Keep Calm and Don't Denigrate Yourself, Britain!

"It's better where you are -- Britain is shit", "Come here and clean the loo", "Great (used 2 be) Britain -- The biggest dump. Go to Australia instead", "Grey Britain... is a stinky, wet, racist tramp! France is even worse... but they have better/cheaper booze!"

If you think this is part of a campaign to denigrate the United Kingdom, you are wrong. These are lines suggested by British people for a negative advertising campaign to deter Romanian and Bulgarian migrants for coming to the UK. The Guardian asked its readers to send their poster suggestions and they published the best of them on their website.

Their request follows a British minister's intentions to launch a negative ad campaign in Bulgaria and Romania to persuade potential immigrants to stay away from the UK. That's because Romanians and Bulgarians will no longer be restricted to work in Britain from 2014 due to European regulations. Many British politicians predict a massive immigration wave that could affect Britain's welfare and have a negative impact on the job and housing markets. However, as I said in this piece I wrote for The Economist, such expectations are not backed by concrete immigration studies. Even the Prime Minister David Cameron said the government is unable to predict immigration levels from Bulgaria and Romania when access restrictions are lifted because it is "a very difficult calculation to make".

I am wondering what the The British Embassy in Bucharest would say about such posters, as they have invested a lot of efforts in the recent years to convince Romanians what a great country Britain is and why they should consider visiting, living, studying, investing and doing business there.

As for Romanians, if such a campaign will actually take place, it is unlikely to change their mind. Many of those who are leaving the country are doing it because they seek a better life than the one they have in Romania. No matter how hard their life would be in other Western countries like Britain, for many of them it would be better than the one they have in their native country. They will move there anyway, so why bother with such a denigrating campaign, really?

Iepurele Mizantrop (The Misanthropic Bunny, a fictional character in Romania) felt the need to illustrate what some Romanians have to say about it.

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