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Friday, 1 July 2011

It's Immigration, innit

It was not long ago that the UK construction industry all took a Summer holiday at the same time. The annual August shut-down worked well; builders' merchants, suppliers, concrete batch plants all shut down at the same time, and even the Architects behaved themselves and flew off to the Algarve for a fortnight. The pressure from most developers these days is to keep going, and no programme I've seen in recent years has shown a Summer break at all. Which is bad news for contractors whose sites are being built by Portuguese labour. You see, the Portuguese all go home at the end of July, and return at the start of September. All over, there will be pressure on many migrant workers in the UK to go home to help with the harvest - whether this is grapes, wheat or roots. Tsk. You didn't think they were going to spend a month on the beach, did you? 

These lads, living in crowded multi-occupied slums while here, remitting their earnings home, living parsimoniously, will go home to listen to granny nagging about the dilapidations that need fixing, the goat that got loose, the bad knee, the cost of everything, the muck-heap that needs spreading and a new hole that needs digging for the privy, whether working in a bar makes the granddaughter a putana and why no one is there to do stuff for them. And when they get back here, they'll have to work sixty hours a week to catch up on lost time on site. And they will do. 

Iain Duncan-Smith may cry foul as loudly as he likes, but which sane employer would swap these lads for their British counterparts; soft, lazy, lippy, hungover, chippy, skiving, thieving whining asthmatics. Welfarism has robbed the working class not just of their independence but of all resilience, all hardness. Hard doesn't mean getting bladdered and fighting outside Witherspoons, it means grafting six days a week in gruelling and demanding labour for low reward. It spurs a hunger and thirst for education as a way out, it engenders a self-sufficient but interdependent network of clan, caste and kinship, and it recognises Merit and will fight for an 'equal go' (as the Australians have it). And we've lost it. 


Greg Tingey said...

Excuse me - but - bollocks.
"British" emplyers take on foreign workers, because their English isn't that good, and they are a lot easier to cheat, when it comes to working terms-and-conditions.
In the same way, as given a choice between a marginally-qualified 25-year old, and well-qualified 40-year old, Brit employers will go for the 20-year old, for the same reasons.

Speaking as one who got his mature M.Sc. in Engineering at age 47/8, and who was NEVER able to use it, and was only in occasional, semi-casual employment from then until I reached 65 last year, I can tell you that there are plenty of people who would like to work, but ....
Oh, and I don't live in an unemployment black-spot, I live in the "Essex" part of the London Postal Districts, so you would have thought that finding work for someone with my qualifications would be easy, wouldn't you?

Note how well the British Motor manufacturing industry is doing, now that the top management IS NOT BRITISH?
Should give you a clue.

No, we have NOT lost it.

Budgie said...

Good god, I must go and shoot myself - I agree with dear greg tingey!!!?!!

My son was apprenticed and worked in the construction industry. He was routinely cheated out of overtime pay. Additionally his pay was (illegally) sequestered by his employers for supposed misdemeanors.

Was this because he was no good? No. He was well regarded enough to be routinely sent out on jobs on his own, with a company van and labourer at 18. I know how hard he worked because I acted as his 'mate' on occasions.

He was so disgusted he set up his own business at 21. He now works offshore earning twice what I have ever done.

Nor is this sort of experience confined to him. In a different industry, my experience of British management is almost universally one of incompetence, vindictiveness and playing politics in equal measure. Like their politician and apparatchik compatriots their sole goal seems to be power and money preferably by cheating and corruption.

AS g-t said, Raedwald - bollocks.

James Higham said...

Welfarism has robbed the working class not just of their independence but of all resilience, all hardness.

There are always good market reasons to employ those from o/s.

Gallovidian said...

The British people have been the victims of a small powerful group who have set out to despoil this country and degrade its people. The plan has succeeded and now you blame the victims? If you had grown up on an estate, had a crap education and been told every day by those scum on television how worthless you were, maybe you too would despair.

Stop picking the low fruit and aim for those in charge.

Blue Eyes said...

Dare I say it but I think both sides are right. Socialism has destroyed both the "work ethic" of those with low skills AND the opportunity for those with ambition to better themselves through education and training.

At the same time many many British "managers" are stuck with a very Victorian idea that their employees are their servants and should do their bidding without complaint. Most of us downstairs have moved on to a more equal view of the world where a team works together to achieve its goals irrespective of rank.

As Greg above points out, it is no coincidence that many of the best performing companies in the UK are managed by foreigners.

Anonymous said...

Strewth! Where do I start?

I went into enginnering at age 15 and in those days, the early 70's, we still had a reputation for hard work. Blokes would be at the lathe or milling machines 60-70 hours a week - they pursued the overtime to pay the mortgage and boy, those bosses sure did know it?

