Monday 6 June 2016

When The Boat Comes In

The recent debates which are causing tempers to be lost tell us much about our masters.  The former Prime Minister John Major emerged from his prime property investment to cry "Deceit, deceit, they've all got deceit for me!" (see the film "Carry On Cleo") about the Leave campaign.  This is rich coming from someone unable to give a straight answer about anything during his term of office.

One of the quibbles he has is about the migration issue.  For our politicians this is a game played by people who have trouble with any numbers, especially if there are complications or calculations with a need to be very careful about assumptions.  Truth might be found in numbers but only if they are the right ones.

My take on migration is to look at the long historical perspective as well as the numbers.  One of the advantages of the net is that out there is a great deal of information that is useful, if not for, certainty, then at least hinting at where to look and what questions to ask.  At a personal level there can be very many "what ifs".

One fascinating site is Norway Heritage dot com which deals with the large scale migration from there across the Atlantic in the past notably the late 19th Century.  A great deal of it was carried by British ships and the site has extensive records of these and their sailings.  If you have an interest in maritime history it is a treasure trove.

One example is this of the SS "City of Berlin" of the Inman Line, on the Liverpool run.  A great grandfather was in the boiler room for a long period of time and later might have been in charge.  A younger son, he migrated from Co.Wicklow to Liverpool.  It appears that other family connections were involved.

Some of them and their families went across to stay.  Why didn't he?  He lived in a place which was almost a transit camp of peoples at times.  He was crewing on a ship that evidently carried many migrants.  He had the opportunity etc. but he did not.  Perhaps he may have been particular about his beer.

As well as the Scandinavians, who in general were welcomed, during the late 19th Century there were many others.  In the 1870's the USA was adamant about its open doors policy for reasons much the same as we claim today.  Some of their early peoples disagreed but after the US Cavalry had done its job had to accept the economic changes.  Yes, I have marched to "The Garryowen".

The new peoples of later years, however, were not quite the same.  There was large scale movement from Italy, a nation created only by the 1860's, with confused politics, much poverty and economically weak, what changes?  Also, there were many of the Jewish faith driven out of the Russian Empire, which then encompassed Eastern Europe.

But then came others in numbers from the Far East.  This had the potential for large scale mass migration with the relevant demands.  Yes they brought their labour and what money they had, no they did not have the same belief systems or cultures. It was soon after their arrivals that the US began to introduce limitations and later legislation aimed at control.

This was all very recently.  I can recall talking to people born in the 1860's and 70's.  Yet we seem to have forgotten what was really involved and do not understand what is possible.  For large scale movements of the longer past we know and understand even less.

At present, there is small hope of any of our leaders having a grip on the implications or even understanding some of the basic numbers.

Back to the boiler room.


  1. I don't think our leaders have either the time or inclination to understand some of the basic numbers. In their world minions do that, but therein lies a problem. Who checks the minions and how?

    Checks and balances we used to say, but if leaders are not interested checks or balance then the inevitable happens.

  2. come - most British were 'ag labs'.
    not quaint immigrants.
    What is more they were mostly white.
    Britain wasn't a parking lot for people.
    And what happened in the past is not a template for the future.
    Especially now with no free speech and deliberate dilution of the natives.