RACISM IN THE MERSE
? Perhaps not yet but for the first time that Huttonian can recall the Berwickshire leads
on the story of ‘Influx of Immigrants is causing problems’ This is the findings of an ‘alcohol related crime conference’ (Double gins all round?) in Berwick. It is mainly the Portuguese who were the ‘forriners’ in recent years working in the fish processing industry near Duns and but now, according to Inspector Ken Simpson, the Portuguese have been joined by a ‘lot of Poles and Lithuanians’ I wonder if these include the female plumbers about which there was much speculation in the summer. The apparent main grievance about these EU blow ins is that they take ‘0ur’ jobs and ‘our’ housing. The police seem to believe that they have also contributed to raising the crime statistics ‘ such as alcohol related problems, drink driving, carrying knives and domestic violence’ A lot of this is of course urban myth combined with instinctive prejudice-the fact is that Johnny Foreigner does jobs (like fish processing) which locals won’t touch and low paid agricultural ones which are increasingly hard to fill. Now they are coming in with their families they of course need housing on the same terms as us natives as is their right as EU citizens. So the sensible message from this conference was ‘lets make these people welcome and help them to integrate’ The truth is that around here has been largely ethnically homogenous for yonks and some of us are now reflecting attitudes too common else where in the UK that foreigners, even our fellow EU citizens, are a threat, a cause of many problems and in no way a solution to others. It bears watching-and the search for a Polish distaff plumber continues.