Sadly, I think farage was probably right

(214 Posts)
MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 08:21:22

Romanians next door

I know the right minded middle classes on Mumsnet will think his comments outrageous but among people I know in less affluent areas where this is actually happening (rather than naice white British areas where it's less likely to be a real "problem") it would cause concern.

A few doors from here we have a Lithuanian family (not the same thing at all I know but East Europeans often lumped together). The children go to school with mine and they are a lovely family but among the other neighbours they are viewed very much with suspicion - one calls the police every time they have friends visiting because "they must be up to no good when that many of "them" get together"

So whilst I don't agree with Farage, I hope I'd take any new neighbour as I found them, I do think he's probably right when he says "most" people would be concerned and with some grounds as Romanian gangs are responsible for a lot of crime.

Obviously the man's an idiot and a dangerous one at that but sadly, I think he is talking the same language as a lot of people on the UK and not allowing factual things to be said just strengthens their feeling that white British people are losing all their rights while immigrants are untouchable.

Tanith Mon 19-May-14 08:38:42

It's the specification of "Romanian", though. Other nationalities, including our own, have criminal gangs. He should be concentrating on the criminal gangs aspect, not their nationality.

Keith Vaz has a point. Exactly the same concerns were made about Asians in the 60s and "those blacks" in the 50s.

MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 09:07:45

Absolutely Tanith, I'm not saying the majority would be right to be concerned. Simply that it is true that they would be. Denying anyone the right to voice those concerns makes the problem bigger because they feel that "they" are preventing them from speaking.

DenzelWashington Mon 19-May-14 10:45:08

not allowing factual things to be said just strengthens their feeling that white British people are losing all their rights while immigrants are untouchable

The problem is establishing tow hat degree any of this is factual, and not prejudice. All these things were said in the 1950s about African and African-Carobbean immigrants. They weren't true then. They may or may not be true now, but 'most people would be concerned and with some grounds as Romanian gangs are responsible for a lot of crime' is not evidence, it's bare assertion.

White British people are not losing any rights. To say so is ridiculous. Immigrants are not untouchable. The 'system'-whether that be the criminal justice system, housing and benefits system, and many others, does not work as it should. That means many people of all ethnicities get to take the piss for far too long before being brought to book, if at all. That is not by any measure the same as being 'untouchable'.

niceguy2 Mon 19-May-14 12:48:33

I'm not convinced that "Most" people would be concerned. I agree that "Some" people will be concerned regardless of what nationality and regardless of any logic.

Basically the acid test is this. Would your neighbour have called the police if it were a German family inviting their friends round instead?

If the answer is yes then all is well (except neighbour needs to get a grip). If the answer is no then he/she is a racist.

AndHarry Mon 19-May-14 13:10:26

I have Romanian neighbours. So far, their crimes have included completely redoing their front garden so that mine looks decidedly unkempt, spending an entire weekend putting up a fence (for free) that benefits 4 houses other than their own, and giving my children Easter eggs that I ate. Yes I am concerned but only because they're far better neighbours than I am!

BuzzardBird Mon 19-May-14 13:12:58

That is lovely smile

Trinovantes Mon 19-May-14 13:21:44

I'm not middle-class, but I do live in London. I'm sure there's plenty of people about who are total idiots about Romanians, or whoever else becomes the scapegoat-of-the-moment. That's why it's up to us to put them straight when we get nudge-nudge-wink-wink comments about "those people" (whoever those people might be) from other people, whether in the playground at pickup time, from our own families, or from the bloke in the corner shop. It's easy to be embarrassed about (politely, and without a fuss) challenging stupid stuff our friends, family and neighbours say, but if you don't, they'll think you share their views. I'm not advocating shouting RACIST NUTJOB at them (however tempting it is), but just asking questions and pointing out inaccuracies when people are talking utter bollocks and expecting you to go along with it.

squizita Mon 19-May-14 13:27:52

AndHarry Ditto. Except I never got any eggs! ;)

As a child of immigrants it winds me up, hearing the same old record that got my dad/his siblings bullied at school to the point he would hide his true accent/culture, and my maternal side labelled potential terrorists in the 70s-80s purely on their name (they were/are all employed from the day they left school/college, and utterly respectable in every way, I hasten to add).

But I hear the most shocking stuff from people. Some so brainwashed they'll say it in the pub or cafe not realising an Eastern European or Muslim friend/colleague is right there mortified (because in their mind, they don't 'read' that 'normal' person as in the group they villify).

MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 13:28:13

Exactly Trinovantes but the "news" is about a terrible thing one idiot said, rather than addressing the fears, interviewing people like AndHarry who have a good story to tell, or providing stats that show actually the fears are unfounded.

If people were allowed to express their fears then "we" could argue against them but they're not, they just get called racist for expressing something they are genuinely feeling.

AndHarry, what is the cultural mix where you live and how did you and you neighbours feel when the Romanian family first moved in? i.e. when they were unknown, different and a possible threat, rather than now when all that has been disproved?

