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Mind your language: Postmaster insists on English . . .

by Coryphaeus / March 21, 2009 12:58 AM PDT
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An "English first"...
by Angeline Booher / March 21, 2009 2:47 AM PDT

...... provision for government business was defeated here a couple of months ago.

"She replied she preferred to speak in her mother tongue ...... " so apparently she could speak English.

..... one in seven children at state-run primary schools did not speak English as their first language. I think kids speak the tongue of their parents in the home. But they pick up English very easily to use away from home in short order.

I did not see what resources the postmaster had for when interpreters were needed. I'm not sure of this employment status there, but I suspect he is a civil servant so must answer to higher ups.

"...... a bill through parliament which would require people to speak English if they want to earn British citizenship. That seems to be a reasonable approach.

(Am I mistaken in that those who enter from countries once under Colonial rule are already citizens?)

Speakeasy Moderator

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You are mistaken that those who were once colonials...
by Paul C / March 21, 2009 9:06 AM PDT
In reply to: An "English first"...

are automatically British citizens.

AIR, that status only applies to those people who were citizens of the British Commonwealth of Nations - the weak replacement for the Empire - and their descendants. IOW, you would have to apply for British citizenship, since your homeland had the temerity to opt out before you were allowed to. Devil

Since the Brits long ago gave up any interest in controlling immigration - yes, they're worse than the U.S. - they now have have "relatives" of legal immigrants who seek to make Britain an Islamic "republic."

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Paul, sorry but it's more complex than that
by Ziks511 / March 24, 2009 12:30 AM PDT

British Commonwealth citizens used to have the right to emigrate to Britain while retaining their original citizenship, their children however became citizens if born there. The situation now is that if you have a grandparent who emigrated from Britain you have the Right to Work there. If you have a mother who was born there, you have Right of Abode and the Right to Work. If your father was a British citizen and your mother was of foreign birth then you are a citizen. Go figure.

My mother was born in England, my father's family emigrated in the mid 19th Century and ultimately settled in Maryland, and were almost certainly fisher people since that's what they did in Scotland. So I qualified for Right of Abode, not citizenship.

There was a large Jamaican influx in the 1950's followed by race riots in London's then slum-like now fashionable Notting Hill region, and other cities too. There was a nasty anti-immigrant and anti-black movement led by Enoch Powell, a Conservative MP, who is probably in Wikipedia. All of this led to changes in the laws governing admission, residence, work, and citizenship.

If you want an interesting slant on the whole question, but not necessarily the truth, you can rent Absolute Beginners, a Musical about Notting Hill and the coalition of politicians and property developers who fomented trouble. I don't know how accurate this is, I haven't done the research, but I did move to and work in Britain with my wife from 1997 through 2001, so the details about citizenship are correct.


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if you associate a speech with a country
by jonah jones / March 24, 2009 3:11 AM PDT
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problem solved, he left his job
by jonah jones / March 21, 2009 3:33 AM PDT

Abida Raja, whose family runs the branch, said they had to take action. He said: "It was my brother's decision because obviously he was very upset by those comments, because we're losing customers because of it.

"He had to do something about it, because obviously we don't feel that way about anyone else, we don't discriminate against any customer coming in, because obviously the customers keep the business going."


although there are "Post Offices", this particular branch is probably in a grocers or newsagent shop, usually open 20 hours a day and run by a family who emigrated to the UK 20-30+ years ago from Pakistan

an interesting read:
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I sympathize with him
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 21, 2009 11:24 PM PDT

I know that shop as I lived in Nottingham for 10 years mid 70's to mid 80's and had used it a couple of times. Never saw him though, but that was over 20 years ago now, and I can't remember if it was just a Post Office or a combined shop as well. I suppose you would call it a Drug Store in the US.

I sympathize with him in a way. His comments;

"When I came to England I obeyed the British way of life, I got into the British way of life.

"That is what I ask everyone else to do - respect the country where you are working and living."

make a lot of sense. We have a tendency, us British. If we go abroad to a non-English speaking country we shout to make ourselves understood, Happy

It doesn't work very well in countries like France, Germany, Italy. They just look at us with disdain. The first time I went to Spain for a holiday, I tried my best when shopping to speak Spanish. Hopelessly of course, and I got a lot of laughs, but the Spaniards appreciated me trying, and I was a little better the next time.

