Strictly Europe


I’ve been dying to get a strictly angle in to this debate. Ola Jordan. For those who don’t know she is a Polish ballroom dancer. Brilliant and a British national treasure. In an interview this morning she said something quite revealing. Yes she often is quite revealing. Anyway….

If I wanted to find a pub full of people who know all about the employment market across the EU where would I look? Poland. They know it’s what they do, and I get the impression they are still a nation that talks about politics in pubs.

… She is a charming unassuming professional. Yes, yes but what did she say? While telling the story of her arrival in the UK she mentioned, without judgement or malice, simply as a matter of fact, as if everyone knew this…. “I love the UK this country is great and has given me so much opportunity. We all come to the UK because we love it and because the French and Germans won’t let you work.”.

Double take, “The French and Germans won’t let you work.”. They are supposed to let you work just like we are, surely it’s the same rules here as there. There is a difficult pachyderm in the room. I’m gonna say it, I’m not saying I think it is true but it sounds like it could be a common perception in Poland; that French and German employers are known to discriminate.

Well done UK we actually won a popularity contest on merit. I am actually quite proud of that. The Polish love us and we are not as discriminatory as some other EU members.

I’ve raised the point before (on FB) about being in a club where we are the only ones that obey the rules, or even seriously try to obey them; in relation to farming and animal welfare.

I’m not suggesting we don’t obey the rules, far from it. The rules on discrimination, farming (most) and animal welfare and many others are good. What is bad is that if we are the only ones following them it undermines the point of the club and in some cases will put us at a disadvantage.


I have to correct this post. Katya Adler provides the explanation of the Polish perception that the Germans won’t let you work towards the end of this article.

Until 2011 it wasn’t just a perception it was true. Germans would not let you work; but not because German employers were breaking any rules by being discriminatory, rather because the rules that the German government decided to apply allowed for them to discriminate against Poles for the first 7 years of Poland’s EU membership. At the time the UK government (Tony Blair’s) decided not to do this so Poles could work in the UK from day one. Whatever I think about Tony, I think that was a nice thing to do. So Ola was talking about her time before 2011 which explains why what she said was so matter of fact. Because it was actually a fact.

So it’s an example where we played ball but some of the other EU states didn’t. In this case we have the last laugh because we got Ola J 🙂



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