Sunday 27 June 2010

Bye dobre: to było naprawdę dobrze znać możesz.....

.....Or, as we say here: Goodbye: it was REALLY nice to know you.

I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Poles and other Eastern Europeans over the last few years. It seems that everyone has a mump about them. “They come over here taking our jobs”... or as comedian Marcus Brigstocke said: ” ’doing‘ our jobs”.

And of course because they are often good looking and that bit different, with the sexy accent, there are the whinges that they take our women too.

The theory goes that as they will work for the minimum wage, employers will take them on in place of the local labour who have debts to pay, and the Child Support Agency chasing them if they take a job and, as a result, require something in the region of £450 per week to keep them and all their various and sundry offspring to a wide variety of the local female population (and believe me, it’s true).

Of course, around Dundee where the wage paid by most of the factories (except the really good ones like Michelin and Day International, and until they closed down recently, NCR) is the minimum wage or a penny or two above it, and was long before the Eastern Europeans arrived here... and will be long after they are gone, that theory doesn’t quite pan out locally. But I accept that in the big cities where wages are far higher that may be a fair comment.

As for them pinching all our females, I’ve found some soap and water before you splash on the “Coolwater” sometimes works wonders...oh, and clean teeth work too!

So, many people who are not employers will be happy to see them melting off back to Poland now that the misery of living here is greater than the misery of living in an ex-communist country.

But not me.

Oh no.

I live in a street of tenements which is a mixture of owned and 'buy to let' flats. Because of uncertainties, some years ago, over the possibility of a new road going through the area, the place has become run down. So what we have are low rent properties, which, until the Eastern Europeans arrived, were increasingly being rented to ....erm, how shall I put this.... undesirables. Drunks, druggies, people you’d rather never meet never mind live near to. Music poured from open windows, kids ran riot over everything, rubbish was strewn about the street, shouting and screaming and the sounds of murder and mayhem ensued when it appeared one of them had intruded upon the favours of his next door neighbour’s good lady... or the other way round... who knows....who cares?

And the turnover was awesome... but as one set moved out (in the middle of the night), another set, just as repugnant, moved in.

Then along came the Poles. They must have been a godsend to the “buy to renters”. No more moonlight flits. They kept their homes clean, cultivated the back yards and grew vegetables and worked most of the time, so you never heard them... and they actually put their rubbish in the bins provided, like human beings. They didn’t by and large have any thieving children and they had no interest in scoring people’s cars or puncturing their tyres. Life became bearable again.

I expect you can guess what’s happened now that the Eastern Europeans have gone back....


  1. I've met many Poles and all kind and intelligent people. Also many years ago I worked with a Pole and he was fantastic. He was the man who insisted women could do most jobs as man could do and he was right.

    Yes it's sad they've gone home but I wish them all the best. Their replacements here have none of their intelligence or manners - although they too are eastern Europeans. Try my Tesco around 6pm every night. They'd knock me over for a half loaf. It's so bad Tesco's are having a meeting with local farmers who employ them during summer.

    We never had any problem when it was only the Polish who came for seasonal work.

  2. That's terrible SR. We've had people from allo over in my street and never any trouble till we got the Scots back.

    I hope that Tesco sorts the situation. They seem to be in charge of everything these days, so they have much more of a chance of being effective than the police, who in Dundee seem to be really good at being rude to people and drinking tea.

  3. Tris...Very interesting topic. In particular, it's interesting that young people from the ex-communist European countries have, not only good manners, but also a really good work ethic. As far as the work ethic part, I might not have expected that from those who knew a state-run economy.

    As far as taking British jobs and receiving government services, your description is an interesting contrast (probably both similar and different in various ways) to the situation here in the states regarding Mexican workers who come to the states and gladly take jobs that Americans won't do (at least at the wages offered)......and do them well. Here, the crux of the issue are undocumented aliens who illegally cross the southern border from California to Texas and will gladly take very low wages from employers, who are able to pay those low wages in return for not asking too many questions about immigration status.

    As for "foreigners" who may look handsome and interesting to the British ladies, it reminded me of an historical example I read about from World War II. As the American soldiers poured into Britain in advance of the D-Day invasion, they met British ladies. Apparently the Americans seemed somewhat exotically foreign, spoke with an interesting accent, and made more money (at a corresponding military rank) than their British counterparts. So they had more money to spend on their dates when going out on the town. All this put the British lads at a competitive disadvantage. And it was this situation that gave rise to the famous and bitter complaint about the American soldiers being "over paid, over sexed, and over here."

