Soapbox Mike Lake: Who is to blame for the economic mess we are in? It is not the migrants
YOU don't have to go far back to find that many (most?) of us arrived in Derbyshire from elsewhere.
I came to work at Rolls-Royce as an economic immigrant from rural Gloucestershire, where my father was the son of a village blacksmith and my mother's family were Welsh farmers.
It is possible that my mother's family descended from those forced into the Welsh mountains by the Roman invasion of AD 43 and some of us may be descended from the soldiers from all over the Roman Empire who occupied Britain until the early fifth century.
After the Romans came the Angles, Saxons and Vikings and then the most cataclysmic event in English history – the Norman invasion and the systematic theft of land.
This event still shapes our class system and vast amounts of (untaxed) land are still occupied by the descendants of those invaders.
During the 1,000 years since the Norman invasion, waves of immigrants arrived here – many fleeing persecution in their own countries and many seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
A recent study has shown that most of us are happy to welcome new people into this country – with certain conditions: they must speak English; they must be willing to make friends outside their own community; they must not isolate themselves; they most learn about our history and culture; they must make a positive contribution to society; and they must support the rights and freedoms we have fought so hard for – particularly equal rights for all (especially women) and freedom of speech.
None of this says that newcomers should forget their backgrounds or abandon their culture – though there may be aspects of that culture that are unacceptable here in England and giving those up is the price to pay for being here.
Of course, immigration works both ways. Many of us have family members or friends who have chosen to leave England and settle overseas. I have cousins who left to settle in Australia and their children and grandchildren now speak in Australian accents, support the Australian cricket team and consider themselves Australians.
I have friends who have retired to the warmer parts of Europe – though they may have problems if UKIP and the rabid anti-EU wing of the Tory party have their way and we isolate ourselves from Europe.
When someone says "they come over here and steal our jobs", many "native" English people refuse such jobs "because they are only suitable for immigrants". You can't have it both ways.
We live under an economic system which has failed us – but you need to look at who really messed things up and who is still getting rich off our backs – and it is certainly not immigrants!