A friend, who has moved out of London to the countryside, commented that she found it wierd that her old neighbours - a Rasta family and a Bengali family - were being intolerant of the newest migrants to London, the Eastern Europeans. I said I totally understood it. They are the first group to come here in significant numbers since I have lived in this country and I feel odd about them too. Suddenly there is a number of people who speak a Russian sounding language - to my ears - and suddenly there is a shop which sells Eastern European food, but they've only been around 1 or 2 years. There's enough of them to notice and I don't know anything about them so I feel... I don't know... invaded... It's wierd because I believe in economic migration as well but I guess it's their newness, and the fact that I know nothing about them - even when I try to find out. Maybe even some of the fearful, prejudiced media reporting of "all those Eastern European workers flooding in" has also primed me to be aware, on guard, hostile. The added irony is that my grandparents would have felt this kind of hostility back in 1939, when they came here from a different part of Eastern Europe... but still... fear is irrational.

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