Welcome to Poland: ‘immigrants have changed Hereford’

Enlightened national bog roll, the Daily Mail, has claimed Herefordians are so fed up with east European migrants ‘flooding’ into the area that we all think Hereford would be better off named Poland.

“Many residents are concerned about the pressure the migrants and their children are putting on schools and other services, while others fear the town is losing its distinctive character,” said the paper.

“Resident John Bull, 45, said: ‘I think a lot of people are concerned that the town now feels more like Kraków than a traditional market town.

“‘There is a real frustration that the Poles are taking over the area.

“‘I applaud the people who changed the town’s sign because that’s how lots of people feel – it’s not Hereford anymore.'” Apparently.

So we at Heckler HQ have been wondering, what has actually changed about Hereford since the east Europeans have started living and working here? And how are Polish people ‘taking over the area’?

The religion is the same, the food is more or less the same, the fashions are the same, there’s no segregated east Europeans areas (with the exception of several rural farm camps)… All we can see is that a few empty shops have been reopened as foreign food stores and you now hear Polish and Lithuanian (amongst other languages) spoken on the streets instead the usual local and Welsh accents. Are we missing something? Perhaps we are.

So let’s open this out: how, specifically, are east Europeans taking over Herefordshire? And how are they changing it for the worse?

19 thoughts on “Welcome to Poland: ‘immigrants have changed Hereford’

  1. As you say, empty shops are now filled with interesting products. The supermarkets too have East European sections. I used to get some Polish buckwheat in Asda. It came in a pack with little sachets inside, each containing enough to make one meal. I wish they still had it. You can count on the Daily Mail to stir things up, The paper has never been renowned for Xenophilia.

  2. as much as i agree with globalization, i think we are becoming too over ran with them

    My younger sister attended the Minster / Earl Mortimer College in Leominster which was over ran by young poles ‘taking’ over the school. It was a regular conversation of the Polish bullying locals with comments such as ‘ why dont you go back to your own country’ ( confusing yes) but the locals were not being listened to and although it may be bias, the Polish are given all the help they wanted with they’re own “bullying”.

    I have heard plenty of stories of prostitution in local play area’s and train stations, fighting etc etc. It is my own personal opinion that you cannot go any where now without hearing the local lingo.

    Leominster A49 24hour garage for instance I think is basically ran by polish / Lithuanian’s. I find them rude, intrusive and arrogant. This may be different in other area’s. The people i meet have a sense of ‘ YES WE ARE HERE AND WE DONT CARE” about them.

    The government need to take a step back and listen to locals. ” local jobs for local people” ( just locals from another country)
    And now with language differences/ boarders, on signs,food/fag packaging etc.
    I am no a racist person but i do believe if you go to a foreign country you at least learn or try to learn the lingo, not complain its not in English.
    Over all i strongly agree with this.

    • perhaps you would like to answer the question why there aren’t many English working in that garage? can they be bother with the shift work, boring job and a low pay?
      I have worked in the Minster myself at that time and belive me, some of the English kids were very racist! making fun of the Polish kids, and even staff! if you saw/ heard of Polish kids bullying English perhaps it was because they were fed up with being bullied themselves and had to fight back? how many racist incidents there is in the school depends very much on the leadership of the school, if they don’t work towards integration and cultural exchange it’s hard to expect that from the pupils and that was very much the case!

  3. Its interesting that this article focusing on a thinly veiled attempt to brandish the branding iron of xenophobia to all who may not welcome the annual influx of migration workers (no matter from where they hail). I am sure there are plenty of personal examples of people who have had a bad experience with migrant workers, probably as many who have had good experiences. I don’t think the issue should be based solely on whether migrant/immigrant workers have “changed Herefordshire”, but perhaps more on “do people want Herefordshire to change”. I am a stern believer in tighter controls on the migration of workers, I am under no illusion that they do not get a better deal than UK born people, all the evidence shows this to be untrue .. however .. I do understand the reasons why so many people feel like this. Britain is an island and as such has a certain element of individuality, couple with that the “British Pride” and it becomes a little easier to see how these sorts of things become mainstream thinking. People have the perception that it is the migrants that are causing the problems when in reality it is the failure of our governments and ourselves that is to blame.

    With all that said personally I would like to see farmers etc taking the time to see if they can employ from the indigenous population before using a migrant workforce.

  4. Some years ago, Michael Portillo made a radio series for Radio 4 about immigrants to Britain through the ages. Based on the evidence he found, he said that every single group of immigrants that have come to Britain, from the Flemings in the Middle Ages, to the Jews to the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis – and his own family from Spain – Every Single Group has enriched the host country more than they have taken out of the host country. This will be true of the Poles as well (and I remember Polish people in Manchester when I was growing up, who had settled there after the Second World War – they couldn’t go back because of the Communist take over, and they had fought on our side!).

