READING NOTE: United Kingdom – The Daily Telegraph. So long, Poles -We Enjoyed your Stay!


Title: The Daily Telegraph
Date of Birth: June 1855
Domains covered: News, Lifestyle, Culture
Circulation: 842, 912
Orientation: Right of Centre
Web site:
Author: Harry de Quetteville
Title: Polish immigrants leaving Britain: What the Poles did for us
Subtitle: Britain’s Polish workers are heading home in search of a better life – and it’s our loss
Issue: 23/09/2008
Amidst the doom and gloom of Britain »s collapsing economy, the Telegraph has found another reason to be miserable: the alleged departure of thousands of Polish workers who came to the UK following Poland »s accession to the EU.
In 2004, thousands of Poles trekked across Europe to try and make their fortunes in the UK. Praised for a ‘strong work ethic », the new arrivals injected a much-needed source of young labour into the market, adding an estimated 6 billion to Britain »s annual Gross Domestic Product. However, having left behind family and friends, most intended to return once the Polish economy picked up, as it has duly done. Combined with Britain »s economic slump, shrinking jobs market and a falling exchange rate, it seems there is little left for Polish workers in the UK.
The EU »s open borders make it difficult to ascertain the veracity of claims of a mass Polish exodus: many doubt that the Polish workers really are leaving as a result of the economic crisis. What is interesting, however, are the various attitudes expressed towards their alleged departure. Bizarrely, even those who typically resented the presence of the Poles are now treating their departure with some upset and a sense of being abandoned when times grow hard. De Quetteville offers an unusual perspective and bids the Poles a teary farewell as they pack their bags. In his opinion, they will take with them more than just their work tools – they will take their traditions, values and morals.
According to Paul Stathman, professor of sociology at Bristol University, « the Polish influx was like importing our parents » generation into today »s UK. It has been about values – a mass arrival of people with traditional values that have been eroded here. » In the Telegraph »s (rather Conservative) reading of events, the Poles brought much to Britain »s social fabric, providing a dose of old fashioned simplicity as an antidote to the soulless, financial spirit dominating the UK today. Reading the article one wonders whether its focus is really the Polish immigrants, or if it isn »t rather a critique of British society, which has lost its way in the modern world. Nevertheless, De Quetteville »s social take on immigration is interesting and his celebration of the effects of cultural diversity on British society is not one that is usually heard in conservative circles.
Find Out More:
Polish immigration in the UK is not a new phenomenon. This article, on a site about London »s different communities, tells the story of the various waves of Polish immigration, looking at how the various groups have integrated in British society and interaction between them.
An article questioning the truth of statistics about the numbers of Polish workers living in the UK.
Website of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain

Katherine Morris

Catégories : Archives · À qui profite l'Europe ? Identités, classes sociales et représentations