Today I have started a blog after months of hesitating.
As I am now the author of a new book - "Hello I'm Your Polish Neighbour" so I shall need to promote it. I hope to have this with your help. I am already grateful for the publicity I have had for this book from the Polish Embassy in London which generously played host to a book launch on June 29th attended by the Mayors of Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as by Andy Slaughter MP and prominent members of the Polish community such as Mrs Karolina Kaczorowska, widow of the last president of the Polish government in exile.
It is a book intended for Poles in London to buy for their British friends. It is a sweet and sour introduction into the life of the Polish community in West London, both the well established older post-war community and their offspring and those newly arrived since 2004. It is written with a sense of irony and a wry British humour but I feel it evinces all my deep affection for Polish people, my excitement at their presence on he streets of London and my respect for their contribution to the British economy and to their own families in Poland.
The book is also a vocal contribution by the Polish community to the current debate in the UK on immigration, multiculturalism and social cohesion. Poles are often discussed in this context as a form of barren statistics manipulated to serve the agenda of whichever media group or institution wishes to make a point. However they have their own tale to tell. As EU citizens the newly arrived Poles in the UK have a right to their own voice and as much right to settle and work and raise a family in this country as have British citizens to live and work in Poland, or even in France or Spain.
The Polish community has long been an example to other ethnic minorities because of its ability to integrate with the British economy and social fabric, while remaining culturally distinct. Social integration - yes; cultural assimilation - no. That is how Poles view multiculturalism.
Let this be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with my potential readers and any comments from you will be most welcome.
In the meantime let us batten down the hatches and get ready for the resultstoday of the second and final stage of the watershed presidential elections in Poland - the culmination of the titanic struggle between romantic patriotism and pragmatic patriotism.