I’ve just finished the chapter in Angier’s excellent book, “Woman: an intimate geography” where she unpacks the mystery and the wonder of the ovaries and human egg. I don’t have kids (yet?) but I now rest in the knowledge that I am not only carrying around potential lives within me, but migrants. Because no matter who I marry, as I am a migrant, the Daily Express assures me today, my (potential) children are part of a hidden horde of migrants, poised to invade Britain from within.
The stain of migration will apparently never wash clean.* I’m sure my children will emerge from the womb with a benefits form in one hand and the keys to a council house in another. They will go on to steal a “real” British child’s nursery place, which is really just a warm up for snatching their job later. And their benefits. At the same time.
For two weeks in that heady 2012 Olympic summer, Britain was proud of her diverse history. The Mail’s “plastic Brits” splash featuring Mo Farah and others (Brits by passport only, not really one of us apparently) was derided as ridiculous and nasty.
It was a good summer. And now we’re in a long, cold winter of discontent in the run-up to the elections. The race to exclude has gone from non-EEA migrants, to EU migrants, to anyone who marries a migrant, to the next generation – who are, for all intents and purposes, British. Where to next? It’s a shameless race to the bottom. Perhaps as more and more of the “right” Brits get ensnared in the net of suspicion there will be a collective pushback. Are you loving the right person? Are you having kids with the right person? Now….where in history have we seen this sort of insidious messaging before?
* and this is why I wear the label of migrant with pride.