Asylum seekers, economic migrants: the debates snarl ever on, not always illuminated by the tabloids. But though the "big society" is big news, there is a side to the concept I witness daily, but have never seen reported: migrants can represent a very valuable source of volunteers.Well, that's nice for you, Spencer. And nice, I suppose, for the elderly.
Last week, we took 30 older people to a farm shop near Reigate. Now, being stuck in roadworks outside Leatherhead may not be everyone's idea of unconfined joy, but to a housebound elderly person, just being in company and escaping "those four walls" for a few hours can be hugely important. And two of the frailest passengers were able to come only because we had volunteers from Eritrea and Bulgaria to push their wheelchairs.Ah, this is a case of us importing people to do jobs we no longer want to do ourse...
I'm not bemoaning broken Britain, or any native neglect of our vulnerable elderly. We get plenty of British volunteers too.So, why this article then?
…local older people benefit immensely from the input of our non-native volunteers. And not just in the obvious ways. Personally, I love working with people from so many cultures and backgrounds. It makes my job more interesting.Aha! You see, Spencer likes the idea. The idea is good, to Spencer, therefore Spencer assumes it's considered good by everyone else.
But not all our members are keen on the demographic changes London has experienced over the last 50 years.Oh oh! Spencer's glee at out multiculti world isn't shared by everyone. Oh, dear!
The majority of our clients are white and working class. Many are Camden born and bred. One lady of 90 was born in the same house she lives in today. They grew up in a very different place; one that was almost entirely white, with a very strong sense of community.
It is hardly surprising if the transformation in the ethnic and cultural make up of NW5 has left some feeling threatened and bewildered.Indeed. After all, they never voted for it, in fact, they were never asked if they thought it was a good idea. It was assumed (by people very much like Spencer) that it was a good idea, and so everyone should put up with it...
But witnessing those tabloid-reviled asylum seekers and supposedly selfish economic migrants giving up their own time to help out more vulnerable members of our community really has changed attitudes.He doesn't give any examples. He just states it as a fact.
How nice for Spencer. I suppose...