  4. PS: I'm a little unclear as to why, exactly, many of the foreign laborers are now leaving Scotland and the UK. Is it general job cuts, changes in the laws about foreign workers, a seasonal work pattern?

    Here in the states, California is an example of an important seasonal work pattern. Big Media, Television, Movies, Silicon Valley....all are small parts of the California economy compared with Agriculture. And agriculture depends upon the low paid immigrant laborers in the fruit orchards and vegetable fields of the state, which provide the majority of the fruits and vegetables to the entire US, and large world exports.

  5. What on earth will the red top press do with no Poles to blame for broke Britain (in all senses of the word). Sales will plummet if all the foreigners are in their own countries and not here sponging and breaking the law. Opportunities to attack foreigners are not so common when they stay at home and try to protect their own interests as in the case of the BP oil spill (I should point out that the “B” can stand for a number of other words starting with B other than Britain). Doesn’t stop them trying though. But we didn’t see much of Cameron telling Obama what to do at the G8 did we? He was far too busy getting his tongue up the Presidential ass, so much so that when he got back to the hotel that evening Samantha thought it was roller blind stuck to his face.

    I do hope they discussed how Doc Fox is going to be keeping our boys in Afghanistan to finish the job after the US has left. You don’t think so?

    Anyway it will mean plenty jobs for IDS to make the sick and vulnerable go and do instead of sitting around the house dying of cancer they can be out picking Brussels sprouts from 6am to 8pm at 2p a tonne.

  6. I think Danny, that, by and large, immigrants, no matter where they are from, or where they go, are productive. That is because people who will get up off their lazy backsides and go to another country, learn another language (or in the case of Brits, largely force the locals to speak their language), are the kind of people with a bit of get up and go.

    Your own country is an example. A young country made up almost entirely of immigrants, Canada is another, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, etc.

    There are doubtless many Eastern Europeans who are lazy, drug taking, scrounging drunks. In backstreets all over East Europe they will be sitting about smoking breeding and complaining, just like some of our locals do. The ones who come here are the ones with oomph, I guess.

    I suspect that the work ethic may have been forced into them by the communist regimes... you know, you either work hard or we will shoot you and all your family .... No, I’m joking, I know what you mean. Where there was no incentive to work hard, you just worked as much as was needed to get by, but I suspect that the urge to do better is innate, at least in some people, regardless of the political regime under which they live and the incentives on offer.

    (I would repeat ‘by and large’ before anyone gets me by the throat for any of these statements. They are generalizations with masses of deviation from type, and I understand that.)

    Of course we aren’t talking here about illegals. I don’t know that we have many of them in Scotland. Most people, even in the UK, seem to think that Scotland is some dark, dingy, wet dump, and that we live in a poverty stricken, drunken, state with only mountains and lochs... so they never come here.

    The Eastern Europeans are part of the EU as are we, and our stupid UK government decided that it would be a good idea to allow the “accession countries” (those who joined recently from the old communist bloc) access to our jobs markets immediately. Most other countries did not, but the UK is always awkward when it comes to EU matters.

    They are going home because life in the UK, since Gordon Brown, and continuing into the Davnik Camerclegg regime has become so awful that it is better to go back to the East and eat cabbage soup. LOL.

    This leaves us with no plumbers at all... no I tell a lie; there is one old man of 78 who still does some plumbing on a part time basis.

  7. Tris.

    I'm like you and dont except all the hyped negativity over the Polish people in Scotland but I do have one concern and that is the amount that have come over in such a sort space of time.

    Not just in Scotland but all over the UK local councils are being swamped and local services are at breaking point. Hospitals and Schools are finding it dificult to cope with the extra numbers. Just a 2% increse in our population can have a drematic effect on services because we did not plan for such large numbers to come over.

    However most do work and most are law abiding and some of the girls are damn lovely lol.

    My concern is just the amount that have come over in a short space of time, thats all.

    What Subrosa has wrote is also of concern to me. A lot of rubbish has came over from Eastern Europe and Leith is litterd with (well about 6) Romanian beggers on the streets. I don't know how many times I have watch programs like Crime Watch UK and the suspect has been of Latvian or Romanian origin. Clearly we have a problem with some yucky ones that have come across but hats off to the Poles who do seem to be a cut above the rest.

