Prisoners, pensioners, death

What the above, possibly slightly fuzzy, graph shows is that immigrants who arrived over 40 years ago (the second column from the left) are about as anti-immigrant as the Brits are on average (the far left column). This is good news in a way. Since it goes to show that sooner or later immigrants to assimilate. Of course, the bad news is that they end up just like us.

Perhaps slavs are more cosmopolitan than Jamaicans, but this just shows older people become more reactionary as they age and that become tend to become more like their peers. In this country that means being anti-immigrant, even if you’re an immigrant. The cognitive dissonance is worth it to fit in and have something to moan about. I empathise, I really do.

You might realise it, but this segues nicely into the government’s incredible plan to introduce prison sentences of 100 years of more in place of life sentences. The sentences need replacing because the European Court of Human Rights has told them life sentences without parole are no longer legal. To skirt this the Coalition are proposing a technical fix in which nothing changes.

Somebody needs to tell the coalition that being technically right only matters at a pub quiz. I’m not a lawyer, but I have a feeling being technically right will enamour them to the ECtHR in the same way being technically right will enamour you to your family in a Trivial Pursuit game at Christmas.

The link is that people change and people die and that by the time you’ve reached old age there isn’t a lot of the young you left.I’m glad Noah Smith has written this, because I had the same idea, but he’s written it up in a much better way than I ever could. Change is death. I’m not much like I was 10 years ago, and I will probably be as different again in 10 more. He writes that this means that there’s not much to fear in dying one day, because you already have. But this view of the world makes dying in prison all the more terrifying.

The man who dies after decades in prison isn’t the same one who murdered another, because they died long before them. If you’re an old Jamaican immigrant you complain about scroungers to your #hardworking Bulgarian nurse and look silly. Under the coalition’s proposed plans, if you’re a prisoner then your old body and older mind will be locked up for good. I can find no solace or justice in that.

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One thought on “Prisoners, pensioners, death

  1. Like your housing post I think there is a lot more to this than this simple graph shows.

    Over the years we have had different sets of immigrants, often arriving in waves, who have come here for vastly different reasons and under different circumstances.

    The largely Pakisitani/Bangladeshi immigrants that you find in West Yorkshire came here mostly as young single or unattached men to work in the mills as cheap labour in a vain attempt to stave of the inevitable closing as costs rose. When the mills closed they had no work and nowhere to go and found themselves almost in competition with the local population for jobs.

    There was also a move to allow them to bring wives and eventually extended families. This was the debate I remember in the 60s and 70s and it got quite racist and IIRC lead in no small way to the forerunners of the BNP being formed.

    As the Economist recently noted these immigrants have largely transplanted their own culture which hasn’t evolved to the point that they are seen by natives of their original areas as being very conservative. yet people from the same areas who lived in say London did assimilate.

    Then there was the Windrush. Again they came to provide labour but they brought their families. They also dispersed more widely and so were more likely to integrate and assimilate. So when the original jobs started to dry up there wasn’t as much tension with the local populations.

    Another group are Asians evacuated from Africa in the 70s. They lost everything and needed to set up new lives. They brought with them more of an entrepreneurial spirit as most of them had run small businesses, which is partly why they were thrown out in the first place. This is just as well as there wasn’t a jobs scarcity for them to fill. They seem to have dispersed quite widely and by and large got on quietly establishing themselves, often running corner shops as a stepping stone.

    One last group that rarely gets mentioned is the Chinese. They seem to just get on in their own quiet way, in groups like in Soho or as individuals around the country.

    Each of these groups, and there are others that had there own reasons for coming and were, by and large, invited in at times of acute labour shortage.

    The latest batch of immigrants that came in under New Labour were more uncontrolled and to a certain extent uninvited by the local populations. The need for the to be here wasn’t explained very well and when it was questioned, even by broad minded people, the debate was shut down under screams of racist.

    That was a long of getting to say that I would be interested in seeing the attitude of each of these groups and their dependence. I suspect that they don’t have much sympathy for the later arriving migrants.

    I also suspect that the white native (by that I mean those whose immigrant parents arrived here many generations ago) would have a different attitude to each of those groups, with them being more negative about current immigrants and the West Yorkshire immigrants.

    That turned out longer than expected, apologies, and I didn’t even address the issue of prison sentences. I agree with you on that one.

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