At last the Prime Minister has insisted that foreigners must learn English properly, if they want to be allowed to stay. This is only fair, because when the British move abroad we make sure we’re fluent in the local dialect within a fortnight.
Wander through the Costa Del Sol and there’s no way of telling who’s Spanish and who’s from east London, so integrated have we become, with characters such as Nobby “Flamenco” Wilson, who within seven years learned to say “adios” in a Dagenham accent, causing his mates to shout “blimey, hark at Picasso”, while watching West Ham vs Watford in a pub by the beach in Marbella.
Despite us going to all that trouble, when the Spanish come over here they speak English with a slight Spanish accent. Is it any wonder we get fed up of Europe when they mug us off like that?
One complaint about immigrants who don’t speak perfect English is they can’t work here, as they won’t be understood. This compares to the English who move to France, who have all mastered French so perfectly from a year of GCSE French, they can work anywhere they like, understanding even the finest details.
For example, if they were in a call centre, and a frustrated French businessman rang to report his internet connection was down, the average Englishman living in France would have no problem replying “the cat is in the garden”.
If they worked in a hospital and someone came through the door screaming their appendix had burst, a plucky Englishman would be able to helpfully inform the patient “J’aime le football, mais je n’aime pas le tennis”.
So we should go further with these plans to deport people who can’t be bothered to learn the language: anyone wanting to move to Liverpool should have to do a course to learn grabbing someone in a headlock and saying “you’ve gorra have a laugh mate”, or they’re not allowed in.
Before you live in south London you should have to attend a gangsta study group. Your exam to become an accountant will include an oral test, in which the examiner says “listen up blud, I have bear cash, you get me, so a man say I come to you for advice on capital gains tax and shit”.
This effort isn’t just out of politeness – our security depends on it. David Cameron says Muslim women who don’t learn English are “more susceptible” to radicalisation. This must be because, once they can understand Take me Out with Paddy McGuinness, they’ll realise there’s so much fun to be had there’s no point in blowing things up.
It also suggests the only language that opposes radicalisation is English, and that all the languages a Muslim might speak don’t have any words for “don’t go to Syria and blow yourself up you idiot”, or “I think you should put that rocket launcher down, you could have someone’s eye out”.
Even so it’s worth a try. It may be that the better someone speaks English, the less jihadist they become. So we should send elocution teachers out to direct their videos, and say “No, no, NO Jihadi Gerald. It’s ‘we shall kill WHOMEVER aids the infidel in glorious oceans of blood’. Now let’s try again with a nice round mouth on the O for Holy.” Eventually, when they sound like Prince Charles, they’ll realise the error of their ways and come back to be Master of the Hunt in the Cotswolds.
The British attitude towards language is one of the reasons we’d be hopeless at terrorism. Because if we were making a film of someone in a hood with a sword, we wouldn’t bother learning the language of the people we were trying to terrify. Instead we’d shout the bits they didn’t understand, going “We’re going to reap mighty vengeance, no, VENGEANCE. You know. VENGEANCE. Oh for God’s sake they don’t understand a bloody word: VENGEANCE, understand? KABOOM. Yes, that’s it. VENGEANCE.”
This is why the Prime Minister’s announcement may actually amount to a subtle trick. Because we’re insisting that immigrants integrate into our culture, but it’s those who fail to learn any English at all who are actually going to great lengths to adopt real British customs – by being unable to speak a word of a foreign language. And it’s the ones who learn to speak English perfectly we should be wary of. Don’t they understand anything about the country they’ve moved to?
Another clue is that, despite David Cameron’s insistence on proper English, last June the Government cut the funding to the organisation that teaches English to immigrants, from £45m to £20m, which resulted in 47 centres closing. This proves what a difficult but rich language English is to learn, as it takes a while to grasp that the phrase “I insist we have more of something” sometimes means “I’m going to cut it in half”. But if a determined foreigner sticks with it, they’ll soon pick it up.
Then, when we’re enjoying the peace we’ve created, we should go on to the next stage, and insist foreigners have to learn English if they want to stay in their own country as well. Otherwise they will be forever susceptible to all kinds of mischief, listening all day to their funny foreign words