James: Before The Right Blamed Immigrants, They Blamed The Unemployed
10 March 2017, 11:31
The story of Pret struggling to find young British workers makes James O'Brien reflect on a time when it wasn't immigrants that were blamed for everything. It was young people who couldn't find a job.
An executive from the sandwich and coffee shop chain has said that just one in 50 applicants for their jobs are British, meaning when Brexit comes they could face a big staffing problem.
To James, the story was the perfect combination of two groups he says have faced demonisation in the UK press: immigrants and young British people.
"What you've got to remember is before immigration was the reason for everything that's wrong in this country, it was fecklessness.
"Do you remember this? While I've been in this shift, it used to be that I had to come on air every morning and explain why unemployed people weren't the spawn of Satan and responsible for everything wrong in this country.
"God, I'm almost nostalgic for those days. Where I would come on air every morning and explain in contrast to what the tabloid media were saying that young people are not all work-shy feckless layabouts with a sense of entitlement.
"Do you remember?
"I don't have to do that any more because immigrants are getting the blame for everything."