Monday, 18 February 2013

Beware the Bulgarian Invasion

I never thought anyone could knock Nick Griffin off my most hated politician spot until I realised Nigel Farage wasn’t just a nasty man in my nightmares, but actually existed. While Nick Griffin is essentially a big ball of lard, bigot and racist, the chances of the BNP pushing the Old Etonians out of Number 10 are relatively small. Farage, on the other hand, is not just a bigoted xenophobe but the living, breathing, human embodiment of the Daily Mail and this concerns me greatly. Like the Daily Mail, Farage and the UK Independence Party appeal to society’s most gullible. By gullible I mean the type of people who occasionally appear out of nowhere on your Facebook and Twitter timeline spouting some nonsense about how their friend’s, mum’s, cousin’s, friend’s, brother-in-law’s, sister’s daughter was banned from saying Christmas at school because it is offensive to Muslims.  Or “99% of people won’t have the balls to repost this, share if you agree!!!” Yeah, those people.

As a dual national Gypsy, I am often at the receiving end of these people’s ignorance and while I should perhaps pity them, I instead quite despise them. Indeed, it is not their fault that they are the product of the Great British education system which functions only to keep the plebs in their place, but it is their fault that their political standpoints are informed only by the Daily Mail and Facebook memes. Unwilling to exercise their ability to question everything, the gullible instead have become Nigel Farage’s wet dream, with their spongy little brains soaking up every last word he spits from his mouth.  

Worryingly polls are suggesting that UKIP are now firmly in third place after a disastrous few years for the Liberal Democrats. This does not come as a surprise for me for UKIP are a populist party. Research suggests that immigration is one of the public’s greatest concerns and where there is a concern there is a Nigel Farage perpetuating a myth. Farage aims to win the next election based solely on his immigration scaremongering which feeds directly into the hands of the gullible. High unemployment, cuts to services, lower pensions, higher retirement age – the people of Britain are angry, and rightly so. Yet, instead of making any logical assessment of Capitalist society, unscrupulous bankers, and corrupt politicians, the gullible instead look to the Daily Mail, Facebook, and Nigel Farage for answers. So Mr Farage, why are we all poorer, jobless and going nowhere? Because we are about to be invaded by handout hungry Bulgarians and Romanians. 

Forget double dip recessions, the reason you are in the dole queue is because of the previous Polish invasion. Lock up your daughters, draw the curtains, don’t leave the house after dark, there is a Polski Sklep on your street corner selling POLISH food!!! Don’t blame it on the bankers, it was the Polish who caused mass unemployment. Leave poor Thatcher out of it, it was the Polish who caused the social housing shortage, in fact they probably stole your children’s milk as well. I know this to be true because Nigel Farage, the Daily Mail, and Rachel Bull off Question Time told me so and now to make matters worse the Bulgarians and Romanians will soon be coming in their thousands to sponge off the state and steal our most sought after fruit picking jobs. Yet, this is no normal invasion, this invasion comes with an extra dose of terror – it’s a Gypsy invasion. 

On the 1st January 2014 the restrictions applied to the migration of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens within the EU will be lifted. Despite being members of the EU since 2007, and thus entitled to EU work permits for the past 6 years, UKIP and the Daily Mail have launched a scaremongering campaign about the perils of the Eastern European invasion. Indeed, immigration has always been used as a tactic to distract the masses from Government failure, but what is most worrying in this case is the demonization of the Roma which comes with it. It is not the average Bulgarian and Romanian citizen that is dominating the headlines, but instead the Roma who have been portrayed as organised gangs of child traffickers, pickpockets, pimps and beggars, or as lazy poverty stricken freeloaders desperate to get their parasitic hands on our welfare state. Such misrepresentations are profoundly damaging for the Roma, an already maligned group who will acquire the double deviancy of being both immigrants and gypsies. 

As a second generation Bulgarian Roma immigrant, I am perhaps more able than some to shed light on the true story behind Farage’s lies. My grandmother came to England in the late 1970s with the same romantic view of the UK that many Bulgarian’s have today. To her, England was a golden land full of opportunity, worlds away from the poverty and destitution of her Varna slum. England was a place of equality where her children would be educated, not segregated, and where they would have access to health care which meant they might live past middle age.  My grandmother left her whole world behind, it was not an easy choice to make but she did it to better the life of her family. The conditions for Europe’s Roma are abhorrent. For every visit I make to my family in Bulgaria, the deprivation still shocks me. In a so called developed country, there are neighbourhoods of thousands of impoverished people without homes, sanitation and running water, thus it comes as no surprise that they may be desperate for a better life. It is pure hate, bigotry and racism that have left the Roma so marginalised, yet instead of asking why the discrimination against them goes unchallenged, we instead have the likes of Farage and friends perpetuating the myths that keep them at the bottom. 

The overt and unrestrained discrimination towards Europe’s Roma should be Europe’s biggest shame. Instead they have been demonised and become merely a pawn in a political game, sacrificed by politicians desperate for power. Farage himself recognises the desperate situation for many in Bulgaria, stating “if I were Bulgarian I’d be packing my bags now, waiting to come to Britain”, yet it is not enough for Farage to acknowledge the desperate situation of Bulgaria’s Roma if he is unwilling to do anything about it. Whether an EU sceptic or not, surely Europe have a responsibility to address the marginalisation of their biggest ethnic minority. Segregation and media demonization will not make this ‘problem’ disappear, instead the Roma will remain ostracised and desperate to escape. Bulgaria’s Roma are unlikely to see an improvement in their socioeconomic status without intervention. While their life chances remain low, the UK will remain a desirable location.


  1. Yes, it is a hard task not to want to kung fu a racists' nose in...but to openly laugh at him might be the best revenge. one must stick to the good ideas instead, that's better for all of us. maybe there will be a way of a new sharing economy, ethic economy, every little step is good. I also think that "the overt and unrestrained discrimination towards Europe’s Roma should be Europe’s biggest shame". At least the Berlinale has set a sign against that. But there remains so much to be done.

  2. very frustrating, but maybe the tide is beginning to turn? I mean, I see a lot more accurate information out there then I used to, and our issues are becoming better known - I like to think that once people begin to realize they've been twats they can change...but there does need to be a certain pressure on them to do so.