We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“The severing of Britain’s economic ties with its Commonwealth partners as a price of European (Union) entry further strained those relationships. Today, Germans arriving at London’s Heathrow airport breeze through the domestic arrivals line, while Australians who fought against the Germans at El Alamein for Britain’s sake wait in the foreigners’ line with the Japanese.”

- Jim Bennett, The Anglosphere Challenge, page 279.

Not that I have a problem with Germans or Frenchmen “breezing through” customs.

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    The British have dumped their uncles, cousins, brothers, nieces, aunts, sons, nephews, mothers, nephews, sisters and fathers in favour of complete strangers. And all for spurious spurious claims of benefit based on geographical proximity.

    The idea that the British have more in common with and share greater social and economic ties with Greece, Italy and Slovakia than with Canada, Australia and the USA is nonsensical.

  • A Fruitcake

    Yes Jim Bennett is right. It’s terrible that the Japanese and the Germans aren’t being forced to wait longer than everyone else. I MEAN THE GERMANS !!!! ARE ABLE TO JUST WALTZ THROUGH CUSTOMS UNIONS!!! THEY MUCH BE PUNISHED!!!!

  • Tim S

    Geographic proximity may be spurious, but in most cases so are the historical ties with the Commonwealth. Many Commonwealth countries are now basket cases which Britain should have nothing to do with.

    Britain should seek out countries with philosophical and cultural proximity – which is what the quoted book appears to be about.

    That of course would require a mood shift away from cultural relativism and the post-modernism (“there is no objective reality”) which underlies it.

    Unfortunately it seems the west will need to suffer major violence – large-scale terrorism or war – before people wake up to the fact that objective reality exists.

  • Nick M

    I think the great irony is that we joined the EEC in ’73 and a mere twenty later cheap flights and the internet had rendered the argument from “geographical proximity” somewhat moot.

    Having said that I’m all for a European free-trade area as long as it is seen as a start and not an endpoint.

    Is there not indeed a case for longitudinal diversity in a 24/7 globalized world? “I see, you’re phoning from China – I’ll just put you through to our office in Sydney”.

  • Johnathan

    Fruitcake (apt name), that was not the point that Bennett was making.

    Sigh

  • I am an Australian. That makes me a foreigner. At times it annoys me when British people treat me as if I am not. I have no problem with getting in the “foreigners queue” when I return to the country. What is needed is for people like me to be dealt with efficiently and courteously in this queue. It doesn’t always happen.

  • andrew duffin

    Michael, you misunderstand.

    The purpose of queues (especially at airports) is not to permit the efficient and courteous processing of the customers.

    The purpose is to remind you who’s the boss.

  • Andrew: Alas, you are perfectly right. I was merely saying how things should be, which is never a wise thing to do.

  • Didn’t some of the September 11th terrorists come to Britain (and from there on to America) from Germany? o_0

  • And of course when it comes down to it, Jonathan’s basic point is right. The purpose of the Non-EU nationals queue is to put me in my place by making things difficult for me, not to achieve anything. I am a British permanent resident. There is nothing that I could be doing in Britain that is in breach of my immigration conditions, and immigration officials have essentially no discretionary power to refuse to allow me to enter Britain. (Legal precedents back this up). There would be no inconvenience to anybody if permanent residents were allowed to get in the fast queue with British and EU nationals (some countries do this) but that would reduce the ability of the Home Office to be arbitrarily rude to people like me. And we couldn’t have that.

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    I remember once, years ago, I went from the UK to Denmark on my brand new Australian passport, never before been stamped in. I was a permanent resident, but the evidence of this was in my old and expired passport, left warmly ensconced in the drawer, at home in Streatham.

    Gulp, how to get back into the UK?

    I grovelled. plained that I was a permanent resident, but had no evidence and would you please Mr Nice please stamp my passport, leting me in for a week or so so I could get it all sorted out.

    Mr Nice Man said, “Ok, I believe you.” and stamped the clean pristine passport with a permanent right to remain stamp. On nothing but my say so.

    Regardless of immigration lines at airports, I have had a soft spot for immigration officials ever since. And there aren’t many people who will say that.

  • Regardless of immigration lines at airports, I have had a soft spot for immigration officials ever since. And there aren’t many people who will say that.

    The Home Office aren’t like that any more. These days a right to remain permit is a fancy sticker with a hologram, a photograph, and various bar codes on it that you have to get through the mail (and of course they charge you a fee to put it in a new passport).

    The Home Office used to be incompetent, broadly friendly, and funded by the taxpayer. These days it is horribly bureaucratic, charges you through the nose for absolutely everything (and it is not like I don’t pay enough tax already), demands that non-permanent visas be renewed more often so it can charge you a fee more often, is much more malevolent, and is probably even less competent than before. It is a classic demonstration of the inherent nastiness of the Blair regime. Its idea of “modernisation” is to turn government into this.

  • Sudha Shenoy

    Since when has Australia had anything at all to do with France or Germany? This is the way officials of the Franco-German Empire treat all foreigners. Britain is merely another subject state of the Empire.

  • Actually, French immigration is much nicer to Australians than is British immigration. And I once walked through German immigration carrying (and drinking from) an open bottle of beer. I can’t imagine getting away with that in Britain.

  • chip

    The most miserable and arrogant customs officials are in Canada. I travel often and afar, and my reception returning home is always the rudest.

  • Sunfish

    Chip,

    I don’t get this. I’ve cleared customs in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, and a few Caribbean resort islands. And my worst customs and immigration experiences have always ALWAYS been entering the USA.

    What makes this a problem is, I’m a US citizen and resident, and I’ve lived here all of my thirty-odd years.

  • nicholas gray

    Sunfish, years ago, we visited USA from Australia, and the customs people were very polite and friendly. I figure they must save their niceness for foreigners, and not have any left for fellow Usans, or Statelanders, or South Canadians. Maybe they only have a limited supply?

  • tranio

    It used to be possible to go into the UK citizens only line with a Canadian passport provided it showed your place of birth was in Britain. That was stopped. So here I am a British subject and I have to now line up with the ordinary riff raff of the world.

  • Sunfish

    Sunfish, years ago, we visited USA from Australia, and the customs people were very polite and friendly. I figure they must save their niceness for foreigners, and not have any left for fellow Usans, or Statelanders, or South Canadians. Maybe they only have a limited supply?

    Australian tourists have a choice of where to go. Yanks have to come home sometime.

    When I went through Sydney, I ended up being screened by a quarantine inspector who was more interested in casual conversation than he was with dragging me into a dark room and shining bright lights in my face.