Brexit. Long term effects.

One of the interviewees said few weeks ago that the true impact of Brexit is yet to come. And indeed in September 2021 serious supplies shortages are painfully experienced by the Brits making queues for petrol, empty shelves in supermarkets (which are compared by older Poles to the situation of late communism in the People Republic of Poland). It concerns not only petrol, especially diesel, at gas stations or food in supermarkets or garbage collection in a number of towns, blood tests, some drugs in pharmacies. Jonathan Freedland recently wrote in The Guardian (24 Sept 2021), that these different crises have a common denominator – Brexit. Politicians do not say it loudly and sometimes try to cover it with the pandemic, but the true and main reason of these problems lays in the long-term consequences of Brexit, recently mainly in the dramatic shortage of truck drivers. The situation there is complex but has also roots in Brexit as the drivers were usually immigrants, many of whom came from the Central-Eastern Europe. Some of them left after the referendum, fewer new came because of the Brexit regulations and those who did not leave changed their work strategy – as they don’t expect any problems with employment, they resigned from permanent positions and went to agencies to work on an hourly rate.

Also the Polish migrants point out numerous problems they are experiencing now which were non-existent before: the quality of goods went down, especially meat. One of interviewees said she started to use a local butcher as the meat in supermarkets became uneatable; another interviewee, who has just came back to Poland after 16 years told how much trouble he had with transporting his belongings – the postage companies became slow and unreliable and the customs he would have to pay would be a fortune. Finally he decided to rent a truck and drove all the way to Warsaw with his books and furniture; sending packages to Poland suddenly became unprofitable so many people started to order goods outside the UK giving the Polish address. The packages are then picked up by their relatives in Poland and then migrants take the products when they visit their families – all this only to avoid customs and high postage costs; Although it may not still be very visible in the diagrams, but interviewees observe an outflow of their kin from the UK, so very often their Polish hairdresser is no longer there which causes the necessity to change life routine and habits; Prices went up, some of the basic products cost 25 % than they used to before Brexit – this is caused mainly by customs and constant problems with the supply chains.

Not only the Poles ceased to choose Britain as an attractive goal of permanent migration, but they stopped coming here for seasonal jobs. It simply became too complicated and less rewarding comparing to many EU destinations. Also the sole consciousness that Britain is no longer European Union makes it rather unlikely that young Poles would even consider choosing the UK as a holiday work destination. They would go to Norway, the Netherlands or, increasingly often, remain in Poland.

This is reinforced by the fact, that they feel less welcome there. Most of the Polish interviewees observed the shift that the referendum made with the Brits. Many Poles were complaining that the pro-Brexit campaign broke the famous British political correctness and (sometimes artificial) kindness. As people saw that majority of the voting population have had similar thoughts regarding the migrants as they have, it has become more in place to openly declare intolerance or hostility. Occasionally migrants experienced this discrimination on their own skin. Although this wave of hostility has mostly gone away after the campaign, some of the interviewees still observe a changed approach comparing to the one from before 2016.


“Just don’t meet any Hungarians.” Informal Hungarian community in Great Britain

In one of our previous posts we provided a brief overview of Hungarian community life based on formal institutions. Now, with the help of some interview excerpts, we would like to present how Hungarians living in Great Britain perceive each other and how the Hungarian informal community life works. Importantly, we do not claim that this is the general perception of Hungarians living in the UK towards their compatriots. Not only because the interviewees we talked with belong to a particular social group (mainly low-status workers), but also because the number of interviews does not allow us to form a complex picture on this issue. Nevertheless, from the 30 interviews we conducted, we have collected the opinions that were most frequently voiced.

One of the opinions often expressed by our informants was that the Hungarian community in Great Britain doesn’t hold together at all, “they don’t really like each other” and “they are often ashamed of each other.

“- So here the Hungarians, as I noticed, are ashamed of each other. Well, to be honest, there is a reason for that. Therefore, they are not very much looking for a relationship with each other. For example, the Hungarian parents who enrolled their children in school mostly met Hungarians only there. They could talk to each other only there.

– Did they make friends while the school lesson lasted?