    Tris I would also rather have Polish people living next to me than junkies etc, anyday!!!

    Sorry for my absence, beem on holiday for 3 weeks and the small matter of the world cup lol.

  8. Danny.....Scotland really needs young immigrants. Ours is an aging population and what with all the drunks and druggies of our current young generation, the Poles and Lithuanians, Latvians etc are a welcome addition to the labour pool.

    Poor Mr Camerclegg is between a rock and a hard place. His right wing which instinctively hates anyone who isn’t white and English would like to stop all immigration immediately, and send them all back unless they could trace their ancestry to 1066... (quietly forgetting that they were ....shhhhh don’t say it... French). On the other hand business, which also sees its home with the Tories, is eager to have young, energetic, reliable, first rate employees.... which is where the Eastern Europeans come in.

    In both England and Scotland over the past 30 years, the quality of our own education and training has descended to an ever lower depth, and we are desperate for people who can actually do something.

    LOL yes, I’ve heard the expression... "over paid, over sexed, and over here."... and so you bloody well were!!!!!

  9. Ah yes Munguin.... LOL It’s true, not so much of the red tops which are more concerned about cross dressing cage fighters and talentless tarts with ever increasing size busts (she’s gonna fall over one day), but the Daily Moll and, when it’s not still on the subject of Diana, the Daily Express will have to find another subject for their wrath.

    People can say that it doesn’t really matter but there is a lot of government done on the strength of the headlines of the Daily Mail.

    Talking of the G4000 meeting in Canada... why do we have to pay for them to take their wives on these jaunts, and what are they for in any case. Everyone promises the earth, looks good and then pops off home and forgets all the promises.

    But can you just imagine how Gordon Brown will have been avoiding the news and the papers this weekend with Cameron, or is it Clegg, they all look the same to me, sucking up to Obama. “It should have been me” he will be whining to whatshername....

  10. I fully support both the thrust of this piece and its conclusions having experienced almost precisely the same over the past six or seven years in my quiet town street in South West Wales myself. My Polish neighbours have been and are delightful and much better than the previous lot of scrounging, benefit sponging, semi-criminal locals.

    However, I'd like to add that there could be a slightly wider issue to consider in any discussion about immigration generally, rather than from one particular country or region: can an island that's slightly smaller in area than the state of Oregon really sustain a population of 70+ million people, no matter where they come from or how nice they are?

    If the answer is 'yes' then of course we must fill our boots, and the country, as quickly as possible! There's no time to lose!

    But I have a suspicion that the answer is probably 'no' and if that suspicion is proved valid (perhaps by strains on, and failures of, public services and other tell-tale signs of overpopulation) then we're into far rockier territory altogether, nice, young, sober, clean, desirable Polish immigrants notwithstanding.

    Tough one.

  11. Allan.....
    For sure there are bad ones amongst them, and without a doubt in the areas where there have been large influxes for fruit picking there has been a strain put upon the already stretched, badly run public services. But these people are working and paying taxes, and council taxes, so perhaps the extra income has been useful to the councils.

    I suspect, however, that they may have used it to throw more soirées with free drink for the councillors. In fairness there has been quite large number in Dundee, and I’ve heard no particular complaints from Dundee City Council, which is particularly well known for whinging... As for our local health services... geez, they are awful anyway (doctors’ surgeries where thy consult with their eyes on the clock and a hospital so dirty that you could grow tatties on the floors), so I doubt that we’d have noticed much difference.

    I’m very concerned about Subrosa’s reports too, but I’m wondering why Tesco and the local employers have to deal with crime on such a large scale. What are the polis doing?

    I completely agree that the idiot Blair shouldn’t have let the Eastern Europeans in en bloc, as it were. Other EU member states didn’t but, as usual, nothing was planned here. The silly thing is that EU citizens can’t vote in Westminster elections, so it didn’t even do him any good electorally.

    We all missed you. How was the holiday? Where did you go? Not South Africa?

    Did you get a tan?

  12. Hello Denverthen...

    We don't often have the pleasure of your company... :-)

    I agree. Of course the UK can't support 70 million. We don't have work for them. We have no manufacturing, we make nothing to earn our corn, except of course financial services, and that has taken a beating.

