On November 10, 2011, news broke that the UKBA was relaxing its checks at Heathrow Airport in an effort to reduce the queues from incoming flights.
it is “frightening” how many people slip through the net and exposed a culture of deceit where employees are bussed in when politicians visit to give the impression of more staff …
“We’ve operated a light touch over the summer for the past couple of years.
“It was never meant as an intelligence-led way of improving security. It’s all about the queues” …
The Government’s pilot aims to deploy resources more effectively by using intelligence-led risk assessments.
But the Terminal 3 worker strongly disputes any suggestion that the looser checks he has witnessed are a better use of resources.
He said: “It’s just a way of trying to get people through passport control quickly. It only saves 30 seconds per person, but that adds up to a lot.
“We would only use light touch checks when there were big queues – from around 2.30pm onwards over the summer months.
“For instance, if there was a big flight arriving from Pakistan.
“It makes us very angry because that’s the very time when we should be taking time and asking questions.
“But the truth is, there’s not enough staff. We can’t cope with the number of people.
“There’s only five or six of us and we have the worst of the queues at Terminal 3.”
Well, I can tell you that in Terminal 5, the passport control officials, who might not even have been born here, give UK passport holders a grilling. This showed up in comments following the article.
People with UK passports and British spouses are justifiably angry at being treated as non-entities. Meanwhile, others — perhaps closer to the demographics of the person behind the booth sitting on the towering chair — get smiled at, chatted with and waved through.
It was so different just 10 years ago. Men and women behind the counter in tweed jackets or suits — not uniforms — treated everyone the same. They were cordial yet intelligent: passport presenters were innocent until proven guilty. Now, it’s just the opposite. If you wore contact lenses for your passport photograph and wear spectacles when approaching the counter — beware!
The Yahoo! comments also featured a number from immigrants, Eastern Europeans and Africans, who seem to think nothing of denigrating the UK as a Third World hellhole. The hate was palpable. Take, for instance, this woman:
Nne: ‘You should be glad you have non-Brits working there and least keeping the country safe for now.
‘Finally, if you look closely, you will find that there are other Brits in the offices, of cause, they hate to do the dirty works at the counter.’
Nope, Nne — Labour moved them off the counter so that the UK appeared less indigenous. After all, the presence of Britons in their own land — how dare they! — might offend Johnny Foreigner coming for a visit or an extended stay.
Nne (again): ‘Everyone can live in any country of their choice provided it is done legally. Legal immigrants work hard here, the Brits do also. Most non-Brits are working, many Brits on benefit which many non-Brits are not entitled to but pay tax for.
‘Non-Brits come here, work hard and live in little houses. Have you travelled to Africa lately, especially in the beautiful parts. You will find that those areas are popularly dominated by the Rich whites, those busy stealing oils and other resources …
‘How many Non-brits have power in this UK, how many are in parliament. But when you travel abroad (esp Africa) you see the Brits in high places speaking without being interrupted.’
Really? Fascinating. Last I read, people of British extraction were being thrown off their farms in Africa. If that’s what this woman thinks of the British, why, then, would she live in … erm, the UK? Shurely shome mishtake …
A few Ukranians (among others) commented to say that they, too, hate the UK. But it seems our Government gives good handouts, so that’s all right.
A Briton spoke up about immigrants working in the care industry:
GARNET: We have sufficient Public service employees working in our Care Industry who have come from both EEC countries and Non EEC countries. A lot of them speak very little English and sadly our elderly people in care homes and in hospital wards have great difficulty trying to understand them. We must stop these so called agencies that are getting people to pay a large sum of money to them, enabling many nationalities to come here and take up employment in care homes and as HCAs in hospitals … A number of these agencies are run by ethnic people also. It should be the governments responsibility to allow only English speaking immigrants to be employed in our Care Industry …
It would be a start — although it should be the care industry’s responsibility, not the government’s!
I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but we have a problem when immigrants are so negative whilst people whose families have lived here since, well, forever, feel as if they are now strangers in their own land.
This unhappy discourse brings me to my main point, which is the French polling company Ipsos’s survey on immigration of August 2011. It would seem that this refers to mass immigration, not immigration per se.
Ipsos polled 17,601 people around the world to gauge their impressions. The PDF is short and easy to follow with its PowerPoint-style bar charts.
A few highlights:
– Over half — 13 out of 24 — of the countries polled viewed immigration negatively. Great Britain: 64% negative.
– Over half said that their countries had too many immigrants and that they were placing a strain on public services. Great Britain: 76% agreed.
– Over half said that mass immigration made it more difficult for their own people to get jobs. Great Britain: 62% agreed.
– Half said that mass immigration did not benefit their country’s economy. Great Britain: 49% agreed.
According to the Ipsos summary (in French), Russia, Belgium and Great Britain were the most opposed to immigration. Canada and Brazil, in case you’re wondering, had the most favourable opinions.
Thanks, Labour — you dumped us in it nicely for over 10 years.
And people expect the Coalition to get us out of this mess in less than 24 months? Please!
(Yes, I know there is a controversy with Theresa May at the moment, but I have also read that former UK Border Force head, Brodie Clark, was a Labour appointee in 2008.)
It seems what people find perplexing about immigration is the increasing hostility by newcomers towards their host country. And this is what many of us try to reconcile. In general, we do extend a friendly welcome, but if it is met with a rebuff, then what do we do?
Personally, I suspect that community organisers — or ‘agitators’, as my late grandmother would have called them — have a significant role to play in stirring immigrant anger.