I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions but I’ve scolded myself on many occasion in 2013 for having blog type thoughts in my head and not confined them to the internet. There are far too many thoughts on the internet already and if anything, I repeatedly complain that we are now in a world where too many people voice their opinions. As I’ve been saying on stage in the last few months in one way or another, freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, I’m just getting tired of how many people choose to use it. I’ve realised that this in an area in which my own political views and values often get confused. People should definitely be able to have a voice, and express their views, I just wish that those that did had maybe read something or thought about what they were going to say a little before saying it. So to completely contradict myself in the most extreme manner, I’ve decided to restart my blog where I can pour out my ill thought out ideas for you (my one reader) to intake, while I have, most likely, not researched, thought through or even checked for spelling mistakes in the slightest. And you’ll note this is written one day before 2014, so technically, its not a resolution. Ahem.
I suspect I’ll see lots of people jogging tomorrow, or not smoking, or looking disdainfully at me as I eat chocolate while looking out of the window at them jogging and not smoking. I will of course, be looking out of the window, keeping an eye out for Bulgarians. I’m sure you’ve heard that tomorrow, because work restrictions in the EU for Bulgarians and Romanians are being lifted on January 1st, they’ll all be clambering over each other to get into the UK from the stroke of midnight. I suspect we’ll all wake up tomorrow unable to see past the front garden due to Bulgarians. They’ll be all in your hair and under your shoe and in your cupboards. Those people jogging and not smoking will find it hard to not to trip over them every two minutes or get hit from one falling from a tree. This is almost 100% definitely what will happen, because various papers and politicians keep telling us it will. 29 million of them. At last count the population of Romania was 20,121,641, and the population of Bulgaria was 7,364,570. So it seems they are so desperate to be here, they will give citizenship to two million randoms just so they can join the UK invasion party.
In reality, I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to come here. Recently doing shows in Finland, some of the audience I spoke to afterwards were telling me that in their opinion, the UK is somewhere no one wants to visit at the moment. Why would anyone fancy visiting a place where there is no work*, no extra homes are being built, food costs are rising while wages are falling, places are repeatedly damaged by weather with no clauses of how to prevent or provide for this, and now, as of this week, migrants will be charged for using the NHS, despite that migrants have been supporting our public services more than most businesses? It makes you wonder what sort of campaign the Visit Britain tourism board have up their sleeves for the new year. ‘Welcome to Britain! Come and see how much better it makes your country look!’
If they are coming, then why aren’t we pleased we have somewhere people aspire to coming to? For most people I know, if they have visitors round, they will tidy up, spend time cooking and make sure those guests feel as welcome as possible. They wouldn’t want everyone knowing their home was one that made people feel uncomfortable, unwelcome and put them off returning. Yet when it comes to Britain as a country, it seems this same attitude doesn’t apply. Which is strange. Maybe its the old fear of invasion, that we’ve had due to years of being a tiny island? Maybe its just fear of the unknown? Who knows what Bulgarians or Romanians do? The only Bulgarian I’ve ever known of is Uncle Bulgaria who picked up a lot of litter. So, so far, so good. But what if they aren’t like that? What if they care about social issues or aren’t happy to sit mindlessly watching reality TV while the entire welfare state and public health service gets dismantled? What if they are the sort of awful people who care about other people and ultimately may disrupt our beautifully apathetic society of those more interested in money than anything else? Maybe, just maybe, its fear that Bulgarians and Romanians don’t actually want to come here anymore, so if we scare people that they might, it makes us all ignore that the UK isn’t really all that desirable for visitors, or even for us anymore.
I’ve travelled a fair bit. Not enough I should add, but thanks to my job and various opportunities, I’ve popped and had a cuppa in quite a few places in the world. You know what? Most people, everywhere I’ve been, have been lovely. They’ve been polite, determined, aspirational, hospitable and all in all humanitarian. Sure, there are arseholes everywhere too, but that’s no different to here. In the last year I’ve almost started to believe we have more here than most places. My car got keyed last week. I don’t think that was a Romanian. Someone in the supermarket barged into my girlfriend with his trolley earlier today without so much as an apology. He was very British indeed, in his tweed coat and grumbling that someone was in his way as he swung his tiny metal food tank around. We have politicians who laugh at stories of people being hungry. I don’t care who arrives or ‘invades’ tomorrow, but I can’t imagine many will. The Romanian foreign office have already pointed out that the UK isn’t their preferred choice of destination anymore. I think we’d be a much happier society if in 2014 we made an effort to get there again. I’ll put the kettle on.
I’m doing my first ever UK tour in 2014, starting end of January. All dates and most ticket links are up at my website: http://www.tiernandouieb.co.uk. Please spread the word and come along as if you’re not there, it’ll be rubbish. It’ll just be me in a room and if I can’t get 3G I’ll be really bored. The very funny Chris Coltrane is supporting me on some dates and the brilliant Keith Farnan is doing a double header with me on others.