    The trouble about all the Poles going home I feel is that we are losing the wrong people. We need productive, clean, nice, hardworking people with skills and abilities. We need craftsmen: plumbers, slaters, roofers, bricklayers, plasterers, joiners.... and we don’t have any.

    If we in Scotland are going to have a tourist trade we need to have polite, hard working people in our hotels, who at least look as if they give a stuff. You know, the type who give you a smile when you arrive and look up from their computer (like the Welcome Host training package suggests). (I recently stayed at a really expensive hotel in Inverness, where for what it cost for one night I could have had 3 nights in Paris and the staff were just appalling: rude, mind blowingly incompetent and totally uninterested in the job.)

    I’m not saying we don’t have skilled people, but we don’t have enough.

    Can we send the druggies and the baby factories to Poland, and keep the Poles? LOL

  13. I have mixed feelings about this post.

    My main view is that we need to reduce immigration, especially of skilled workers - because it reduces the incentive to train up the unemployed in the UK. It becomes just another trade off to 'keep' a certain % of unemployed, and leave them on the side lines, so long as you can cream off the talented and skilled from a foreign state.

    It is not sustainable, and we are now realising this.

    Therefore, less immigration of skilled may have the beneficial side effect of compelling more focus on training our own population more.

    However, as I am an ideological Europeanist, any limitation on European immigration into the UK is unacceptable. Therefore, I have mixed feelings.

    Yet to be fair, there are plenty of good reasons for encouraging more Polish and skilled EU workers to enter the UK.

    You covered some Tris, about the contribution they can make to local communities. And the wage depreciation while true in the cities, is often exaggerated.

    Perhaps the only solution is to end our preferential arrangements to the commonwealth, and ofter an 'EU first' programme for labour immigration?

  14. "Danny.....Scotland really needs young immigrants. Ours is an aging population"

    Has it not been in growth for the last two years? I may be wrong on this.

  15. We pay for British born and bred citisens to spend their life on the dole(The vile Torys are offering a reduced rate but are still happy to pay them)

    Meanwhile we import foreign labour to do the available work who then send their remittances back home and spend very little in the UK.

    Also as you lot do not do 'proper' work you obviously are unaware large chunks of manufacturing have relocated to eastern Europe(Poland etc).

    so they get all our work in the UK and the rest is sent back to their homelands.

    meanwhile we pay to keep 'OUR' people idle who would with some real help rather work and pay UK taxes.

  16. Mr Mxyzptlk,

    You do have a good point there [bet you never thought I'd say that!].

    Osborne proposes to spend 32.4% of the 2010-11 state spending on 'social security and services'. It rather reinforces your point, and we do need to train our domestic Brits more, and realise that we cannot go on spending ever larger chunks of taxpayers money on keeping people idle. It is not a sustainable trade off, import skilled workers, and keep the unemployed on the dole.

    They deserve the change to get back into skilled employment, many of them would love more opportunities.

  17. Hi tris. I was just thinking that I don't spend anywhere near enough time commenting - and too much time ranting. Good points all all, btw. But your coup de grace made be titter a little bit:

    "Can we send the druggies and the baby factories to Poland, and keep the Poles? LOL"

    Not sure they'd want them. Perhaps we should just send them back to school. Ah, yeah,

    What a bloody mess.

  18. I see your point Dean. It has been amply demostrated by the footballers from south of the border. They have few good ones of English origin in their teams because the premier league (which is nothing to do with sport and everything to do with big business) finds it cheaper and easier to import talent that has been trained by foreign clubs. Their Italian manager can see that!

    On the other hand waiting for a plumber for as long as it will take us to train's going to mean a lot of leaky pipes.


    Rock ====== Scotland ===== Hard place

  19. Dean: Even if it has been in growth, it's a long wait for them to grow up......

  20. I see you got out of the bed on the wrong side today Niko.

    Number one: It was your beloved Labour Party that brought in all the immigrants; it was them who allowed eastern Europeans in, when many other EU countries did not.

    Number two: The immigration crisis is in England. Don't fall into the trap of assuming what you read or see on teh BBC has anything to do with Scotland. It doesn't.

    Some of us are very much aware of the fact that during Mrs Thatcher's, Mr Major's, Mr Blair's and Mr Brown's watch the amount of industrial work has reduced hugely. It's gone to India, China, Hungary....