Surely, if you are going to emigrate to another country, you learn the language and customs. Otherwise, why go?

It's not always necessary of course. I had a lady friend who is a Hindu, and she took me to an Indian wedding, (the party after the wedding), some years ago. Everyone spoke in their own language of course, and normally men and women are segregated in these functions but my friend stuck me to her like glue, and I sat with all the women. I had a whale of a time with them and thoroughly enjoyed myself.


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I don't know if you'll agree with me Mark, but the English
by Ziks511 / March 24, 2009 1:02 AM PDT
In reply to: I sympathize with him

have less of an inclination to withhold their opinions, but a greater tolerance for variation. Now maybe this is because the minority population in Britain is so small. I, as a WASP with the ability to generally adapt to British speech patterns because I learned them at home, was told by one of my work-mates "Tha' saounds really foreign".

I never could get round to the sing song Hi'ya which is said with the same musical lilt as "Air ball", or the English variation of "D'you think so?" which is "D'you reckon?" For casual conversation "reckon" is used more than the word "think", though this may be both a class background and a proximity to London issue.

Basildon where I lived and worked is one of the post war communities to which the bombed out population of East London was moved. I had a work mate who was a real Cockney, and we'd have slanging matches at one another until I gave up because my vocabulary just couldn't stretch far enough, or we'd both break up laughing. Her name was Marie, pronounced in the English fashion MAH-ri and I miss her quite a lot. She was the embodiment of all that was great and good in East London, the poorest area with the most remarkable spirit.

Went to a Panto in an old original Music Hall down the East End that had been preserved. A wonderful evening compounded by my actually contributing a couple of Music Hall songs to everyone's delight (blush, blush). They didn't expect a Colonial to know "They're moving Fahver's Grive to build a Sewah" or "Except for the Houses in Between". In the first song Father haunts the indoor plumbing of the upper crust "for they had the bleedin' nerve/ To muck about an English Workman's Grive." The second is a paean of praise to the family's new accommodations (rented) and the wonderful view, which recedes with each passing verse, because of the "houses in between".


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Context. The story originated in the Daily Mail
by Ziks511 / March 23, 2009 11:04 PM PDT

a working class Conservative tabloid newspaper. This doesn't mean the story is wrong or not worth reading, but it certainly falls right into the Daily Mail's nationalistic anti-immigrant "sweet spot".

Should you care to, you can look up Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe via Wikipedia.

As an interesting side-light for the aviation afflicted, Lord Northcliffe commissioned a personal aircraft from the Bristol Aircraft Works and was presented with an all metal twin engined aircraft which while somewhat behind the curve by American standards viz. the Douglas DC 2 and the Boeing 347 and the Lockheed aircraft like the Lodestar coming on line at that point, was substantially faster than any British or American, or perhaps even German fighter in service at the time. The Air Ministry quickly issued a procurement order for what became the Bristol Blenheim which was obsolete by Sept 1939. It was just one of those points where fighter design was in the process of taking a big leap, and the Blenheim that was faster than any biplane, was slower than every aircraft put up against it and vulnerable to light flak. They were shot from the skies in droves (cliche cliche) over France in 1940. They became the first of Britains night fighters, but they had trouble catching up to the German bombers, though a number were successful.

Your point, I hear a strangled cry? The name of the aircraft: "Britain First". Says i' all, dunnit?


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Sorry, that should be Harold Harmsworth Alfred's brother
by Ziks511 / March 23, 2009 11:29 PM PDT

and partner in publishing 1st Viscount Rothermere who was responsible for the Bristol 135 monoplane.

Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, the last person to act as Prime Minister while sitting in the House of Lords, an enormous (6'5" 300+ pounds) and a brilliant man and arch Conservative, characterized the Daily Mail as "a newspaper written by office boys for office boys".

Alfred Harmsworth was the progenitor of the Harmsworth trophy for speedboats.


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Other curiousities. Immigrants who support nationalist
by Ziks511 / March 24, 2009 12:33 AM PDT

movements in Wales and Scotland. Not their own original nations, the nationalist movements that led to the Welsh Parliament and the Scottish Parliament and "devolution" of powers to them.


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