Poles heading home—can’t say I blame them

Richard Harradine has just been in England and is inclined to believe that the Poles are right to get the hell out of there as fast as possible.

After spending a wet and windy break back in the UK, I thought I would put down one or two thoughts on the current state of Britain in relation to ‘The Big Migration, and would welcome your comments/observations.

In opening a topic which is currently ‘hot’, I should apologize in advance if I upset any of the gentle readers out there. The opinions are totally my own, and I’m in no-ones pay.

So let me start off by saying that I saw a very interesting programme on one of the English channels entitled, “What it means to be British” and apart from confirming what we already know, (moslims find it more difficult to assimilate), there were no surprises. This question could easily be asked of Poles and I would imagine the answer is more obvious than the British one.

I myself find it frustrating because being born in Kenya, schooled in Zimbabwe and not setting foot in the UK till I was sentenced to a few years at an English public school, I consider myself a white African….which went down like a lead balloon when I mentioned the fact to black Americans and Brits.

OK, so my parents are English and that makes me British in my book because I wasn’t born in that country, but am British through my line. Am I right or wrong? Isn’t an Asian living in Wolverhampton, born and bred, more English than I?

Which brings me to the point of this post. Do the large number of Poles living in the UK intend taking British citizenship ( I doubt it), or remaining economic migrants and firmly Polish? I suspect the latter, and can find nothing wrong with that. And nearly everyone I talked to had only positive things to say about Poles in general, and workers in the building trade, in particular. Mind you one of my friends told me that he went on a hot date with a polish girl, and she took him to the Polish church in Ealing. His reaction to that is unprintable. He couldn’t work out whether she had marriage on her mind, or was simply trying to get him used to her and her habits on a Sunday.

And to be quite honest, Britain’s wheels seem to have fallen off, notwithstanding the heroic Olympic efforts. It is unashamedly one of the most expensive places on the planet.. prices don’t go up in the UK by the rate of inflation or anything like it. The gas company has just hiked prices by 30%. Thirty per cent, for heaven’s sake. How they can do it beats me.

The biggest problem, though facing the UK is the collapse of civil society and the ‘me’ generation. At the heart of this, is an unpalatable truth that British politicians will not, or cannot tackle. And it is this..without a good education, a person can more or less kiss goodbye to competing with everyone else in the years to come. And yet the majority of kids in England can’t wait to get out and start working at 16. Only, they don’t want to start working at unskilled labour which is all you can do without qualifications, and largely want to be paid for doing something they imagine they’re good at, preferably football, pop music, acting or some other vocation that is usually out of reach to most of them for a variety of reasons. So, the lure of easy drug money on the streets, and the rise and rise of the gang culture in Britain today is unsurprising. And seeing this, the Poles are quite rightly thinking that it’s no place to bring up children, and heading home.

I know I have rather oversimplified the reasons for this social malaise, but believe me, it’s there. We tend to think of Poles as drinkers, but the Poles I know in London hate the pub/club scene when it always ends with some drunken English lout bawling at them because the attractive Polish girls didn’t respond to his desperate, pissed chat-ups. You know the kind of thing….I heard one fat, drunk yobbo in London say loudly in a crowded bar, “Why don’t you bloody Poles head back to your iron curtain, and leave us our jobs”. Uneducated, wrong, but there you are.

So, to sum up, I think that a lot of Poles are realizing that working in England is no picnic, and given the recent financial turmoil there, Poland seems positively buzzing by contrast. So no wonder they’re coming home.. I could go on longer about what’s wrong in the UK, but I would welcome some of your thoughts on the subject.

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18 thoughts on “Poles heading home—can’t say I blame them

  1. Radek says:

    Nice post, Im glad to see you live up the stereotype of “Britain Bashing” :). We Poles tend to think that we are the most pessimistic and depressed nation on earth… however, that honour must surely belong to the Brits… Its a national pastime knocking King and Country (ok maybe just country).

    Having said that, you do bring up some good points. I studied in the UK for a year (at the U of Bristol) and I can honestly say that coming home at night on a Saturday night was a frightening experience – the number of drunk, aggressive yobs looking for a fight was just mind shattering. I had never felt afraid walking at night (and this is from a person who grew up in South Africa/Zimbabwe – hello fellow white African ;) ), but walking around in the UK (at night) surrounded by those people i was terrified – a feeling not allayed by the fact that my floormate got stabbed in a fight for wearing the wrong football shirt…

    On the other hand, this sort of behavior is really limited to a certain sphere of society – if you avoid that sort of sphere, then you usually avoid the problems. Unfortunately, in Britain anyway, this seems to be highly correlated with pretty your accent sounds – but you get bad eggs everywhere – even in Poland! ;)

  2. guest says:

    All I can say is, watch this :D

  3. darthsida says:

    I can’t and don’t know “What it means to be British”. But what it means to be English, John Cleese says here, he can’t say. The thing changes on a yearly basis, he sees it. I guess it has something to do with the fact that England is not a nation of shopkeepers reading Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” in their (p)leisure time. England is nations now (duh), Poles included. The residents of England did not escape their homeland under German bombs, so why run away from it on hearing a yobbo?

