Below is Mr Farage’s letter and my response – point by point.
You can read his full letter here. I have not responded to some points as they are plain ridiculous.
I love my country, but it does not mean I hate yours. I know many fantastic Bulgarians and I have no desire to dislike or disparage the wonderful people of Bulgaria.
– Then why are you leading a political campaign that is specifically targeted against Bulgarians? Your statement is very hypocritical and I cannot take it seriously given the recent events.
It is great for you that you have been able to come to the UK and avail yourself of a free university education and free healthcare funded by the British taxpayer.
– This free healthcare is funded by all living and working in the UK , many of whom are immigrants and some specifically Bulgarians.
After the entry of a number of European countries to the EU in 2004, over one million have come to live (and many to work) in Britain
– Immigrants are direct net contributors to the health and social systems in Britain. I dare you dispute that with immigrants in the UK!
As you can imagine and no doubt witnessed the large influx of people over a short period of time has caused severe strain on our tax funded healthcare system, on our social welfare system, and caused a huge demand for more housing.
– Again I will mention that a great percentage of these immigrants are direct net contributors to the health and social systems. How is demand for housing bad for housing developers who make so much money on selling and providing people with housing. Plus a lot of the immigration population has contributed to the housing market so this can never be an excuse. These same immigrants also pay council taxes and healthcare taxes and contribute with their work to Britain. In addition why are you misleading the British public and not presenting them with all the facts in regards to Romanian and Bulgarian immigration. The British public needs to be aware that since they joined the EU back in 2007 Bulgarians and Romanians have been able to travel with no visas and work as self- employed with no problems in the UK. This means that since 2007 whoever wanted to move in, live and work in Britain has done so. The change in 2014 will simply allow these nationalities to be hired as employees- how will that affect the immigration numbers? The very least this change will guarantee that highly qualified individuals are employed and contribute directly with tax payments to the social and health care systems. Why are you misleading the British public and using scare tactics?
Many British people are justly uneasy about the character and culture of their cities, towns and villages being radically changed without them being asked or without giving their consent.
- Again, the change in 2014 only affects the employment status of these two nationalities. Why are you not working on integrating immigrants in these villages thus preserving what Britain stands for – tolerance and diversity? Plus it is absolutely appalling to be targeting only specific nationalities – this is in every way chauvinistic, selective and xenophobic.
Please be assured that the UK Independence Party is completely opposed to all forms of racism and sectarianism
– Not true as you are specifically targeting certain nationalities and this is plain discrimination.
But this matter of mass immigration has nothing to do with race or religion, it simple economics
– Then why are you targeting only Bulgarians and Romanians? If the matter is only simply economics related then deal with it by suggesting financial and economic solutions, not solutions based on discrimination against specific nationalities.
The UK cannot afford to accommodate every person who wishes to come
– That is fine, just make the same rules for everyone , not only specific rules for one nation, race or ethnicity!
Polish is now the second most commonly spoken language in the UK
– This is not true and you know it! According to the 2011 UK Census, there were approximately 4,214,000 South Asians in England and Wales representing around 7.5% of the population. The same 2011 census shows that people from Poland are the second biggest group of foreign residents now living in England and Wales, behind Indians. So how is it possible that Polish is the second most commonly spoken language even before Indian? And most importantly: How is that related to Bulgarian immigration?!?
I am sure Bulgarians love their country. How would your people feel if at the accession of, let's say, Turkey to the EU in the near future, one million Turkish migrants came to live in Bulgaria? Would the people of Bulgaria really be happy about that? Would you really be happy, that without your consent, one million migrants took advantage of your welfare and healthcare system at the expense of the Bulgarian taxpayer? I think not.
– You are again playing with people’s nationalistic feelings. No one is arguing with you weather a country should have specific immigration plans in place. What the Bulgarian public is not happy about is discrimination. You cannot set one rule for one nation and another rule for others and all based on their nationality. Plus, why do you keep saying that migrants take advantage of the welfare and healthcare systems? A lot of migrants in Britain work hard and contribute directly to the net economy, including Bulgarian immigrants! Why are you not concentrating and speaking about the social and health systems themselves and how to make them better so no one ( British and immigrants) takes advantage of them? Also are you saying that British people do not take advantage of these systems while immigrants are doing the jobs no one wants and are paying their taxes?
