Beneath the varnish of civilisation
The recent manslaughter verdict at Preston Crown Court against a gang master employing illegal Chinese immigrants, 21 of whom drowned at Morcambe Bay in February 2005 whilst cockle picking, has highlighted again the suffering and hardship people go through in order to try and make a better life for themselves in the West. The same holds true for the boat people who drowned off the shores of Australia or the refugees freezing to death on Eurostar trains during the last leg of their journey from France and England . Prior to their departure they will usually have paid large sums of money to organised crime syndicates in their home countries who promise to get them to their destination of choice, money which they will not be able to recover even after years of hard labour.
Sadly, they all fell for the glossy advertising which presents the countries of the first and second world as having streets paved with gold and perpetuates the Hollywood rags to riches myth. By the time they discover the truth it is far too late for regrets and a life of near-slavery begins. Western governments and media have been very successful in presenting their own countries as the pinnacle of civilisation and everywhere else as unsafe and backwards. Below this thin veneer of self-glorification lies quite a different reality.
A cursory look at any of the free local newspapers distributed to households in most British towns tells the story eloquently. Here is a headline selection from my local advertiser, covering the week's events for an average sized English town: "School wins legal battle" – "Schools hit as staff go out on strike" – "Appeal set to be lodged over murder convictions" – "Hunt for attacker" – "Drunks in court hit back at allegations" "Youngsters get frank advice on drugs" – "Newspaper's call ends ordeal for family" (this relates to a family who've been living in a council house behind boarded up windows for over half a year) - "Woman robbed on the redway" - "Woman dead in bathroom".
Of course, there is some good news, too: A dog who can twist his tongue, a promise of broadband connectivity for the town, some dancers who had a great time at a newly opened club, announcement of an extension to the consultation exercise about building expansion and reports that Royal Mail will open a new sorting office. All in all, however, it does not sound like the place you would want to go to, and this is one of the newer and more affluent towns in the country and a lot tidier than, for example, the capital, London.
Of course, one could argue that newspapers sell copy by sensationalising and that their headlines do not adequately reflect reality. This is a fair point except that they could not report events if they didn't happen. No matter how sensational the headline is phrased, a murder is a murder, youngsters wouldn't need drug advice if there wasn't an addiction problem, and school staff wouldn't go on strike if they were happy with their working conditions. Maybe a translated summary of local headlines for the most popular destinations made available for free at the British embassies around the world would put a sudden end to immigration. But then tourists might be tempted away to Africa and Asia instead, and we can't allow this to happen. Besides, without turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, the artificially sustained British economy would soon collapse.