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Customer Review

65 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Erudite yet readable, 29 Jun. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain (Hardcover)
The issue of immigration tends to polarise opinion and in this well written and superbly researched book, Robert Winder makes us fundamentally question why we regard immigration as an 'issue' in the first place. Largely eschewing the well rehearsed moral arguments that are usually made, Winder focuses on the socio-economic impact of migration into Britain, from the end of the Ice Age to the present day. Throughout the book, Winder combines historical narrative with some well placed anecdotes to develop his thesis that immigration is, and has always been, a force for good. His arguments are generally well balanced, recognising that host countries face some legitimate concerns, and making the point on several occassions that despite some lamentable lapses, Britain has a generally honourable tradition in its dealing with migrants over the centuries - at least in comparative terms. As someone who was not born in the UK but has made it my home, I found the material both refreshing and interesting. Not enough comment, in my view, is made in the popular media of the economic benefits from immigration. Perhaps Robert Winder's book should be 'docu-dramatised' for TV: it may help advance the mainstream debate in the way Simon Schama has reinvigorated popular interest in British history.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Aug 2008, 00:26:30 BST
Was immigration a source for good when the Goths and Vandals entered the bounds of the Roman Empire in vast swathes, completely failed to integrate and subsequently ravaged it? If you like we could go even further back to the time of the ancient Hebrews, and ask the Caananites and the inhabitants of Jericho what they thought about incomers.

Mass, unintegrated immigration invariably results in the destruction of distinct indigenous culture. The Europeans did it in the Americas and the Antipodes and we can see the Han Chinese doing it today in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and, of course, Tibet. People with unique common histories and value systems tend to band together into those great bastions of diversity, nation states. Attempts to force distinct groups together into artificially fashioned, heterogenous structures like the Ottoman Empire, USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia without any kind of democratic mandate inevitably result in failure. Yes, immigrants as a collective group contribute more in tax to the Kingdom than they cost us in handouts, but as the author probably well knows this is because a handful of wealthy business magnates and financiers (mostly Americans) and millionaire football club managers and celebrities (Madonna, et al) heavily distort the figures. The vast bulk of the immigrant population is, unfortunately, a drain of social security; and additionally it puts excessive strain on public services (NHS, transport etc), contributes to congestion and drives house prices up and wages down (the blame for this lies largely with greedy and exploitative employers, of course).

Are these "benefits" worth the cost to democracy and social solidarity?

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2010, 05:05:24 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Apr 2010, 05:07:42 BST
To be fair, the vast majority of descendants of immigrants (you may have to check yourself as one) are a burden on the state and thus its resources. The top 1% of the population (whether 1st or 20th generation immigrant) is responsible for 25% of the total tax revenue. Meanwhile, the bottom 25% are responsible for 10% of the total tax revenue. Maybe as they are such a strain on public services, as you are implying, we should ship out everyone who costs more than they provide?

Oh yes, and the Europeans all but wiped out Aborigines and Native Americans; two whole continents. The Chinese are dabbling in their own backyard, and have actually allowed minorities to breed well beyond the 1 child limit that Han Chinese have to comply with. Compare that with the ruthless ethnic cleansing by Europeans centuries ago... well, it's a stupid one.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Dec 2010, 18:32:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Apr 2011, 20:17:28 BST
I'm always shocked at the deep self-loathing within the supposedly 'liberal' psyche. In HP Sauce's reply to Mr Montgomery's comment explaining that mass immigration is shown throughout history to be inevitably detrimental to the 'host' culture; we have an example of the depth of that hatred. I quote:- "the Europeans all but wiped out Aborigines and Native Americans; two whole continents". This clearly implies that the Western World (of which he is part!!!) deserves an immigration induced Gotterdammerung in belated payment for:- "ruthless ethnic cleansing by Europeans centuries ago..."!!! The strangest thing about this bigoted but so-called 'liberal' attitude is the quasi-religious undertones, IE:- "The sins of the fathers shall be vented on the children for seven generations.".

This comment assumes of course that HP Sauce isn't a raving Muslim fanatic. If he were, such attitudes might make sense of a sort; but from supposedly balanced/caring people, who actively campaign to save the whale, panda bears etc... from extinction????

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Dec 2010, 16:16:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Dec 2010, 16:26:26 GMT
David80015 says:
With regard to J.B. Montgomery's post; I have to say that I agree with your opinions and the evidence you give to support your arguments, absolutely completely. I also admire the courage you have displayed in order to write about a topic, in a way, which is bound to be thought of as "politically incorrect" (and perhaps even frightening), and therefore you are bound to be damned by those whose disagreement is based upon knee-jerk reaction, and a lack of knowledge regarding the lessons of history. Only 3 out of 11 agree with your analysis, as I write. However, you are still correct for all the disagreeing PC replies to your post. It's easy to be part of a mob, as the disagreeing will know. It takes guts to tell unwanted truths; especially to an ignorant, head-in-the-sand "audience" and your analysis is both accurate and shows a deep knowledge of history and the resultant consequences of the examples that you give. The oft used quotation "Those who ignore history are damned to repeat it" is as relevant as ever. As for all those who disagree with my opinion: I don't care.
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