Sunday 3 October 2010

The Forgotten Migration

In all the clatter about immigration and migration and all the rest the potential for a substantial inflow of either recently removed British and Irish or their more distant cousins from places that have become poor, unsafe or unwelcoming has not been factored into the estimates. Places that still welcome skilled British and Irish may change their policies quite suddenly.

Around a dozen of my cousins moved abroad and there are now a number of their children and grandchildren, call it a total of around forty. That is just me, in other cases of individuals the figures could be more or less. I have not counted the potential of great grandchildren.

Going back a bit, say four generations to the point where I have 32 forebears none of them were born in the town that I and my parents were born, although two were from the same county. Beyond that people appear from many places.

So I am the child of many migrations in the Atlantic Isles, from Sutherland to Shanklin and from Sligo to Great Yarmouth with a wide scatter of places in between. Beyond these generations are others from further afield and wide and wider as the centuries go back.

Amongst the many others from these 32 families who have moved abroad the figures of descendants, more distant cousins, must be substantial, certainly into three figures, possibly more. Again, that is just my extended family.

In recent years I understand there has been a large outflow of British and Irish to other places. A good many retirees have gone to Spain, some to France and others in Florida and various sunny locations. Many who are younger have taken their skills to other places at their own volition or the behest of their employers.

Call it instinct or what, but I sense that an increasing number of these are beginning to return, climate or no climate. They are encouraged by the fact that as their finances collapse and the once thriving economies that welcomed them also collapse or suddenly close their doors there is the default option.

This is going to where medical treatment, badly needed by some, is free and other benefits may be had. The UK here we come.

When the weather turns very wet a trickle can become a stream, that can become a river and a river can become a flood. Historically, it has happened many times before in terms of the movement of peoples and tribes. It is nothing new.

Call it the forgotten immigration if you like but if what can happen does happen what are the implications? What provision is there for half a million sick, broke and homeless pensioners fleeing from a Spain in turmoil and poverty? Or any other large group from somewhere or other? Where will they stand in the priority ratings?

What do I do if someone wearing a slouch hat festooned with corks, with shorts a deep tan and carrying a crocodile suitcase surrounded by their family, who are also mine, asks for shelter and sustenance? Remind them of the reasons why their ancestors were transported or offer them my meagre hospitality?

It could happen to you.

1 comment:

  1. In my village, there are sixteen returnees from South Africa...