Shameful British Bar on Workers Labels Bulgaria as Second-Class

Views on BG | December 6, 2006, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 33
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Sir: I was the British ambassador to Bulgaria from 1989 to 1994. During that time the communist dictator was ousted, the communist regime was overthrown, democracy - with free elections - and a market economy were adopted, and Zhivkov's persecution of the ethnic Turkish and other Muslim minorities (an early form of ethnic cleansing) was halted.

The new, democratic government looked up to the UK as a model and mentor, and we encouraged reform from top to bottom, with aid programmes in local government, policing, democratically accountable security and defence forces, the environment, the humane care of disabled people, and in many other fields. At the same time we expected the Bulgarians to abide by the sanctions regime that we and our allies had imposed on Serbia, and they did so even though it probably hurt them more than the Serbs, by cutting off their vital trading routes to Western Europe.

Later, the Bulgarians were welcomed into Nato, and they have contributed to coalition forces in Iraq. They scrapped their UK visa regime (while we maintained our against them) and welcomed British investors and property developers. And their economy began to grow, faster than most others in Europe.

We encouraged Bulgaria to apply for membership of the European Union. This cherished goal will be achieved in a month's time, and will draw a line under half a century of oppression and tyranny. But instead of welcoming the Bulgarians back into the European fold, our pusillanimous government have chosen to label them - and the Romanians - as second-class EU members by denying them the working rights, which have already been accorded to the other new members from former communist Europe. That by doing so we are also denying ourselves the economic benefits of an addition to our workforce of well-motivated and skilled immigrants is almost beside the point. We have behaved despicably, and I would be ashamed, as a one-time resident apostle of all things worthy and noble about Britain, to show my face again in Bulgaria.

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» To the forumComments (33)
Rob - 17 Dec 2006 // 21:32:13

The Independent headed my letter to the editor as "European Insult to Bulgaria".
Sir: As one who spent many years travelling round Bulgaria in search of authentic folk music between 1976 and 1993, may I put in a word for the Bulgarians I came to know?

In researching folk music I followed in the footsteps of the marvellous Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, visiting and recording instrumental playing and singing of the Bulgarian people, old and young, and got to know the real people in all parts of the country. They were an absolute delight and gave me so much without ever asking for anything in return.

Naturally, they had, and still have, my admiration and true friendship. I find it disgusting that our politicians should talk of admitting them to the "European Union" on certain conditions only. If we are to have a true European union surely all its members should have the same rights. Otherwise, change its name to, say, "European Club".

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 13:31:49

"...not rob our wealth and said it to that awful place but hey... whadda I know, skin?)..."

Read 'said' as 'SEND'...

I despise folks who come here, help themselves to our wealth and send it back to the lands that they remain loyal to even though they look for a better life on my turf.

Sorry but England is like an extended version of an Englishman/woman's house and if you barge into somebody's house and start re-arranging things and acquiring things for the benefit of your own house somewhere whilst in the throes of one's hospitality you must expect repercussions, mustn't you?

It's high time people who set foot here fell in love with England and all our heritage and became one of us otherwise they should stay in their own holes. This IS NOT too much to ask, really!

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 13:22:46

Bill: "It's taken a lot of hard work and diplomacy to bring about the truce we now have. Please don't reignite it."

Your honour, I hereby 'pack' my case and squeal! What gilded words of turd Bill presents us plain mortals with! Truce, diplomacy!

I care not about religion and whatever offence my banter might cause any religious bigot. I care not about God or whatever his name might be and I should be free (as a pre-requisite) to deride all things pertaining to any religion.

I am a Wiccan Pagan but far from fanatical and if anyone wants to ridicule the path I somewhat follow then give it your best shot! I take the piss out of all religions for a kickoff but I commend Jak from The Republic and his wench on deciding to 'go native' whilst visiting Iran. That's what I expect of people arriving from foreign lands to our beautiful England. You have to become one of us to enjoy our freedom's beauty. You, my dear invader have an obligation to be one of us if you set foot here and not exploit our wealth for your sole benefit and then send it back to foreign land. When you arrive here I expect you to sing "England 'til I die" with hand on heart!

Bill, you take this forum so seriously and I still maintain that it is almost excruciatingly laughable if you are so wound up by what a youngish American wench like DA has to say. Your reactions are about as infantile as one could possibly conceive of which is quite intriguing against the background of your apparent 'OLD SCHOOL SOPHISTICATION'.

Life is about taking the piss out of everything. Look at the Paddys. They take the piss out of themselves and they are pretty much universally loved for that very reason. My Paddy mate from Limerick keeps telling me just how similar his countrymen are to the Basque people. "We are both groups of charismatic pykies and terrorists at the best of times', he says with a lilting voice that intensifies the listener's thunderous laughter!

My other mate who happens to be black and is more patriotic to England (he was born and bred in Banbury, Oxon to two Nigerian parents) than any fellow pale-skin mongrel keeps joking about how he hates his own 'chocolate salty balls' but "somebody's gotta have them". He often treats me to a series of 'nigger' jokes that have me in stitches and he's one of the most popular people you'd ever meet. That's why we English are special because we are all really mongrels but at the end of the day we can stand up and the take the piss out of ourselves with gay abandon. You should try that, Bill!

By the way, we seem more than focked in The Ashes now and all the Chrimble and New Year cheer is looming. I don't mind Chrimble as I get to see folks I haven't seen all year and I get to pig out indiscriminantly as well but my attitude to over-zealous New Year celebrations remains defined by two great words, "BAH HUMBUG"...

Bill - 9 Dec 2006 // 07:48:16


It's taken a lot of hard work and diplomacy to bring about the truce we now have. Please don't reignite it.

