Friday, 20 July 2012


Higher levels of immigration over the next 50 years would spare taxpayers from the need to endure much greater austerity, the Government's fiscal watchdog has said.
The aging population will put growing financial pressure on future taxpayers and governments, and Britain will need to undergo an extra £17bn of spending cuts and tax rises to bring down the national debt to 40 per cent of gross domestic product by 2062, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility .
This is on top of the £120bn fiscal consolidation the Chancellor, George Osborne, is pushing through as he seeks to close the budget deficit. But higher levels of immigration would help the economy to grow faster and ease the pressure to cut spending, according to the OBR.
The solution is simple. Get rid of the English. It won't be the first time. Wales and Cornwall remain exuberantly Celtic, Scotland grimly Pictish and Northern England slumbers on in Saxon phlegmatism. The vast swamp that was East Anglia was recreated in the 17th century by the houseproud Dutch. The English heartland, forbye, is the work of many foreign hands. The Angles and the Saxons imposed order on the wild Celts who still peep out in such words as Avon, for river, Pen for hill and many another.
The Vikings have had a bad press but the rapine and the looting were just the Nordic equivalent of two for one offers in supermarkets. Archaeology has shown they were the greatest trading nation of their day. They too have left their calling card in the language and turned us into a nation of shopkeepers. The four hundred years of Roman occupation of the southern half of England had the most profound effect. They gave us towns and a sense of corporate identity. Our civic society is pure Roman.
The most noticeable change in our character was wrought by the Normans who frenchified whatever they touched as Guthrun the Swineherd pointed out in Ivanhoe, the only book in Scott's debt-driven output which is still remotely readable.
A recent shape-changer has been the American invasion which began in the Thirties with the export of Hollywood and paved the way for the physical invasion of the Forties which shattered a culture that had been growing like barnacles for centuries. Then they made beggars of us with loans we used to buy American products.
Like the Saxon, the most recent invasion was by invitation. It has given us Polish plumbers, saved agriculture and the NHS from extinction and created a revolutionary industrial work force which doesn't strike. In my time as a reporter I watched strikers kill the Merchant Navy, the docks and the car industry. The good ship Windrush saved us. The black race will save the Church. Unlike the dwindling ranks of the Anglicans, it still believes in God and goes to church.
A chum from BBC Wales, Mike Flynn, offers this:
"I did enjoy this programme ttp:// on R4 yesterday. Poet Daljit Nagra revels in the extraordinary word horde of Hobson-Jobson, the legendary dictionary of British India.
Hobson-Jobson has resulted in more English words of Indian origin entering the OED than of any other country - dinghy, bungalow and shampoo to name a few. Since its first publication in 1886, Hobson-Jobson has been continuously in print for 140 years and has amused, inspired and seduced generations of writers from Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie.
Dr Kate Teltscher of Roehampton University is producing a new edition for publication later this year as part of the Oxford World Classics series and she is entranced. She says it breaks all the rules about dictionaries. It's madly scholarly yet hugely idiosyncratic and fun.
Hobson-Jobson was compiled by two extraordinary polymaths Henry Yule and Arthur Burnell, who corresponded with scholars, diplomats, missionaries, intelligence officers and army personnel across the globe to produce their 1000 page lexicon.
What brought this rant about? It was my friend Dai Woosnam who disclosed a romantic side which was unsuspected. Dai's blog harvests a wide meadow with film clips from all over the world. I did not know it had also brought him a Russian wife.
Larissa Bollcheva appeared in TV AM broadcast. She was a doctor in her home town Tver between Moscow and St Petersburg. Dai, the questing vole, saw her, was smitten and wrote to invite her to his home in Caerphilly for three weeks. As the Grand Climax the holiday ended with a proposal of marriage. They were 41, neither had been married before but against the odds the marriage has been blissfully happy.
Larissa came here with a strong belief she should give her skills and experience to the country of her choice. She still felt loyalty to the country where she was born but she had been a doctor in Russia for 18 years and believed she had paid her dues.