  5. In response to …. – obviously all forms of bullying and racism are unacceptable, whoever and wherever they come from! I do find your comments about Leominster a bit hard to comprehend though, living there for a fair number of years myself. There are obviously a fairly large number of ‘foreigners’ there, as there are most other places now, but I don’t see many of these problems you speak of. Prostitution, fighting etc has been going on long before this ‘mass influx’ of immigrants, so I think it’s a little hard to place the blame with them.

    As for the Minster/Earl Mortimer – I have a younger sibling who has just left and your accusation of Poles ‘running’ or ‘taking over’ the school is ridiculous. They are definitely a minority within the school and this idea that they are some how in charge just doesn’t stand.

    What we see here is typical Daily Mail tripe. There’s no real story here, they’ve just picked up on a bit of graffiti and got some old fart to vent their spleen. There has been a large east European population in Leominster for nearly a decade now. This is simply Something to fill column inches, and a poor attempt at a bit of right wing populism and ‘Johnny Foreigner’ bashing.

  6. This whole Daily Mail bullshit (cos that is what it is) that masquerades as professional well researched journalism smacks of the same argument that was and continues to be thrown at the Gypsy and Traveller communities. This county has along history of employing migrant workers such as Gypsy’s and Travellers who have all brought something unique, diverse and culturally rich to our settled communities and many of those migrants have settled in the county and actively contribute to it in many ways. Farming for many people in the county is a subsistence form of living where profits are so low (because of supermarkets price squeezing and customer demand for cheaper food on the shelves-yes thats you!) that being able to employ hard working migrant labour is the only way they can survive and continue to farm. Anon ‘s comments about farmers looking to employ ‘indigenous’ people first is hot air and jingoistic. I know local farmers who have employed ‘indigenous’ Herefordians on their farms and have had bad experiences of laziness, them turning up late, unreliable, or not wanting to work because they feel that some farm work is below them. On the other hand their experiences of working with migrant workers has been positive in that they (the migrant workers) tend to have a better relationship with the land, work harder and are more reliable. At the end of the day you employ those who do the job you want them to do well and are happy in their work. Nationality has f**k all to do with whether some one does their job properly or not-that is a human trait. It is time we started to think on a level where all people are human, part of a global community rather than being singled out and demonised because of their nationality. The Daily Mail is a racist, nationalistic, jingoistic class obsessed rag that isn’t worth wiping one’s arse on-if they arent busy creating racial division they are busy creating class division. Its about workers and workers rights and those rights include being able to go and seek work wherever you are able to without the fear of racial/cultural persecution or violence. We are all human-lets live and let live and try to create harmony not conflict. If you want something to complain about put your energy into complaining about the continual failure of government in this sham of a system that is packaged and sold to us as a democracy. Onwards and Upwards!! Workers of the world Unite!!

  7. To be British is to be a mix of many cultures and races. This has alway been the case, so what’s the problem?

    I think people are just scared of engaging with people from different parts of the world, and would much prefer it if everyone word that was ever uttered was in English just in case they were having the piss ripped out of them.
    It all stems from not being comfortable with youself, having low self-esteem, and being severely paranoid.

    This is not a country, it is a part of a planet. A planet where lots of different people live and have as much of a right to have a good life as you do. Get used to it.

  8. Migration is an awful human habit. We should all stay put – or just return to Africa where we all came from, although I don’t think Ethiopia would support all of us. If we trimmed the population down to a few hundred thousand or so, the rest of the planet’s eco systems should benefit.
    Seriously though, the East Europeans should return as should those from the old empire, the West Indians, Pakistanis and Indians. Who needs reggae and curries anyway?
    The Irish, Scots and Welsh are hardly welcome pinching all those jobs we desperately want to do but can’t get off our backsides for.
    Also the jews should de-diasporate, as should Kenyans and Ugandans and any lingering Italians from the War.
    Go back a bit further and we would be well rid of the bloody Normans and the mess they made of this country and the rest of the world. And as for those Saxons and Vikings – they’ve no right here – they invaded the place!
    And the Romans – what did they ever do for us? We put wheels on cars long before they did. Bunch of imperialists. And they mucked up our calendar.
    Those Celts should go back to the continent too. Continentals have never really understood us.
    Britain would be a truly lovely place going back to our unpopulated natural post Ice Age condition. Let’s all live in past!

  9. Typical Hereford attitude, dont like people that are different.

    I used to live there until a year ago……and because im gay, i used to get picked on always.
    was always quiet about it, but just becasue some knew about it and no i didnt mince around and wondered why i got hassle the name calling, making up anything to wind peole up…..oooo errr your not like us ! we make yerrr life errr miserrry.

    This went on for years….doesnt matter in hereford what you are, your all the same with a few acceptions.

    I will never live there again.

