Not sure how true this is, but the Bulgarian Standart newspaper (not a paper I often read, to be sure, but it seems like a reasonably serious publication) reports that the News Of The World is trying to import Bulgarian hookers; not, I fear, as a special offer to readers not, I’m sure, as an executive perk, but to be sure that they’ve got at least one about whose exploits they can write when Bulgaria and Rumania join the EU and their nationals enjoy visa-free travel to other member states.
Features – British Tabloid Hires Prostitute for Black PR Against Bulgaria – Standart
The British tabloid News of the World wants to hire a Bulgarian prostitute wishing to leave for the UK after the accession of her country to the EU and the lifting of the visa regime. A team from this newspaper plans to write a series of materials about her in Bulgaria as well as articles about her future “deeds” in Britain. They have even planned to escort her when she, according to the editorial script, catches the first flight to London in the early morning of January the 1st, 2007.
They’ve also apparently been trying to find someone there to fake up a British Passport for them.
Hmm. Quite apart from the little matter of the false instrument (the fake passport) my learned friends suggest that what we have here is — assuming the young lady continues to work as a prostitute at the News of the World’s behest when she gets here — is an offence against Section 57 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation) and, quite possibly, Section 53 (Controlling prostitution for gain); the Act’s definition of ‘gain’ in this context is a wide one, and would certainly catch both the reporter’s earnings from this little wheeze and any brownie points he gained with his editor (or, as the Act puts it, ‘the goodwill of any person which is or appears likely, in time, to bring financial advantage’).
I must say that either the NOW can’t have much faith either in their predictions of our being swamped by Bulgarian hookers or in their investigative reporters’ talents if they think it’s necessary to go to the trouble and expense of recruiting the girls in advance rather than simply cruising round Shepherd’s Market when the hacks get back from their Christmas hols, but I suppose they know best.
Maybe they recall all their hoards of Slovakian gypsies who didn’t materialise in May 2004, despite all the dire warnings, and want to make sure they aren’t caught short again.
Honestly, after the debacle of the fake sheik (see also video here) and his red mercury, you’d have thought they’d give this sort of thing a rest.
Meanwhile, back at the Palace of Westminster…
some more of Rupert Murchoch’s whores HMG are considering a work permit scheme for would-be immigrants from Bulgaria and Rumania. Leaving aside speculation about Mr Murdoch’s young ladies from Bulgaria will ‘show they have the skills needed to get the new work permits’, this is about as counter-productive as you can get. As David Rennie argued in the Telegraph the other week (see also his blog piece), there is no legal way to keep EU citizens en masse, be they from Belgium or Bulgaria, out of other EU countries. As he explains in the blog,
To simplify, any EU citizen with a passport has the right to enter any other EU nation and stay there for up to three months, no questions asked.
And if you are self-employed, a student, or a pensioner with your own means of financial support, you can stay as long as you like. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of Brits living in Spain, or settling into retirement in France.
In other words, once Romania and Bulgaria enter the EU as early as next January, the Government could stop people from Romania coming in to work legally, but it could not stop them coming in.
Given that average incomes in Romania are a tenth those of the UK, it is not rocket science to guess that opening borders to such poor people, while banning them from legal work, is going to have at least one result: a huge expansion of the black economy.
And, as he goes on to explain in his newspaper article,
Whitehall officials say stoutly that they have the power to impose limits on Romanian and Bulgarian “access to the UK labour market”. But what does that actually mean? It basically means the Government could create some new offences, specially to cover Romanians and Bulgarians: working without a work permit, or employing someone from those two nations without a permit.
Given that we cannot close our borders, and average household incomes in Romania and Bulgaria are a tenth of those in Britain, it is not hard to guess one major outcome of creating such new offences: thousands will come anyway, but this time as criminals.
As a convinced free-marketeer, I must admit to moral qualms about welcoming people to live in my country, then turning them into criminals, just because they want to work for a living.
But if moral arguments do not work, try self-interest. Expanding Britain’s black economy is not a good idea. It would be bad for the health of society. It would reduce tax revenues, and hurt British workers, too. As long as east Europeans are working legally, their broad pay and conditions can only fall so far. Once people are on the black, employers can treat them as near-slputsaves, putting far more pressure on legal workers.
I agree. By giving in to the tabloids’ frenzy about Bulgarians — or, as The Guardian’s un-named cabinet source puts it, allowing politics to over-ride economics (and common sense) — the government are creating the very thing they claim they hope to avoid. (Not for the first time, of course — wasn’t Iraq supposed to make us safer from terrorism?).