ISSUES,INSIGHTS AND COLOURFUL MOMENTS-FROM THE DESK OF AN ENGLISH AUTHOR.
The Beginning of Change, or the Beginning of the End?
Only recently, does it seem, that we have become aware that the UK is not the only nation suffering, and I do not use the words lightly, a not exactly welcome penetration of foreign peoples, loosely called immigrants - a word coined from the Latin immigro, to change abode - but more specifically in the U.K. case, those with no legal identity, of which some, are patently spurious economic migrants. This is not an anti-immigrant attitude, but a concern for the motive behind such obfuscation.
Historically, there is something remarkably familiar about this disconcerting event, possibly because those with a curiosity on the retrospective view of the foundation of our history will consider it something of a hangover from a probably, no longer extant, curriculum that featured Ostrogoths and Visigoths along with the barbarian invasions. Indeed, searching your memory will possibly remind you that the Gothic incursions of the 3rd century was not the first. Britain was already stuffed full of miscellaneous immigrant tribes with names like Iceni, Parisi and Brigantes. We were not alone. Northern Europe was already absorbing the fallout from Frankish and Saxon invasions, along with others, across the face of the continent. At the same time the oriental races were biting the toe of Italy and the Phoenicians had established themselves in Spain. It seemed as though everywhere, in one way or another, was ‘up for grabs’ by some unwelcome guests! If one could see Europe in these early centuries, they would witness the massive to and thro and turmoil of numerous indigenous races. It led to defensive walls being built, not just around cities, but across nations - the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall come instantly to mind, constructed to halt the unwelcome flow of aggressive migration. The grass, it appears, has always been greener on the other side of the fence.
However, as my history teacher emphasised, this melting pot of civilisation was of an empirical nature - something of a messy learning curve for future nations. Yet out of the earlier Gallic wars, possibly the greatest leader in human history materialised - Julius Caesar, began laying the foundations of a civilisation all of Europe was to inherit, either at first hand or filtered - that which came to be known as the Roman Empire. Though we all speak a native language of our own, Europeans can, because of this shared experience, all soon feel essentially at home virtually everywhere in Europe. We have, after all, an inclusive shared history. This was further enforced - a justifiable word - by the Teutonic dynasty of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire that brought an end to the Dark Ages in c. A.D.8oo. Rome might be no more, but notably left behind, from Russia to Greece, from Scotland to Spain, the indelible genius of the Christian church that provided the philosophical glue holding disparate countries together. This was so ingrained, that even under modern dictators, whose barbarism was the same as of old, that basic structure of a Romanised society remained.
That is probably about to be tested once again. ‘The grass being greener’, has finally travelled beyond a European orientated world. A people, or peoples, who do not share this inclusive history have learnt enough to visualise a world more accommodating, more comfortable, prosperous, and very often, safer than the one they have been born into. Only a narrowly accessed sea - almost a vast lake - separates the Asian and African masses of the Middle East and Northern Africa from the four European countries that make up Europe’s southern Mediterranean fringe, Spain, France, Italy and Greece. In 2022 an estimated 500,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea, nearly half of that number into France. This massive movement of people has been even more easily facilitated on the American land mass where Mexico meets the United States and it doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to realize that 'Mr Trump's wall' could be no real barrier if South American migrants undertook the short sea route from Ensenada to San Diego or Havana to Florida.
From our perspective in Europe, the majority of these people are economic migrants which, if they follow a well-established legal route, could still apply for entry into a majority of European countries. That they do not, suggests a clandestine reason for their motivation in gaming the system. Their original exit might have been dangerous but once on European soil there is no reason why a safe and legal access could not be available. What is plainly obvious, the methods so far in aiming to stem this flood, have been a complete failure. Perhaps the fear of being sent back to a brutal environment they would rather not reveal is a genuine factor in some few cases, but for the vast majority it is plainly a case of opportunity, one in which they are helped in Europe by a misguided coterie of poseurs who, through a narrow prism of goodwill, are affecting a benevolent nature. It is of considerable concern, as apparently there are many millions of human beings in this category of immigrants, and they will only come to nations where they have a good chance of being successful. As for some rather obvious reason, migrants do not seem to gravitate towards China or Russia, that means the West! At the present rate, if the migration continues, by 2050 the U.K. population will have increased by c.1.3 million. Have we got room for them all, and when will this burden become excessive? The answer is “No” and “We Don’t Know”. We can however hazard a guess, that as history suggests, it will eventually be violent, and the change taking place will not resemble what came before. The cake will not have the same ingredients in that this new invasion does not share our common culture and the massive cost will eventually distort a nation’s economy and usher in decline. As a historian mentioned of a citizen, “In Greece, if crops run short, he must steal, fight or emigrate.” It was ever so. The only relief for us, if not our grandchildren, is that the cake will be an extremely long time in the baking!
Perhaps a hundred years, if the Roman Empire is anything to go by, so it is well to remember that ultimately the empire was held together by a professional army enabling Caesar to extend its frontier to the Rhine, thereby keeping its foreign inhabitants in check. The one alarming factor that became increasingly evident from the reign of Augustus, and struck a warning bell, was the fall in the birth rate, along with a fall in the desire to have large families. By AD 400 the blood of Greek, Asiatic, Punic and Iberian had mingled with the citizens of Italy and its armies were most notably officered by Germans. The character of the troops who had served in the Punic and Sabine wars was no longer observable. Over time this led to a reliance on unreliable foreign troops unable to stop the massive migration of Gothic and Islamic nations that were destined to change the face of the Roman Empire. By the middle of that century the Latin world had become a distant memory.
We can take succour in the fact that such things do not happen overnight. Nevertheless, we perhaps should not sleep easy in our beds, ignoring the irrational forces camped outside the bedroom window!