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Book Review: ‘Bloody Foreigners’

November 3rd, 2009 Posted in Book Review by

Hello my lovely, liberal darlings. It seems a large part of the Liberal Vision cabal have found themselves flung to the far reaches of the planet this week. Julian Harris is in Holland, Angela is in Las Vegas and I’m in the sunny, little haven that is the United Arab Emirates.

So in honour of this group effort to be on holiday (well, Harris is on a business trip but whatever) I thought I’d do a post to venerate my beach side reading.  ‘Bloody Foreigners’ by Robert Winder is actually a book I am obliged to read for my “Politics of Migration and Ethnicity” course at Uni. Despite being completely factual it is written as a story and is a thoroughly enjoyable read as well as an academic work.

If you think you know Britain or the British in any sense, think again. Somethings we take for granted as genuinely primordial (like Fish and Chips and Marks and Spencers) have rather more exotic origins than you may previously have thought.

Winder makes the point: “immigrants are often, and by definition, entrepreneurial risk-takers and rule-flouters, with a keen sense of individual liberty. The big idea of globalisation … is that the world should uproot the barriers to the free flow of trade. Yet few of the world’s richest countries are happy to extend this freedom to the free flow of labour.” –> Quite!

Anyone interested in migration, politics, sociology and/or anthropology should read this book. It is genuinely eye-opening – did you know, for example, that Enoch Powell was a willing volunteer to recruit workers for Britain’s labour force and eagerly traveled to the West Indies to do so? I didn’t.

Furthermore it shows how healthy immigration can be at it’s best and we see the best a lot more than we see the worst. If you’re not convinced then read this book. Be in no doubt that we should feel bloody proud that people who choose to immigrate choose our country above others. Winder says it best, “immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.”

2 Responses to “Book Review: ‘Bloody Foreigners’”

  1. Jack Hughes Says:


    Have you ever visited … Wales or … Scotland ?

    Just wondering when you write about “Britain” and “the British”.

  2. Sara Scarlett Says:

    First of all my name is “Sara” not Sarah…

    Yes, I have visited Wales and Scotland, thank you for asking.

    For the sake of this book the author uses British to mean the England, Wales and Scotland (but not modern Northern Ireland as it didn’t exist at the chronological beginning of the book). He does, however, deal with the definition of British so it’s the Authors definition rather than mine.