If I simplify things and mistakenly say the monthly pension in Bulgaria is 100 euros or 138 euros, it matters very little in the large scheme of things. When compared to many western parts of Europe, Bulgaria is a much poorer country. This is not an insult, as you suggest, but a fact. (We shall look at the reasons why Bulgaria is poor later.)
– You say you are not specifically targeting anyone, then what is this comment? What does the economic status of Bulgaria has to do with immigrants in the UK? If an immigrant is in the UK and they are working hard and paying their taxes why does it matter what is happening economically in Bulgaria?
When there are open borders and large divergences in wealth and opportunities between two countries there is usually large-scale emigration. That is a simple fact and has certainly been the British experience post 2004. The naive or misleading politicians who said it would not happen before 2004 have been proved completely wrong.
– You are referring here to what happened with Polish immigration in the UK. Poland is a country of about 38 million people. Bulgaria is a country of about 7.3 million people and 3 million of them have been living in the past 10 years across Europe and America. The two countries are not related in any way. Do you seriously think that the remaining 4.3 million Bulgarians will move to UK in 2014? If that is what you are suggesting then I guess the country will be left to the some 30 000 or more UK nationals that recently moved to Bulgaria…..And even if there is a slight chance in your mad suggestion that these remaining 4.3 million will rush over to Britain in 2014 why haven’t they done this by now? As I stated before they have been able to do so since 2007?
The European Commission said both Bulgaria and Romania had not produced convincing results in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organised crime. It outlined that contract killings were still a major problem in your country.
– Why are you citing reports by the EU if you are the main self-proclaimed Europhobe in Britain? Don’t be a hypocrite. And again what does the state of Bulgarian economy has to do with Britain and lawful immigration in Britain? You are using these numbers, statistics and negative reports as a scare tactics to the British public and you are doing this very selectively. Why are you listing all these negative aspects and not mentioning the good things about Bulgaria? Well, as per what history has thought us, these scare tactics ( fear mongering ) have been used by a lot of other political parties in crisis times in order to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end. The feared object or subject is sometimes exaggerated ( in this case the object is specifically Bulgarian immigrants), and the pattern of fear mongering is usually one of repetition, in order to continuously reinforce the intended effects of this tactic, sometimes in the form of a vicious circle. Some political figures that have used the same tactics you are using are George W. Bush, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, etc…. Why are you not concentrating on UK’s problems but instead you are talking about what is happening in Bulgaria?
The reason that many Bulgarian people are poor is because they are made so by a corrupt political class who profit at the peoples' expense
– Well now that you cleared what everyone else already knows for a long time now, why don’t you concentrate on solving the British issues at hand? Again what is happening in Bulgaria has nothing to do with immigrants who work, live and pay their taxes and contribute to Britain.
What mass emigration will mean for Bulgaria is a huge brain drain, when your bright and best educated young people will leave for Western Europe and your state will be the poorer for it.
– This is the only half- sensible thing you say here. But again it proves that you contradict yourself and have no idea what you are talking about. So you do not want these bright and best educated young people to live and work in the UK and contribute to the British economy? What a mess you have done.
Mass emigration is bad for you, and it is bad for us in the UK.
– Are you insinuating that all immigrants all over the world should go back to their countries of origin? This is the most xenophobic sentence ever written. Are you claiming that immigration is bad for a country? Are you ready to state this to all immigrants here in the UK, even those that are 3rd or 4th generation and have helped build Modern Britain? Or even worse are you stating that only Bulgarian immigration is bad? Isn’t that a very xenophobic and chauvinistic statement? What do you have against Bulgarians and why it is ok for everyone else to come to Britain but Bulgarians?
It is quite normal and rational that many Bulgarian people wish for a better life, but mass emigration out of Bulgaria to the UK is not the answer.
– So basically it is ok for anyone else (British , Indian, American, French etc…) but Bulgarians to migrate? You are promoting free international movement but only for selected nations. This is the most discriminatory thing I have ever heard. Singling out a nation like that surely must be against human rights.
Putting an end to political corruption in your beloved country is
– Putting an end to the xenophobic and highly irrational political rant of a misinformed individual like you Mr Farage is the key to solving the problems here in UK. We need to be speaking about reforms in the social system and health system that will be positive for everyone living and working and contributing to Britain. One thing we should stop doing is wasting our time on discriminating specific people. It doesn’t help anyone the slightest!
A hard working individual who lives, works, owns a home and pays taxes in the UK.
Ah, forgot to mention also a Bulgarian.