepted now – what if they could find something else to blame them for? What if they found they're also responsible for avocados going from rock hard to off without an edible period in between, and putting your keys down then not being able to find them?

Now, I know the counterargument; I know some will say many countries – like America and Australia – have been enriched by migrants and none has ever been ruined by them. They might add that no study has proved immigration adversely affects employment or wages. They might conclude that enemies of immigration are the enemies of freedom, and xenophobic to boot, but what good is this? It isn't going to get the Polish plumber out of my shoe, is it?

I don't know if you've ever tried to get from A to B with a Polish plumber in your shoe, but it is awkward, and I have to hobble painstakingly slowly. So I hope MigrationWatch gets somewhere this Thursday, I honestly do.

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