In Wales she took the exams which enabled her to practice medicine and moved to a small, homely Valleys hospital. Having worked in South Wales at hospitals in Swansea, Cardiff and Caerphilly, she moved to Grimsby in October 1999 to a post as Consultant Physician. She is currently Clinical Director for Medicine at the same hospital, Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire.

It took her four years to become a British citizen. When the letter came she was overjoyed. She thought of going out for a celebratory meal but that seemed inadequate. It was then she had the Great Idea. She planted a garden of 40 roses in waste land adjoining the hospital.

She explained: “It was my way of saying thanks to the UK for accepting me as a citizen. Some of the nurses say that when they walk past them every day they think of me, and I find that very moving.”

So do I which is why I say, “Bring them on”........Hoplites of Hope which enable countless thousands to enjoy the largesse of the Welfare state.

I am not an obsessive gardener. When I lived at Tattenhall on the Welsh border I had to remonstrate with an enthusiastic neighbour whose flower seeds blew over the fence and choked my weeds. At a subsequent flat on the Rows in Watergate Street, Chester, the single window box was tended by a firm of jobbing gardeners which was also responsible for the hyacinth bowl. So there is no need to warn me that lawn mowing brings on heart attacks.
More active gardeners may wish to know that it is the first cut of the season that is the unkindest cut of all and does the damage. Doctors call it lawnmower angina and I can take a hint. When my doctor said I was so far overweight the slightest exertion could kill me I acted at once. I gave up exertion.
It is the same with the first lawn-mowing of the season. That is the one I gave up. In fact I gave it up right through to November. At our first property on the Isle of Anglesey I was proud of my traditional cottage garden. You would love it. Right in the middle of my land I grew this traditional cottage; the rest was nature, red in tooth and claw.
When we moved to the big house which had a three acre garden unemployment in the village dropped to single figures. Now we have downsized to a pensioner's bungalow we have two gardeners, one kept largely for conversation, to cosset our postage stamp sized plot.
The Anglesey garden was a nature reserve for weeds until I got help. I am sure Conan Doyle had my bindweed in mind when he wrote "The Speckled Band".
I wouldn't go out after dark in case it had me by the throat and dragged me off to its lair in the ivy which was gradually dismembering the garden wall. Miss Kip, our long dog, Taz's predecessor, wouldn't go near the place. One summer she was so covered in burrs she was four times propositioned by kerb-crawling hedgehogs. And the cat was mugged by a robin. I had convolvuli that could bring down a running rabbit in its own length and dandelions that were bred from real lions. When you pulled my nettles they pulled back. Soil? I had nettle-strengthened soil so vitamin choked you could plant a seedling in the garden and by the time you reached the back door it was six foot tall and waving at you. Tendrils from my peas plucked passing pigeons out of the sky. The real trouble with gardening is that whatever you grow you always have two hundred over.
Especially lettuce. Breed like triffids and there is no sight in nature more terrifying than a lettuce gone to seed.
Mind you, I love gardens. Other people's, where someone else does the weeding and you can stretch out on a lawn without that nagging worry that it is growing so fast you are levitating and if you don't rush in for the mower you are going to have an angry giant fee-fo-fuming at you. Also you don't have to buy packets of seed which cost you more than the Indians were paid for Long Island. Can you understand it? Every year you weed away annuals that have sown themselves, every marigold has enough seeds on its stem for the deposit on a house. Yet when you buy a packet the only variety you get is King's Ransom because that is what it cost. And now we have something else to worry about. Killer tomatoes from outer space. Did you read where American schoolchildren projected 12.5 million tomato seeds into space?
After six years they came back and no sooner had they been planted in schools across America than NASA warned that their exposure to cosmic radiation meant they could be toxic. All part of an experiment, I read, to find the effect of space exposure on living tissue.
Now we know.
Lethal tomato butties. On top of which I do not understand why grown men want to float around on their backs doing unmentionable things into plastic bags just to get to the Moon.
I would almost rather go to the Costa Brava.