BY RICHARD HEATH
I was thumbing through the BBC News app and came across an article called “Slough: What is it like to live in an ‘immigration town’?” The article was tagged simply under ‘Brexit’. It was an article to entice us in to watching a Panorama episode about Brexit Britain (and how we all became horrid racists on the morning of 24th June, I expect. I haven’t watched it).
I live close to Slough and thought, “Oh boy, this’ll be interesting!” and eagerly clicked it.
To my disappointment, it’s a classic piece of TV-tax funded anti-Brexit propaganda. There is no other way to describe it. Uncontrolled immigration = good. Brexit = bad. The white British people in Slough (who are officially a minority there) are simply too stupid or bigoted to understand what’s good for them. That’s why so many of them have moved away despite Slough being a veritable Utopia. So say the almighty BBC.
Now, I don’t think it’s the so-called impartial state broadcaster’s job to throw propaganda at us simply because they don’t like the result of the EU referendum, but that’s not my main bone of contention with this article.
I’m even happy to gloss over the fact that the quotes being used to imply that white Brits in Slough are stupid are from 10 years ago.
No, I’m taking umbrage with something else about it.
I am currently in the process of selling my house, a couple of miles away from Slough, to move back to Cornwall. So naturally, part of that is going on Zoopla to check out the competition.
“This one’s bigger than ours. Bigger garden too… and cheaper!” I call out to my wife in despair. Have we over-valued our house? Do we have less equity than we thought? She walks over to take a look.
“Ah, but it’s in Slough.” she says, pointing at the location before walking off. Silly Rich.
So why is this? Is it because white British people like me (although my Mum was born and grew up in France, to Italian parents) are racist and don’t want to live in an ‘immigrant town’ because of Polish bread displacing good old Kingsmill, as the BBC so nastily implies?
All you have to do is click on the ‘local info for Slough’ that accompanies Zoopla listings to get the real reason. The crime stats are eye-watering. Look at this graph, which compares the crime in Slough to the national average.
There is twice the national average of physical violence. Three times the average of robbery and theft from a vehicle, almost twice as much theft of the vehicle itself and two and a half times as much domestic burglary. (It also has a higher than average number of Guardian and Independent readers – perhaps the most serious crime of all!).
Now compare it to Cornwall, from where I hail. The difference is striking.
Needless to say, the BBC makes no mention of this. But everyone knows about it. If you live close by you also know that people from Slough have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, as well as being arrested for terror offences.
You’ll probably also remember when Slough was heat-mapped from an aircraft and it was found that thousands of people were living in sheds in back gardens there. Naturally, the local Labour administration’s reaction was to seek to charge them council tax.
Factor in extra stuff like the horrendous traffic, inconsiderate drivers and aircraft noise from Heathrow that’s only likely to get worse, and you understand why the clear temptation for long-time residents is to cash in on the recent house-price boom in the area and move somewhere cheaper and safer. It has nothing to do with immigrants.
Then again, the BBC article accidentally admits this at the end, and that’s the real story here. They try to spin it that migrants are still moving to Slough #DespiteBrexit, but the real story is that they’re moving there #DespiteSloughNotReallyBeingAllThatNice
The article talks about a recently-arrived Spanish couple who instantly found work in Slough:
They are from Seville in southern Spain… a city where almost a third of the population is unemployed – he faced losing his home… “Our situation was so desperate, we had nothing to lose by coming here.”
So there you have it. That’s the real story here. Life in EU countries like Spain – add to that Portugal, Greece, Italy, France, the list goes on – is so desperate due to widespread unemployment and increasing poverty, that the UK is very attractive; particularly a place like Slough where there are plenty of jobs to walk into.
It was clearly meant to be a typical BBC anti-Brexit article, but with a little extra thought it was actually a pro-Brexit article. It demonstrates that even relatively high-crime areas of the UK are more attractive to live in than the Eurozone. If that doesn’t tell us that we’re right to get away from that train-wreck of a political project and show countries that there is a better alternative, I don’t know what does.