Naurally I take offense at character assassination, especially when my religion gets dragged into it, and I think anybody else would.

The fact that anyone disagrees with me I can accept, but being called everything in the book for believing the way I do is out of line.

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 07:40:35

Bill, I have to intervene. Nobody can denigrate one's intelligence but oneself! You have over-reacted big style to young DA's remarks which she is absolutely free to air on this forum and wherever else she wishes!

You are treating this situation as some kind of a conflict WHERE NONE EXISTS, for fock's sake! Who cares that you are old-fashioned and you firmly believe that your generation is somehow superior and was nowhere near as devoid of values in days of yore as all of us "mods" happen to be today.

I have a lot of time for you, Bill but your retaliation to DA's alleged assertions is laughable at best. It's a tragi-comedy. How a wonderfully intellectual and articulate old fogey such as your good self can get so wound up by what a sweet young bird's got to spew is beyond me. Whatever floats your boat, son!

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 07:28:46

I reckon thew United States definitely has the COOL FACTOR. Mackinack Island, for my money! I've only been to California and TX but "Somewhere Inn Time" made me fall in love with Mackinack Island :-)

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 07:26:04


All you foreigners moan about 'Anglo-Saxon mentality'. Bloody hell! What utter twaddle! We have the right under idiotic EU laws (which for some dastardly reason allow free movement of inferior people from the EU into my country - that's despicable!!!) to impose transitional restrictions on accession countries for up to seven years. We let all the horrible Poles in and now Tony and his cronies have taken cognisance of their colossal blunder and have correctly imposed limits on them vulgar Bulgars (they should only allow those that give up their BG allegiance and become one of us and not rob our wealth and said it to that awful place but hey... whadda I know, skin?)...

Stop getting your knickers in a twist and babbling on about lack of fairness on our part. Criticise the dumb Froggies and Krauts. They don't wanna know you. They see you as second-class citizens same way as they still see the Polocks, Slovaks and the rest of the EU8 riffraff!

As for the Anglo-Saxon mentality, it is but this very mentality that brought administration, legislation and cricket to all of our colonies. I'm neither an apologist nor am I a fervent admirer of the Empire but nobody can deny that the English-speaking New World has prospered whereas European colonies have wilted and have quite frankly always been insignificant. In laymen's terms... the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and not least of all BEAUTIFUL AUSTRALIA are all decent places to reside in (is it a coincidence they are all Anglophone???)... You draw your conclusions about superiority from here on then, knob!

Bloke from Alrewas off the A38 - 9 Dec 2006 // 07:12:19

Thank fock it is not run by Europeans. I can't think of anything worse than Europeans running whatever it is they might run. Europeans are the lowest of the low and should be subjected to ethnic cleansing (starting with the Froggies and continuing with the Krauts, Spaniards, Poles, Italians, and the like). I have had it up to here with Europeans - all dumb and intolerant twatheads!

Fair play to Hawaii that it is not run by backward Europeans but by the rightful people. I wish all Europeans would lreave England especially all them Frogs who never assimilate into our culture! Can't think of more foreign idiots than the Froggies, Krauts and Italians!

Hawaii sounds beautiful! I plan to go there on a vacation in the summer of 2008. I'm making arrangements for that! Can't wait! I like tranquillity and I certainly don't need pathetic overly-ebullient nightlife crap! It is not my cuppa at all!

Cheers Mo for 'enlightening' me that no European is involved in the running of Hawaii. I'd have been very annoyed if some Frog, Kraut, Italian, or a dirty Pole were involved in the running of such a beautiful and wondrous place as Hawaii.

jak - 8 Dec 2006 // 19:32:18

HD: "Cambridge is just up the road. Now there is a cool place for a small city."

I've been to Cambridge and yes, it is well cool. I stopped off on my way back from a trip to Norwich (don't ask).

Hairydave - 8 Dec 2006 // 18:22:24


Ipswich - wow. what a place.
I mean if you get a chance to go there.....

Bloody don't. Stick pins in your eyes, bathe your genitalia in acid - they'll be more pleasurable than going to Ipswich.
However - Cambridge is just up the road. Now there is a cool place for a small city.

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 15:55:18

Anywhere within 4 foot of Hairydave?
yeeeeehaaaaawwwwwww!!! Guaranteed!

cherrycolapanda - 8 Dec 2006 // 12:39:38

I wish Bulgaria well and hope the country will go from strength to strength.

As a British citizen I am ashamed of the British governments treatment of Bulgaria and how they appear to have changed " the goal posts" regarding E.U. membership.

Surely the purpose of being "part" of and a "member" of a community is to "share"

Being part of the E.U. was for free movement of the labour work force !!!

Britain has lost a lot of their traditional values.

Don't let this happen in Bulgaria.

Best wishes


jak - 8 Dec 2006 // 12:28:22

HD: "I've only been to Plovdiv once, and hated it. Perhaps I ought to give it another go."

Well, I'm sure it's no Ipswich, but it has its charm :-D

Did you go visit the area around the old city?

Robin - 8 Dec 2006 // 11:44:04


"I think back then it was cool. At least Hollywood showed us that it is."

Or maybe Hollywood was being a little economical with the truth.....

Actually, personally I think the US is still a pretty cool place, but maybe you have to look a bit harder nowadays. I went there a number of times in my childhood and loved it. I then went a few times in my early 20s and also loved it. Haven't been for almost 10 years now and have no intention of going there in the near future because of it's current politics (I don't want some border guard getting his rubber gloves on just because I blinked once too often!), but I'd still love to go again in the future sometime.

Hairydave - 8 Dec 2006 // 11:39:00

I've only been to Plovdiv once, and hated it.
Perhaps I ought to give it another go.

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