05 January 2006

The Geo-Generational Gap.

Following on from my last post. I was back in the Midlands over the holiday period and ended up hearing a discussion among some elderly Lib Dem/ Tory friends. Paraphrasing a little, they were saying stuff like this;

"I used to get a subsidy on my foreign language evening classes, now I have to pay...I notice the asylum seekers get it free.."

When I pointed out that none of them was hardly in a financially parlous state, living as they did, a comfortable life in the suburbs with substantial savings and property they reacted angrily. I suggested that wasn't it 'a little mean' to begrudge some minor benefits to those at the bottom of the financial pile?

They dismissed me as 'politically correct' and said that it was liberals like me being too soft on immigrants that was 'threatening' their way of life. Of course they couldn't actually specify what this threat was.

I pointed out that none of them ever complained about US consumerism eroding their way of life, yet it clearly had had a much bigger impact than immigration had. Going home that night through this plush middle class area filled with huge houses and large cars, I was even more astounded at the ferocity of their outburst. It was quite clear to me that the post-war immigration had contributed enormously to the economy that had delivered their plush livestyles. If only they could focus on that instead.

I was in a minority of one trying to carefully counter their anti-immigrant arguments. Of course it is these people who mirror the majority of opinion in the suburbs. They hardly if ever see any asylum seekers or immigrants, let alone know any, yet the venom of their hatred truly astounded me. People who live in more urban cosmopolitan areas have attitudes that are much more liberal. Doesn't that tell us something about the power of the media in this country?

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