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Londyńczycy
November 14, 2013 5:52 PM   Subscribe

From Eastern Europe to the East End
posted by Thing (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
In the end, we're all just trying to improve our lot in life. Being an immigrant myself, I can sympathise; but by a simple accident of birth, I got an unfair advantage.
posted by arcticseal at 6:58 PM on November 14, 2013


Interesting article, worth reading (though note that the description of the problems of intercultural relations in the article fit in well with the right-leaning Standpoint magazine's opposition to multiculturalism in the UK. )

anyway,
here are some short films about Poles in London
posted by Bwithh at 7:00 PM on November 14, 2013


This article has successfully proven that foreigners live in London. I expect a Nobel prize is forthcoming.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:53 PM on November 14, 2013


It's heavy on stereotypes and light on facts. How on Earth more than a quarter million builders and house cleaners manage to find work in London? By pushing everyone else out of business? And building a dream mansion in Poland for 30,000 pounds was possible maybe before the accession to the EU.
posted by hat_eater at 11:03 PM on November 14, 2013


Oh, and I just laughed aloud at that:

Jurek was gobsmacked by the white wedding-cake mansions this Perivale Polish company was renovating. They had columns like ancient temples over the doors.

Like this? Still popular in Poland since XVIII century.
posted by hat_eater at 11:09 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Millennium Dome (now the O2) is filthy, begging to be torn down.

Well I got this far... troubled though it was at first and I can't judge on its cleanliness but afaik The Dome/O2 it's now a very popular and successful music (and other entertainment) venue
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:31 AM on November 15, 2013


> It's heavy on stereotypes and light on facts.

You must have read a different article than I did. The guy's a journalist, not a historian or scholar, but unless you think he's lying about everything, that he just invented all the people and conversations he describes, it's full of facts, they're just not the kind of facts I guess you're looking for, which I presume are to be found in university press books and JSTOR articles. I found this an empathetic and educational piece, and now I want to read his The Yeti Hunts: Travels Through Russia and Central Asia, a collection of his articles for Standpoint.

> (though note that the description of the problems of intercultural relations in the article fit in well with the right-leaning Standpoint magazine's opposition to multiculturalism in the UK. )

In the first place, your link is entirely about a single article they published in their first issue, which hardly justifies tarring the entire magazine. In the second place, here are a few paragraphs from Judah's article; I'll let others decide whether they sound like right-wing anti-multiculturalism:
If Conservative MPs ever deigned to talk to Polish builders they might discover people near-identical to the Norman Tebbit fantasy of the working class. Industrious savers. Family people. Willing to work for nothing. Fans of Thatcher, the Soviet-fighter. Disgusted by trade unionists and completely depoliticised.
[...]

Albanian London despises the mafia. Pints are raised to their downfall in Kilburn pubs. These are honest people furious that criminals have tarred their name. These people love Britain more than UKIP ever could. This is because Albanian London is one of refugees. Fathers named daughters born in the UK after sisters tortured by Serbian para-militaries in Kosovo. Children are taught about Tony Blair granting them asylum which saved them from war and poverty.

Poles and Albanians talk about Britain as a "mini-America". But there is no British dream. East Europeans came to London not inspired by a dream of how great things could be, but by the knowledge of how much worse they can be. Talk of Britishness draws a blank face. Immigrants say, "Britain is a land of opportunity." But they do not feel particularly welcome. As if they are living in a spare room.
> This article has successfully proven that foreigners live in London. I expect a Nobel prize is forthcoming.

This is the kind of contentless, pointless pellet of would-be snark that adds nothing to the discussion and makes MetaFilter a worse place.

Thanks for the fine post, Thing. (You might have mentioned Judah's name, though; I always feel it's important to credit authors.)
posted by languagehat at 9:04 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've read it with interest but was disappointed - it hasn't added anything of substance to my knowledge of the situation of Polish immigrants in London. Everything concerning the subjects I am familiar with could have been based on nothing more than a few newspaper articles and pub conversations. That surely must have influenced my perception of the other parts of the piece.
posted by hat_eater at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2013


And of course I became suspicious because some things I mentioned earlier did not seem right to me. Sorry for posting these comments in parts, my thinking processes are a bit disjointed today (which probably somewhat diminishes the weight of that critique).
posted by hat_eater at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2013


> I've read it with interest but was disappointed - it hasn't added anything of substance to my knowledge of the situation of Polish immigrants in London.

Bear in mind, though, that most of us know absolutely nothing about the situation of Polish immigrants in London. I can understand why you might be disappointed, but you're probably not the target audience.
posted by languagehat at 3:31 PM on November 15, 2013


At 6.30pm, exhausted builders crack open cans of Zywiec on the Central Line. Everyone sneers at them.

What? Nobody is sneering at anyone. This "journalist" seems very interested in creating a sense of a divided, hostile, London. It would be interesting if it wasn't made up from whole cloth.
posted by aychedee at 1:58 AM on November 17, 2013


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