    Btw, “a crowded bar”? You mean “a pub”? Pubs will be no longer soon.

  4. […] discusses how and why a growing number of Poles choose to return home from Britain to Poland. Posted by […]

  5. […] discusses how and why a growing number of Poles choose to return home from Britain to […]

  6. clopinettes says:

    I actually don’t think it’s going to last too much longer like this. What we’re seeing now is probably the end-result of years of a lazy education system that robbed kids of their future potential.

    Education and culture are critical to having a good life. Most people in Britain are decent, refined and easy-going folk who want a quiet life, don’t like litter, don’t like yobs and want some comfort. But there’s a significant, ignorant, violent and greedy minority that are doing the country a great deal of harm. They litter, they care about nobody other than themselves, and they make a noisy mess of the place.

    Give it more time and those problems will, slowly, be sorted out.

    On the other hand, I just spent a week in Krakow (my g/f is Polish, but no, we met in Peru on a holiday rather than due to economic migrancy) and… wow. What a great place. What great people. The noisiest and most intimidating were probably the British stags getting themselves hammered.

    Will I ever leave my beloved Liverpool? Dunno. Some things are better here, some worse. But I do wonder about the schooling still, and if I have kids, that becomes a major issue….

  7. richard Harradine says:

    Dear Warren Whitmore,
    Succint and to the point…but to what? The previous comment, my blog, or something else?
    Rich Harradine

  8. anglopole says:

    Great post Richard! :-) You dared to present the truth and so some people’s crippled ego’s been hurt;-) [WW behaves like this in other virtual places, so don’t worry!]
    I’ve live in the UK for some time and can confirm what you’re written as true.

  9. That’s odd, ‘cos you wrote on Polandian that you were aiming to become a British citizen.
    So when are you going home? Please don’t feel shy about telling me this, I feel sure it’s something I can live with.

  10. Andre says:

    I think Poles are coming back, but not necessarily for the same reasons mentioned in this post. For example, when they started emigrating out of Poland, the exchange rate was something like 7 PLN for 1 GBP while today it’s more around 4 to 1. Plus, wages have also gone up in Poland, in the double digits, in the past few years. Wages have not grown so much in the UK or anywhere else in Europe.

    So, now Poles can’t really afford to save up as much money as they used to. They are being pushed to throw in their hat with either Poland or the UK, and many are picking Poland. I can vouch as a person who moved here only 4 years ago, that things have gotten better (better infrastructure, lower prices on certain goods that used to be “luxurious” e.g. electronics, and better earnings).

    I’m not surprised.

  11. Mat says:

    I think this is a distorted post.

    I would argue you have lived in Poland for too long, have no real idea about England/Britain, and use excuses posted above to justify your reasons for staying in Poland.

    There are many social problems related to immigrants and feelings towards them in England/Britain. Personally, I would say that Poles are amongst the ‘highest’ ranked; partly due to our forefathers fighting alongside them, and partly due to the atrocious time they had during WW2.

    Living in any foreign country is certainly ‘no picnic’, but honestly, if it is that bad, why move there in the first place? And certainly, why stay there?

    Comparing to Poland, are you honestly saying England/Britain is worse?

    I do see your point, and respect your opinion, but perhaps if your messages were a little less disguised as England/Britain bashing, you would have less critics?


  12. Jason Russell says:

    Certainly Scotland is no picnic for immigrants alot of the people here are annoyed at people coming across and “taking” their menial jobs because they themselves passed on a education offered to everyone. but once you explain that there are some people coming across to fill jobs that we cant either threw lack of trained professionals or jobs that scum of the earth doles turn their noses up at you find that they are much less likely to cry foul.

    Im a Scot myself and some of the racist crap my own people come out with is outrageously uniformed (sometimes i correct people if they are just misinformed rather than bigoted).

    but gangs? London maybe. couple of young people on the street and everyones all scared (not helped by the British media’s emulation of the American everything is a Crisis!!!!!!!!!111!!! ).

    for example

    the so called “me” generation is a case of a small vocal minority of idiots on “Reality” TV making themselves seem like the norm rather than the laughing stocks / sad parody’s of really talented people.

  13. Steven Woodruff says:

    working is no pic nic, matters not where. Poles are and will be coming back when they are paid to come back. If one more person in Poland offers me 15 złoty per hour to bust my butt building his big fancy roof, I think I may move to Norway.

  14. Steven Woodruff says:

    And question… Isn’t a Scot really just an Englishman with a bad attitude?

  15. Andrew Anderson says:

    Are you English Steven?

  16. Steven Woodruff says:

    No, American, however, I wish I were a British citizen

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