emperor: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] emperor at 07:15pm on 29/06/2017 under , ,
Ian Hislop is doing history on the TV again, this time "Who Should We Let In?" [available on iPlayer until 27 July], where he looks at how our attitude to immigration changed from the Victorian period where our open door policy was a point of national pride.

It's a disturbingly contemporary account, beginning with antisemitism in London's East End. Early on the press realise that lies about foreigners sell papers (the "Yellow Peril" stories about Liverpool resulted in the city council conducting an inquiry that concluded that the Chinese were in fact model citizens), and it is politically expedient to blame the woes of the poor on aliens.

It's not all depressing - the British took in a quarter of a million Belgians during the first world war, and people put them up in their own homes, rather as some people are now doing with refugees from Syria and other parts of the world. But, as the women who is hosting a Syrian refugee points out, we're a very rich nation and we are taking far fewer refugees than far smaller and poorer countries are.

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