Two words Britain should say to her immigrants — thank you

There are stories that just get to you.

This morning’s Guardian brings news of a campaign to boost the number of blood donors in Britain.

A sunny, upbeat tale, you might think. And in part it is.

The campaign in question is the brainchild of the British Poles Initiative. Organisers want newcomers to the UK to donate blood in the hopes of countering hostile attitudes towards immigrants.

This is heartwarming, in one sense, but in another it is profoundly disturbing that immigrants feel they must swear a blood oath to prove their loyalty.

If there is any group whose commitment to our country is not in question, it is surely immigrants, who have left behind their friends and often their families in pursuit of a better life here.

And in doing so, they have brought an abundance of benefits to Britain. So instead of migrants donating blood, welcome though that is, Britain should say thank you to its most recent citizens, from Poland and elsewhere.

Here is a small beginning; please share your own reasons on social media:

Thank you to the 7.8 million people born abroad now living in Britain. You make up more than one in ten of our population.

Thank you European immigrants for putting £20bn into our economy in just ten years.

Thank you immigrants from outside Europe. You contributed a further £5bn in the same decade.

Thank you EU migrants for being so highly educated. You are more likely than native-born Brits to hold a university degree.

Thank you for saving us £49bn. That’s the estimated cost of providing people born here with the skills you have brought.

Thank you for how hard you work, especially if you are from a European Union country. You are more likely to be in employment than those born and raised in the UK.

Thank you for being net contributors to our welfare state. You are 43% less likely than native-born Britons to claim benefits.

Thank you to soldiers from the Commonwealth. You represent more than ten per cent of British Army troops.

Thank you for making up one out of every ten NHS or community health worker.

Thank you for comprising one-quarter of all NHS doctors.

And thank you for the blood. We’re starting to think we couldn’t run the NHS without you…

Thank you for Clive James and Kazuo Ishiguro, Iris Murdoch and Oscar Wilde.

Thank you for kåldolmar and pierogi, kheer and gulab jamun. Thank you for banana and cashew halva, though my blood sugar levels might disagree.

Thank you for Tomasz Schafernaker. Good Lord, thank you for Tomasz Schafernaker.

Thank you for Isaiah Berlin and Henry James, Sigmund Freud and Handel.

Thank you for Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha, Owen Hargreaves and John Barnes.

Thank you for Mo Farah, Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, and Kevin Pietersen too. (Sorry, butlook at him.)

Thank you for Marks and Spencer. The high street favourite was co-founded in 1884 by Michael Marks, a Belarusian Jew.

Thank you for starting up one in every seven million-pound companies in the UK. Taken together, your firms are behind 14% of jobs in our country.

Thank you for my local Polski sklep and the cute guy behind the counter who sells me my ogórki kiszone.

Thank you for not expecting anyone to thank you for any of this.

Thank you for choosing us, that makes many of us feel proud.

Thank you for choosing Britain, it wouldn’t be Britain without you.

Originally published on STV News

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