England had over 2 million skilled engineering craftsman the year I started, in every trade imaginable. That's a lot of dignity spread amongst the working class. The kind of feeling you get after a 4 or 5 year apprenticeship on shit wages and you qualify, become a man at 21 and the ship of society is steady due to so many men with champion self-respect.

Ready to meet that girl, get married, settle down and earn that overtime money to build a home and feed the kids. I knew hundreds of men like that at my firm. I'll concede that sounds boring on the surface but it's what made England the 'workshop of the world', where in 1950 25 per cent of all the world's manufactured goods came from Britain.

It's not rocket science figuring out where it all went wrong. You start with simple things like working class dignity and the sort of men that produces - like a young lad who gets a maroon or green beret and becomes an outstanding citizen, channeled by his dignity.

The politicians (Thatcher, et al) threw all that away, the Germans didn't. Look where they are and where we are. So we can't compete on wages so what are the Germans doing with a better standard of living in the 21st century? The Germans just kept on getting better.

It's too late now, the skills base is gone. The men who trained me did their time before, during and after the war. They were top quality tradesmen, who themselves were trained by men drawn from our heritage as the first industrialized nation on earth. We were sold out 30 years ago by useless management and a political elite more interested in abtract theory than maintaining a nation.

The LibLabCon, a bunch of treasonous criminals who should all be hung.


Blue Eyes said...

Hmm, didn't demarcation, closed shops, union militancy, persistent strikes, poor quality production and insane wage demands rather help things along?

Anonymous said...

They didn't have those problems in Germany so where's your point? No good cutting your nose off to spite your face. You face problems or you go under. The politicians chose the latter, Mr Blue Eyes.


Ian R Thorpe said...

When I worked as an information technology consultant it was hell, two hour lunches were de rigeur, I had to stay away from home, in five star hotels sometimes in foreign hellholes like Paris, Milan and Stockholm and I had to subsist on daily rates that most people would have been glad to earn in a week.

Earlier in my career however, I put in the70 hour weeks and even earlier I worked in a factory doing a heavy, dirty job to get back on my feet after redundancy came hot on the heels of marriage.

And all through my career I met English workers who were willing to put the time in, to work in their own time at improving skills and who were as good a team of workers as could be found anywhere.

What happened? EU regs on maximum working weeks, restrictive employment laws, bureaucrats always eager to interpret guidelines as rules and revenue agencies that declared war on enterprise, ambition and hard work.

And then there were the spineless, politically correct, illusion dwelling politicians. Don't get me stated on the politicians ...

Bill Quango MP said...

I don't think you're assessment of why we are where we are is correct at all.

If I had to blame any one thing then I suppose education. Not the technical education but the discipline of attending school and learning to learn.

In my low skilled retail sector, we will all take a European over an indigenous any day of the week.

For all the reasons that everyone already knows. They are polite. They turn up. They are happy. They like to learn. Having already made the difficult and wrenching decision to leave the comfort zone of the home country they are mentally ready to face work and to achieve.

I would say 90% of every European I have ever employed would be considered good workers who i would welcome back. Maybe all of Europe's drop-outs are still in their home countries?

It's not uncommon for a UK school leaver to turn up to interview in the most casual of clothes, chewing gum, answering phone during the interview. They have so very little idea of what is expected.

The amount of times I've sat with a young person in their 1st week to tell them if they can't arrive on time they won't be here next week, and had to listen to how its the buses fault, or the tube or the alarm clock.

They must have got away with this many, many times, because there is a genuine surprise on their faces when its spelled out that the next time is the final time.

I heard a newly qualified teacher yesterday saying how good she was at her job and how hard she'd worked. This is her first year. 'I deserve this salary and pension'
Says who?

That's true of much of what I get to listen to. 'I deserve a promotion.'
Yet when asked for the evidence its often wafer thin. They've been there a while. They did something good once. They turn up a lot.

Its not universal but its a truth.
Why take a risk on a UK school leaver, who has at best a 50% chance of working out, when there is a European, or Commonwealth or Asian/African student who has better than 80% chance of working out.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, the same is true in other European countries, the home grown dregs piss everyone off and those UK school leavers who choose to go to the continent (as they can actually speak another European language) are welcomed as you say.

Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely seething with rage at what was done to the manufacturing and engineering base of the UK. No country has had such a base, and no country has been as careless, to the bounds of criminality, in destroying it.

I take my hat off to Germany. Germany could have destroyed its industrial base as a token of atonement for WWII. Did it? Heck it did. Germany is now the preeminent industrial power of the world, outstripping by orders of magnitude that of China.

By around 2000, the die was cast- Britain had already gone past the point of no return, as the skilled technical base of the UK was retired, made redundant, or on the point of retiring. There was no continuity from the apprentice to the skilled senior machinist. You cant import that continuous line by immigration. Once you destroy the line, it stays destroyed. Its inevitable once the manufacturing base is destroyed.

Anonymous said...

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