Having read the papers over the past few weeks and talked to a few of my friends and family members in England, I was shocked that the reality of life in England for many Poles is deadly tough. Deadly. Literally.
Suicide in the UK
A few of the Polish newspapers (and English dailies) have reported cases of Polish people in England committing suicide because they are completely unable to cope with life in the England.
One of the biggest problems seems to be that England (and the United Kingdom) are portrayed or are seen as a land of milk and honey, a land of economic freedom and well being. The reality is somewhat different. England has for a few years now not been a capitalist’s dream. Economists in the UK might claim otherwise but the British economy is teetering ever so close to a full-blown recession.
When Will It End?
What seems odd is that many Poles are still going to the UK in search of employment and a better life. The Polish ex-pat clubs and churches are filling up as never before. Hordes of new faces fill the chairs in the clubs and the aisles in the churches. The Polish Catholic Church is being forced to send an increasingly large number of priests on missionary work in England in order to cope with the rise in Polish parishioners. The papers talk of a mass return of Poles to Poland but this does not seem to be taking place.
The consequences of all this are plain to see – growing disappointment and disenchantment with life in Britain (which is not good for the EU and could lead to greater social divisions and resentment) and more frighteningly, a rise in suicides amongst Polish immigrant families in the UK. Is life really so bad in Poland that people leave the Land of the Vistula without knowing that they’re leaving for a country who’s currency has lost value to the złoty (and that it could actually be better to work at home because of the strong złoty) and that the country they’re journeying to is experiencing an economic downturn? is life in Poland that tough?