Tuesday 2 December 2014

Migration From Poland

Had the Hanoverian project collapsed in the early stages of the 18th Century and  The Old Pretender, James Stuart, managed to reclaim the throne, then The Atlantic Isles would have had a Polish Queen.  The implications of this could have been considerable.

Could the Stuarts, in alliance with the Polish Crown, have prevented the Partition of Poland that took place during that century?  It would have frustrated the ambitions of The Prussians and curbed the expansion of the Tsar's of All The Russia's.

Two hundred years later, I along with many thousands of others were cheering contingents of Polish men taking part in our local 1945 Victory Parade.  There were the airmen from squadrons around Lincolnshire.  Also, there were Polish Airborne troops who had been at Spitalgate, near Grantham, after moving down from Scotland.

They had gone in at Arnhem.  Also, among the others on parade were men of the US 82nd Airborne.  I sometimes wonder how far the presence of these men in and around the Grantham area may have caused the hearts of young ladies of the town to flutter a little, see last week's blog on The Tribune of the Plebians.

There is a lot on Wikipedia about all this and about the Poles who did not go back and who escaped as The Iron Curtain came down. Many settled in Britain, one married an aunt of my wife.  This is where is does become personal, because Polish men were regular guests of ours for many years.

They played chess, a game my father had turned to after he clambered out of the boxing ring for the last time after a hard session with Nel Tarleton (Wikipedia and Youtube) and needing surgery.  But they did not just "play", they were high class.

Given jobs in my father's factory, they made the works team not just the best locally, but rated nationally.  Incidentally, they made my father a very good player in turn.  When Grand Masters came to play simultaneous exhibitions, they were hard to beat and one had even won a time or two.

From time to time, we would be invited to an evening at the local Polish Centre for enjoyable social events.  As my studies had involved a good deal of Modern European History them, at least I had some idea of this.  Later, in the Army on the banks of the Elbe we had many Polish men among the various civilian labour in the barracks that we worked alongside.

Very recently, an interest in DNA arising from other studies long ago in demographic statistics and populations told me more.  It is my male Y Chromosome is one of the more common ones among Polish males, around one in five.  In other words a good slice of my DNA is the same as many Poles.

That I am bemused at the present at the many and various idiocies being mouthed about Polish migration to the EU, on all sides by our leaders and those who want us think as they do, is putting it mildly.   The levels of ignorance, naivety and dogmatism as they address the question are an indication that they wholly fail to see what they are looking at.

A key, if not the main key, to the debate is The Treaty of Rome of 1957 establishing the European Economic Community. It seems that the actual document that was signed was blank between the front page and the signatory page because of printing issues.  So although terms had been agreed in practice the Treaty was a blank cheque.

To try to explain how different Europe was in 1957, the imperatives that dominated politics at that time, the immediate ideas born of the experiences of two wars, many revolutions and the rest would take a lot of words.  But it was not the same as Europe today and it was not the same world.

Even that of the 1970's when the UK signed up is far removed.  During that time and into the Euro Experiment of the 1990's it was all about the high politics, political ideologies, self interested horse trading and immediate interests of the powers involved.

Nobody was doing and nobody was interested in doing the future figures, assessing the risks, measuring possible global implications or making any real kind of "intelligence" appreciations of what might be and what might happen.

One area which was avoided because it was assumed to be secondary and relatively technical was the difficulties and political implications of demographics in the global context.  The issues arising for Europe from the rapid growth of world population were brushed aside.  It was simply assumed that matters would be easily dealt with as they arose.

Inevitably, in human affairs, we find there is a price to pay for everything and often these entail decisions that are both difficult and dangerous.  The latter because if you are wrong what can happen may be much worse than you assumed.

Worse, is that if you defer decisions they will be made for you and by people who have their own interests and do not consider yours.  This is has been the case in questions about migration and this is why the trouble is happening.

In relation to the Polish question, it is obvious that in the past if asked whether I should welcome them into our country the reaction would have been "Of course."

But if told that they might come to number millions, I might well have wanted to think about it.

1 comment:

  1. My first proper job was lab work. The lab next door to was a process lab which had to be open 24 hours a day to process samples from the plant. It was largely staffed by Poles who were friendly, reliable and skilled at getting the results out on time.

    They were older men who I assume stayed on after the war.