In his March 18 article, “As London shows, assimilation is what migration’s about,” Roger Pulvers writes of the great advantages to Britain through mass immigration. I don’t know how well Pulvers knows London, but as a long-term resident let me make a few points in counterbalance.
Pulvers does not believe that requiring “sufficient knowledge” of British customs should be a subtle way of demanding that migrants abandon their way of life. Those of us who happen to live in this crime-ridden city would disagree. Contrary to his belief that ghettos are being formed just because many migrants cannot, or do not wish to, integrate, many fail to learn English, are unable to work and put a huge strain on the educational and health facilities of the country. This is not just the view of “natives,” but also that of many of my Asian friends, who through hard work and talent have built themselves into the structure of the country. It is quite naive to believe that you can transplant peoples from quite different cultures and achieve assimilation.
I recently spent a few days in Japan. It is a society that seems to work. I have never felt so safe or so welcome. Japan must be doing something right when you see children walking the streets alone and in complete safety. I am nervous just walking at night in my quiet, rather boring, neck of the woods! If assimilation is difficult to achieve in Britain, imagine just how much more difficult it will be for Japan, a society that works because it has strict codes of conduct.
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