Puzzledandpissedoff Mon 19-May-14 13:36:26

FWIW the Metropolitan Police apparently released "arrests by nationality" under FOI laws - link below. It's true that the Romanian figure is very high in relation to their total numbers, but of course it would be ridiculous to suggest that means ALL Romanians are criminals

AShadowStirsWithin Mon 19-May-14 13:37:26

Do people actually think like this? Really? So if a Romanian family moved into a house people would actually worry about criminal gangs? I find that as ridiculous as saying that a French family moving in would be wearing stripey jumpers and berets. Romania is a big country full of lots of different people. Just like every other country. Germany had the Nazis, Somaiia has pirates, but that doesn't mean that every person from every country with even the slightest dubious past or present should be viewed with suspicion. That way madness lies. If people are really handwringing about the neighbours because they are of a nationality that has gangs then they need to get a grip. Are we going to be worried about Italians aswell because they might be Mafia? Utterly ridiculous and designed once again to whip up media based hysteria about those "other" than us.

Unfortunately, what the "it's not racist it's just what I really think" brigade think are often people who are… racist.

So then the question becomes do we want to live in a society where racist people are enabled in their perceived right to spout their ill-informed (well Daily Mail informed) prejudices as just what they think, or do we want to live in a society that isn't racist?

Better to keep challenging their bullshit really. Either they will reflect and change their opinions or not. Like someone I know, who was going on about feckless benefit scroungers and was extremely surprised when I pointed out that unemployment benefit is a fraction of the welfare bill. She said she thought it would be at least a third going to long-term unemployed people "sitting around supported by hard working people like her paying their tax", based on what her mum had read in the paper.

So yeah, I guess people have the right to say what they think. Just as we have the right to inform them that what they think is uninformed bollocks.

MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 13:40:28

TBH Puzzled, I don't think even the most committed UKIP supporters/Daily Mail readers really believe that all Romanians are criminals. It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable that they might have concerns that their new neighbours are in a group that contains a disproportionally high number of criminals - until they get to know them as people. i.e on getting the news that they will be moving in, which is what Farage was saying, not once they've been there for a while like AndHarry's neighbours.

MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 13:42:00

Yes, Buffy but that's not what's happened with Farage. People aren't telling him and his supporters why he's wrong, they're just saying he was wrong to say it.

DenzelWashington Mon 19-May-14 13:42:05

I certainly agree that people should be able to express fears and discuss immigration. And lo and behold, people are 'expressing their fears' all over the place. Well, all over the internet, certainly.

The crime figures in relation to Romanians could reflect all kinds of things: activities by organised criminal gangs, higher visibilty and notoriety (whether or not deserved) that means policing is concentrating on Romanians, etc.

And I'd be very interested to know how many worried people can tell the difference-just by looking- between Romanians, Turks, Bulgarians, Moldovans, Albanians, Greeks and any other Caucasian/Adriatic/Eastern Mediterranean nationality you care to name.

It may be that 'Romanian' is just our latest label for a generic 'immigrant we are afraid of' rather than an accurate description of the source of any problems.

Puzzledandpissedoff Mon 19-May-14 13:44:46

It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable that they might have concerns that their new neighbours are in a group that contains a disproportionally high number of criminals - until they get to know them as people

Exactly, Marathon; as ever, reaching out in a friendly way can make all the difference smile

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Mon 19-May-14 13:46:41

I would worry if Nigel Farage moved in next door. Can we use that as the basis of a legislative platform, please?

According to British crime stats men are nearly 20 times more likely to be convicted and imprisoned for violence against the person than women.

Does that mean it is also reasonable for people to be concerned when a man moves into a neighbouring property? Y'know, if they're concerned about living next to those Romanians who are associated with gangs dontcha know.

AndHarry Mon 19-May-14 13:53:47

The town I live in has a white British minority but the area I'm in specifically is more 'white' than other parts of the town. When my neighbour sold her house I was relieved that it was to a family but also worried about whether they would be good neighbours - as much as I would have done about any new neighbours. My main concern was over the timing of baking a cake for them grin

Kendodd Mon 19-May-14 13:54:07

My mum (retired, lived much of her life on benefits although goes on about how she worked all her life) was telling me yesterday that Romanians get more benefit money than she does. I said, so, two people, both on benefits with exactly the same circumstances, one British one Romanian, the Romanian will get more money just because they're Romanian? 'Yes they will', she replied and that she 'knows this for a fact'.

What can you say to that?


Yes, Buffy but that's not what's happened with Farage. People aren't telling him and his supporters why he's wrong, they're just saying he was wrong to say it.

So now I am confused about your point. You don't think he is right about Romanians, but you do not think people should say that what he said was racist? Or you think that some people are racist afraid of living near Romanians and therefore, it was OK for him to say that some people felt this way?

Sorry, I am probably being dim.

Kendodd Mon 19-May-14 13:58:05

BTW the only Romanian I know earns a massive salary in the city. And they came here as an asylum seeker shock

Our Romanian neighbours have, disgustingly, invited us round for coffee, brought us a gift when our baby DD was born, and invited us to their son's birthday party. Of course the birthday party was just a cover for them getting together with their gang, and the gift was to keep us sweet hmm

Farage may be right that people worry when Eastern European people arrive as neighbours (I certainly didn't care about our neighbour's country of origin when we moved in), but if he's trying to use it as a stick to beat immigrants with, he's out of order - the only people it reflects badly on are the NIMBY Little Englanders who can't handle change.

MarathonFan Mon 19-May-14 14:10:35

Yes, I think that he's right to say that's how lots of people feel - then we can address that. Not allowing him (or them) to say it means they feel they don't have a voice/the country's being taken over by "them" and that only reinforces their (ridiculous) views

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