Page 6, 7th June 2002

7th June 2002
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Page 6, 7th June 2002 — An immigrant who fails the tennis test
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Organisations: Catholic Church
Locations: Cambridge

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An immigrant who fails the tennis test

Keywords: Social Issues

Personal view Fiorella Sultana de Maria

Ihave insulted my adopted country irreparably. Last year at Wimbledon, I supported Ivanisevic. Why not Henman, you might ask? Well, I supported him too, but in the end, Goran's tendency to cross himself copiously all over the court won out. I failed the tennis test. It is obviously time for me to go back where I came from before I destroy the cultural integrity of England any further.

The accep tance of "British norms" as a requirement for entry into the UK is much vaunted by politicians and journalists alike, but what does it actually mean?

What are "British norms" in 2002? The reason I ask this is that, given my understanding of what actually constitutes a British norm for a member of my post-Thatcherite generation, I have to confess that I am not in the least bit integrated and have no intention of being. The reason is that I ascribe to a creed that is widely regarded as foreign and a value system profoundly at odds with contemporary English culture.

In the midst of a 'me' society where one fifth of Cambridge graduates aim straight for the City, this rival value system tells me that there is more to life than making money.

Ican't take it with me, it will not make me happy and instead, I should have a social conscience and think of those worse off than myself. English society tells me that human life has no value.

We are biological machines to be switched off when we become old and burdensome or dismembered in the womb if we are unwanted. I ought to go along with it if I am to be worthy of my naturalisation certificate, but yet again, this rival value system tells me that the destruction of human life is intrinsically evil and that life is sacred.

When my student union left condoms in my pigeonhole, I should have found an opportunity to use them to prove how westemised I was. When they gave me a "welfare handbook" laying out British norms regarding the mandatory exploitation of the body, it was surely ingratitude on my part that I felt as though I were reading about the practices and ideals of an alien tribe to which I could never belong.

So you see, I am a non-integrated immigrant; this rival foreign institution called the Catholic Church wins my loyalties every time. I would fail the "Bloody Question" without even being stretched on the rack. As I have said before, to be a Catholic in modern Britain is to be a rebel, a seditious outsider who stubbornly refuses to accept the status quo. In short, a person who refuses to accept "British norms." Are we all traitors then? Are we all evil foreigners sponging off the government and unsettling the equilibrium of this green and pleasant land?

These are not facetious questions. Those who perpetually complain about the unwillingness of certain groups to assimilate must ask themselves exactly what it means to assimilate into English culture and whether they are helping by assuming that immigrants are criminals.

I would imagine that AngloSaxon gangs are more than a match for their Eastern European counterparts and when it comes to certain cultures treating women disrespectfully, England's ethnic majority can more than give them a run for their money with 25% of women suffering domestic violence and the systematic deception of women by such matters as abortion and contraception.

Before advocating the withdrawal of all benefits to asylum-seekers, I would like to ask whether the proponents of such schemes really advocate refusing people medical treatment, education, housing or financial support as some sort of loyalty test.

I am not pretending that the problems caused by immigration are easy to solve, not do I think for a moment that immigrants should not be encouraged to learn English and to think of England as home, but when it comes to accepting British norms, it is debatable as to whether it is possible or desirable for any of us.




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