I overheard quite the conversation a while back. A change from the usual, “I left because of the immigrants, no-one spoke English, the corner shop was taken over by Poles, who turned out worse than Ali.” A change because, although the continued diatribe followed the normal route and was met by yeah,yeah,yeahs and fierce nods of the head, the nodding head belonged to a woman between 30 and 40 with three kids in tow.
Her Hispanophone partner had left her at the café terrace with a kiss for the toddler in one of those convert-a-car child buggies that cost as much as an old second hand car, and a cursory wave for the other two children.
The red-faced, beefy man in the singlet and tattoos gave her a look.
‘Only José Antonio is Miguel’s…’ she said.
‘He pay for him?’
‘It’s complicated,’ she said.
Beefy finally started asking the woman something instead of paraphrasing Britain First Facebook posts,
‘Why d’you come, then?’
‘Same as you, all those immigrants, comin’ over, scroungin’ our benefits…’
‘I seen you, workin’ in The Black Horse, ditten I?’
‘Um, yeah, not been there for a while…’
‘No, I loved it, extra money was sound.’
‘Why d’you go, then?’
‘Some fuckin’ tourist ponce threatened to dob me in at the social…’
‘The Seguridad Social?’
‘Naw… in UK, me benefits.’
‘Livin’ here and claimin’ from home?’
‘Yeah. I’m entitled.’
I went to drink in another bar.
The content of this conversation is more or less true to life, less offensive in most respects than the real thing, however. I hear this kind of thing so very often, the broad thrust of what the man says and the breezy insouciance of the fraudulent claimants. It is unusual to get both at once. I don’t know how many people over here are living on UK benefits, but, it is a reflection of how little they would get as someone resident on the Seguridad Social over here.
Now the agreement is that immigrants from within the EU are entitled to the benefits available in their country of residence: someone is screwing the system and it isn’t the Poles in the UK.