    That reminds me of a tale about a woman who was manager of a factory here in Dundee (shut down about 5 years ago). She was asked by her employers to go set up a factory out in Hungary. She went out and worked on the plans, and was costing work stations and tools for a certain output, based on her experience of making the product in Scotland.

    The company's Hungarian partners were agahst at the number of work stations she was installing... they reckoned they could about half the number and achieve the required output...

    The difference between Hungarian and Scottish labour. It gives me no pleasure to say this. That's just how it was.

  21. I simply don't know what he is going to do with them Dean. There are no jobs, confidence has not treturned yet. Unemploymnent is still on teh rise and his plans will make people redundant.

    He's either very brave ... or very stupid.

  22. Denverthen. You'll always be welcome to comment here....

    Well have to educate them properly starting now, and stop the politically correct nonsense.

    ....Now are you sure that we couldn't just slip a few in to Poland at a time under cover or darkness......

    They'd never work out where they had come from.... most of them barely speak English (our thugs I mean).

  23. Funny it shows how widespread the problem with neds and junkies etc is in Scotland Tris.

    In my area here in Paisley most of the tenements are housing assocciation with a cluster of council ones in the middle. We have all the same problems re the scum that you have had there, junkies dealing drugs and partying with loud music at all hours, young people who think they can party for days on end with loud music, close doors being kicked in etc. We have a major problem with bins overflowing in some of the backdoors here because the sum are too lazy to take them out and they totally ignore the recycle bins apart from putting their general rubbish in them.

    We are glad we got Polish people in our close - it has been very peaceful since they came. At present we have a couple staying and they seem to have no intention of going home.

    All the junkies, alkies and scum should be sent to some of the uninhabited islands off the coast and not allowed to return until they dry out etc or agree to become a civilised member of the community.

  24. Hey Billy:

    Nice to see you at the republic... you’re very welcome.

    And I sympathise with you. It's like living with pigs, but not nearly as nice. Filthy, dirty, smelly, selfish, drunken scum.

    When the council decided that the bin men should have to bring bins for the back yards we were left instructions about putting our own bins out. Needless to say the scum didn't, or left them out on the street all week, so the council put these great big ‘Eurobins’ in the street instead. Now they drop the rubbish by the side of them because they can't be bothered opening them, or they leave them open because they can't be bother to close them, and the cats get in, and the birds get in (seagulls, great huge ones that scare the kids) and when it rains the water gets in and makes a disgusting rubbish soup which smells because the lids are off the bins. There are mattresses, televisions, washing machines and any old furniture left at the side of the bins.

    It's like living in a rubbish tip.

    The Eastern Europeans were polite and clean, and their rubbish was taken out in black bags and placed in the bins... I want them back.

    Lucky you that you are living next to them....

    Your island idea sounds possible, but I fear they would all just go completely feral.... even more than they are now, and that’s saying something!

  25. Tris.

    I agree and most immigrants do work and pay tax but reports do show that net immigration to the UK has made little impact to the country. If every immigrant was a skilled worker, ie doctor plumber etc, the sort of people who we do need to attract and retain, then I think our economy would grow and benefit.

    The problem is that many immigrants come over to work but also decide to bring over members of their family who do not work and it can lead to a negative economic value.

    I'm in favour for immigration but would rather see it directed at areas of skills shortages.

    Tris only went to Newcastle, not quite South Africa lol. Was off for 3 weeks and went up and down to Newcastle with some mates at the weekends.

  26. Well of course Allan, it would be good if we could just have skilled people coming. I found that in hospital last year only a couple of the doctors was native Scottish, and without the immigrant medical staff we would be sunk. But it's mainly the plumber and joiners and people like that that we don't seem to have here...

    Poland must be glad all the Polish plumbers are going home; the place must be flooded by now.

    It seems many of our skilled people like welders and fabricators have gone to Holland and Germany where the wages are better...and where they still have these old fashioned things called factories where, so my granny tells me, they make things.... ho hum....

    Well Newcastle isn't exactly South Africa, but it's abroad.... and quite exotic, I've heard...

  27. Tris.

    Another skill that many of the Polish girls bring to Scotland is, beauty. Some of the chicks are are not to bad lol.

  28. That's very true Allan. They have fantastic bone structure and the high cheek bones that make them look really beautiful. And the polish accent... or any easter European accent.... weak knees stuff mate!