Posts Tagged ‘Metics’

Cameron Brings Back Ancient Greek Metic System for Migrant Workers

June 22, 2015

I caught on the news this morning that Cameron has just announced legislation limiting the length of time foreign citizens can stay in the UK to six years. Except, of course, for those earning over £35,000, who aren’t bound by such restrictions. Once again, it shows their xenophobia and their hatred of the poor. The rich can stay for as long as they like, never mind the social cleansing they bring with them as working class districts are gentrified and their original occupants pushed out, both traditional British and those of more settled migrant communities.

Worse, the legislation has been backdated to 2011, which means that hardworking migrants, who’ve been over here for four or five years already, are suddenly faced with the problem of having to prepare to leave the UK. This is even when many of them may have already effectively settled down, got married, had children and put money down for property here.

A friend of mine told me how one of his relatives organised protests against similar legislation when it was brought in under John Major. The government then wanted to do exactly what Cameron and co are trying to do now, and the effects on the NHS were exactly as feared by some of the spokespeople for the nurses now. Various representatives for the nurses were shown on the news, voicing their fears that this would devastate the number of nurses actually working in the Health Service. This is precisely what threatened to happen way back in the 1990s. A number of the nurses at the hospital, where my friend’s relative worked, were foreign nationals. These women and men had worked hard, and put down roots in the UK through marriage and purchasing their own homes. They were then faced with being forcibly uprooted from their jobs, families and homes. And so his relative took part in organising a series of protests on their behalf.

Cameron’s new regulations limiting the amount of time poor migrant workers can spend in the UK is basically just a revival of the metic system from ancient Greece. The metics were foreign citizens resident in the ancient Greek city states, usually merchants and traders. They were allowed to remain in the cities for six years. On the seventh year, they had to return to their countries of origin. And so with the modern metics Cameron has effectively created with this legislation. And as with most of the Tories’ policies, it’s very likely a product of their public school education. The education of the aristocracy has always been based solidly on the Classics, to the point where there was a joke about it in the satirical BBC comedies, Yes, Minister, and Yes, Prime Minister. At one point the new prime minister, Jim Hacker, formerly the Minister for Administrative Affairs, is faced with a severe financial crisis. Looking around to find anyone in the government or upper levels of the Civil Service, who might have the necessary expertise to solve the crisis, Hacker is aghast to find that none of them are economists. In exasperation he asks Sir Humphrey if, surely, the head of the Treasury studied economics at Uni. Certainly not, replies Sir Humphrey indignantly, he studied Classics. Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the Toffs now running the country into the ground may have studied more relevant subjects at Uni, but behind this there is the shadow of the British public school education system and its emphasis on the Classics.

Its also pretty much of a piece with the other bits of legislation Cameron and his cronies have introduced. They’ve effectively reintroduced the debt slavery that Solon attempted to legislate against, and with the massive expansion of workfare are effectively reducing the poor and the young to Helots. These were state slaves at the very bottom of Spartan society. And on one day each year, it was legal for the Spartan elite to rob, beat and kill them if they so wished, just to teach them their place. It hasn’t got that bad yet, but you have to wonder if it will, given Cameron and co’s membership of the Bullingdon Club, who I think got their kicks smashing up bars.

Of course, Cameron and his cronies admire ancient Greece as the source of western culture, and the inventors of democracy. But the democracy the ancient Greeks pioneered was very limited. Only citizens, which meant property owners, who did not have to work or run businesses, but lived off their rents, had the vote. This is the concept of democracy that Aristotle celebrates and promotes in his Politics, where he recommends that such citizens have their own, separate forum to that of the rest of the populace, so they don’t have to mix with slaves, artisans, traders and similar riff-raff. And as Cameron has followed the Americans in trying to restrict the franchise to rich property-owners under the guise of rooting out electoral fraud, we can probably look forward to that coming back as well.

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Farage and the Deportation of Europe’s Metics

November 21, 2014

Farage, Fawkes and Deporting Myleene Klass

Mike over at Vox Political has published a lot on his blog over the past few days, which I definitely want to reblog. One of the pieces of news he tackled was the accusation by UKIP’s Fuehrer, Farage, and Guido Fawkes, that a female labour candidate had demanded the deportation of Myleene Klass. Klass had joined Griff Rhys Jones and other members of rich and selfish in complaining about Labour’s proposed Mansion Tax. The Labour lady had replied by suggesting that if Klass didn’t like it, she could simply emigrate.

This in itself shouldn’t be controversial, as in the past a number of other rich celebs have threatened to emigrate if Labour got in and raised taxes. These have included Phil Collins, and, I think, Paul Daniels. However, Farage and Fawkes seized on it, and started shouting that as Klass was the daughter of an Austrian father and Filipino mother, the Labour politico had demanded her deportation.

Not true. As Mike points out, emigration is voluntary. Furthermore, the Labour lady had made absolutely no mention of Klass’ immigrant background. She was demanding she consider emigration as rich woman, who obviously didn’t like a particular Labour policy. Her Britishness wasn’t in question, as she would have joined others like herself, like Collins. The only people shouting about deportation were Farage and Fawkes, and in their cases it looks highly hypocritical.

The ‘I’ the other day covered a story in which both Farage and his Conservative opponents were accused of using the language of the BNP. In the election campaign for Rochester and Strood, Farage had suggested that EU immigrants be limited by a fixed term of residence in Britain. They would then be forced to leave after the term had expired.

Farage and the Introduction of Fixed Terms of Residence for Immigrants

You can tell Farage had an expensive, public school education, as this is essentially the metic system from ancient Greece, dressed up for a return in 21st century Britain. In ancient Greece, foreign merchants and tradesmen could reside in the various Greek city states for a period of seven years. After the seven years were over, these resident foreigners – metics – would have to return to their home countries. Classics have always been one of the staples of the public school curriculum, and it shows that, whatever Farage claims to the contrary, his outlook is still very much one of the privileged upper classes. He is definitely not standing with your average British worker.

Tories: Only BNP Represent White Working Class

The Tories also managed to get themselves mixed up in this controversy when one of them stated that the only party that stood for the White working class were the BNP. Well, that must explain why they go around beating up trade unionists, Socialists, Communists and activists for women’s rights, as well as Blacks, Asians, Liberals and anyone who looks at them funny. Guido Fawkes, although a Tory, is no exception to this. He’s very much a man of the very hard Right, and so to hear him shouting that Labour is demanding the deportation of foreigners is hypocritical, to say the least.

Farage and Fawkes Hypocrites on Deportation

The whole accusation directed against the Labour lady actually strikes me as a piece of deliberate misdirection and obfuscation by Farage and Fawkes in order to draw attention away from the fact that UKIP and the Tories really are demanding the expulsion of foreigners.

And in the case of UKIP, they don’t just want to drag us back to the Victorian period, but all the way back to ancient Greece in the fifth century BC. They don’t get more reactionary than that.