When “splendid isolation” became discrimination
by The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - Maybe the English of [formerly Great] Britain never did emerge from their “splendid isolation” mind set. That might explain why clownish and buffoonish-like Boris Johnson and Nigel Brexit were able to convince the public that their interests lay in withdrawing from Europe.
Now there is evidence that “official England” never really knew what language the people crossing the Channel from the continent speak. In the case of Italians, for example, they cling to a dated understanding of who speaks what on the Peninsula.
Granted there are several dialects that still survive in folklorish environments. But nowhere like the virtually incomprehensible distortions of the Queen’s English that prevails in certain quarters and neighbourhoods outside of downtown London.
The fact is that there existed a trend toward a “standard” Italian at least three hundred years before Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and others were able to tease out a comprehensible “modern dialect” distinguishable from the Latin and French or indeed the Italian prevalent in use among the more “refined” aristocratic and merchant classes of Angleland.
Today, it appears that the bureaucratic guardians of “our shared values” have become experts in what is Italian; after all, they did fashion out a language test – the IELTS – that obsequious colonials in our fair land use to weed out those inferior peoples who do not speak English.
Why not apply the same “standards” to someone else’s language? Of course, in a post-Brexit world it is easy to see every manoeuvre as a cheap trick to denigrate others with a view to justifying slamming the doors in their face.
England is only just beginning to come to grips with its decision to exit Europe. Perhaps the entire referendum was exactly what some Conservative Party insiders are claiming: nothing more than internal political manoeuvring to climb up the ladder. Now everyone is a target.
Even UKIP MPs have taken to physically fighting it out in public. If England doesn’t want hard-working Italians because they speak a dialect of their mother tongue, Minister McCallum should tell them there is room here.
Canada’s former (and current) government give unnecessary pride of place in the immigration process to people of the island nation because of their language ability. Immigration Canada should just start looking for those whose ability to integrate notwithstanding their association with the English language.
At least they cannot be accused of veiled discrimination.
(Friday 14 October 2016)