The controversy surrounding Gordon Brown’s sound bite slogan ‘British jobs for British workers’ is perhaps predictable. The Australians have a vaguely similar slogan that is encountered within Australia which is ‘Australian owned business’ (which could be accused of meaning very little as we need to define who qualifies as an Australian outside anybody who happens to be living there though this slogan is often extended to ‘100% Australian owned’). Both the Australian slogan and Gordon’s British variation do have slightly xenophobic undertones perhaps more readily spouted by far right political parties.
Flag Waving Without Prejudice?
Gordon’s flag waving ditty seems to be part of his attempt to define what it means to be British and an awkward notion of patriotism ( which will probably always have to wrestle itself away from the narrow confines of the far right.)
Of course at the core of such a sentiment is the urban media myth that immigrants are stealing British jobs when largely it’s a repetition of history where many are doing the jobs that many natively born Brits don’t have the inclination or qualifications to do themselves.
Freedom To Roam The EU
We need to remember too that EU members have the freedom to work in any EU member country. Many Brits are seeking to live in Europe and work here or even buy property abroad. If Britain was fully committed to the EU then it would technically be possible for holders of British passports to continue to claim benefits whilst seeking a job in another EU member country.
That brings in that old chestnut, membership of the EU which often seems to go against some people’s sense of isolated Britishness and slight Island mentality and many would argue that the EU is to blame for the current unpopular (if the media be believed) wave of immigration rather than Britain’s economy and widespread unrestricted free market practices that act as an attractor for those seeking to better their lifestyle and career opportunities whilst many existing British citizens have lost their will to work when the cost of living including housing and their inability to make a dent in the sheer expense of living here has ground them down into a lower standard of living than many of them expected to achieve and with many stuck in an ongoing benefits trap.