    From my experience, Hereford is the most rude, biggoted narrow place i have lived

    Oh yeah, im half Ukraine / Herefordian and my point may be not in keeping with this topic, but it just proves what crap you have to put up with if your seen as different.

    • We dont mind migrants as long as they are warm , friendly people who are genuinely interested in speaking our language and are interested in the UK customs and culture.
      However when they are arrogant, cold, hostile and obviously not interested in integrating , then there is no place for them here , especially in large numbers.

  10. It’s ridiculous to say that ALL immigrants are arrogant, ignorant, and violent. Every nation got people like that, including British. I am Polish, proud of it. Never been on benefits, I pay taxes like everybody else. My child is half Polish and half British. Thankfully I never met with hatred, I got lots of British friends as del as other nationalities. That’s why I love UK, for the multiculturalism. i don’t understand why so many British people hate immigrant? Vast amount of us are in the jobs that British people wouldn’t do, because of working hours or because they are better off on benefits. Yes, some of us drink, fight and are rude. But same goes to Brits, specially on Friday nights!!!

  11. How many of the writers on this subject actually know anything at all about Polish people ? Unfortunately this can be said about the Poles, what do they acutally know about the English ? Having different cultures and races in the community has to be a positive thing as it introduces new ideas from other countries and can add and influence what happens for the better. I have to agree that our health and educational systems are overloaded but you could say that’s due to financial cutbacks and a lack of controls on numbers. Politicians tell us that it’s wonderful to have a free exchange of people but who wants to work in Poland or other countries in the EU where standards are lower ? It’s because England is a welcoming nation with good health care, education and other social services that people want to come here to live. Unfortunately the exchange of workers is not fair because few English people ever go to Eastern Europe to work or live so it looks unjust that we have to share what we have with some who have never paid for it and have no history here. On the other hand do we want to have riots in the streets because some people claim there are too many Poles about ? It’s time that both communities tried to be more objective and positive and start to learn more about each other’s culture and life style and what we can share. Once you get to know new neighbours you often get to like them. Where are the Polish inter-community clubs ? Why are we mainly ignorant about the history of Poland. Are we teaching enough about what we have in common, how we can integrate more and difuse racial anxiety ? Are the schools in Hereford teaching youngsters about social integration and getting on with the neighbours ? What is being done to tell young people (who daub on public notice boards) about the horrific history of the Polish people and why they want to come her to live ? My experience as a one-time farmer and from what I see around me in the city is that local workers do not apply for the jobs that Poles will do. Who started the little car wash businesses in store car parks – the Poles. Where were the Hereford teenagers on a Saturday morning when the Poles were outdoors in all weathers cleaning cars ? Where are the Hereford workers in the hop and strawberry fields and picking over potatoes ? They are very few on the ground. Where are the Hereford born young people who could easily do much of the poorly paid kitchen and catering jobs ? They are whinging and criticising because, one presumes, dirty and less attractive jobs are beneath their dignity. If you want change without conflict step up and take the jobs off the Poles if you don’t like the way it is now by working harder, being more reliable, more cheerful and thankful even to be considered for regular work in hard times. Why blame others for being unemployed. When there’s work about, whatever it is, jump in first, be creative and eager and don’t give the Poles a chance to get a foothold – that way they will all go back to Poland.

  12. ProPole, outstanding Posting my good friend. There’s little I can say that can add to your well thought out view on this issue. If I were from some poor impoverished place that still hadn’t recovered from the grinding fist of communism and its accompanying poverty, I’d be here in the UK with my family taking full advantage of all the things that give a chance to lead a better life.
    Can the UK afford this huge movement of people? Probably not. Are our cherished public services in future danger because of this migration issue? Possibly but this conundrum presented to us all is the fault of politicians It’s not our fault and it ain’t the fault of our visitors from Eastern Europe.

  13. I am dating a lithanian I’m british I have found that they are bossy and rude they take all your money off you and they ignore you snd put other lithanians before u and they support there daughters boyfriends familys before you .they never ask you if its ok to do something they just do there horroble and I’m desperately trying to escape from here in hereford.she got a two bed fllat a job all th
    em in university and I thonk a lot of it is farmers in hereford employing them.

  14. Ah the old line that Hereford’s schools are being stretched / over loaded. The last 5 years or so, the number of students has been falling across the county dramatically, leading some schools to close, and at various points leading to some schools downsizing dramatically.

    The real pressure our schools and services are facing is from the austerity cuts but people would rather blame Johnny Foreigner than accept the fact that our Government does not have its’ general population’s interests at heart.

  15. Do you not think we have become a country that is shallow, narrow minded and damn right rude? You all have little regard to other people and where they come from. Is it really that bad that we have immigrants because you don’t like it. I am British and I find that they have made a real effort to speak our language and try and fit in. If everyone took time to get to know them you would find they are really nice people. Have a little respect before you pre judge people. Hereford is a bitchy place all from people like you.

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