– Oh well. Until they get to know each other better. But, for example, if two Hungarian children attend a common class at a London school, they will not be friends either.” (Hungarian teacher in the Hungarian supplementary school in London)

We tried to understand the cause of this phenomenon, and most responses suggested that Hungarians often deceive or exploit each other. According to one of our interviewees, there are many Hungarian-related “dark agencies” in London, where Hungarian employees are cheated and exploited. These agencies do not officially declare employees, do not pay taxes on them, so the employees have no rights, they have no national insurance number or tax number, they cannot complain to anyone etc. These “dark agencies” usually employ Hungarians who do not plan to stay in Great Britain for a long time, have low qualifications and speak English poorly.

“Unfortunately, we are the only nation who take advantage of each other in a foreign country and who do not help each other. I was deceived by many of my compatriots, so I avoid Hungarians in the UK.” (Middle-aged Hungarian man)

Another explanation for why Hungarians do not seek each other’s company could be the following:

“I didn’t move to England to make friends with Hungarians. I am not saying that I am not looking for the company of Hungarians, but rather I am looking for the company of foreigners. I would like to improve my English language skills.” (Young Hungarian man)

We’ve also heard many times from our interviewees that because they work a lot, they simply don’t have time to live a social life.

In general, we can say that Hungarians living in Great Britain are members of different informal Hungarian communities (especially local Hungarian-related facebook groups), but overall they do not keep in touch, they don’t participate in Hungarian community programs and few of them is involved in the Hungarian community.


Ethnicity and language in mixed partnerships – what language(s) do the Slovak migrants (mothers and children) speak?

Our colleague Dagmara Majerova (Matej Bel University) published recently a very interesting article on issue of ethnic identity of Slovak migrants focused on mothers in London living in the ethnically mixed partnerships / marriages, who bring up their children in a bilingual family environment.

She found that in mixed Slovak-British families, bilingual education of children is applied in most cases, but the language of thought, ie the dominant language, becomes English in connection with the increasing age of the child. Mothers of Slovak origin choose Slovak as the language of communication at an early age, but in the process of expanding social circle, especially after starting school, the intensity of communication in the mother’s mother tongue gradually decreases. In the situation of Slovaks living in London, Slovak is in the position of a subtractive language in relation to the English language. In some cases, the child’s father opposes bilingual education due to fears of disruption of natural development or fear of using the language of communication between the child and the mother, which he does not understand.

Children in ethnically mixed families do not learn the father’s mother tongue, if it is different from the majority, only some children master it at a passive level. The reason is his busy work, due to which he spends most of the day away from home and thus maintains less intense contact with the child. Mothers of Slovak origin see in the command of two languages ​​(majority and minority) in addition to social benefits that allow the child to communicate with the wider Slovak family and its surroundings, also promising economic capital, usable in the labor market. Ethnic consciousness is therefore not activated in this case, the respondents view the knowledge of the minority (mother’s tongue) mainly from a pragmatic point of view.



„I knew that it would be good for me here” – London in the eyes of Hungarian migrants

When landing in a new country, we are generally full with expectations. Our mind is filled with images of landmarks or fragments of a “typical” landscape. We have learnt bits and pieces about that country’s culture or have heart about rules of behaviour to respect. Nevertheless, when one arrives with the purpose to pursue studies or – as overwhelming majority of the respondents we talked with – to work, earn money or start a new life, such images and imaginations are challenged and enriched by every-day experiences. In this post we will share some notes and stories from the interviews which illustrates how Hungarian migrants perceive the United Kingdom in general and London in particular.

Most of the people we talked had landed in one of the airports of London (mainly Luton). Expect few of them, that was their first journey to the UK, or even the first time they sit on an airplane. When recalling their arrival, many burst out at laugh how they undervalued the size of an airport or a train station in London. Amanda arrived to London in February 2013 to become an au-pair. The host family could not pick her up at the airport, but sent her detailed information how to reach the Victoria Station, where they would wait for her in front of a certain exit. Amanda took it easy and believed that the hosts are too worried about how she could find orientation: “I behaved as there would be only ONE exit in the whole f*ing airport. I had no idea at all, that the airport is, well, f*ing big. But eventually, I just set off, like there would be no tomorrow. And then I left the [Victoria] Station exactly through that gate! I somehow ended up at the place we had agreed before, and she could pick me up there.”

In general, they are more than satisfied with the public transportation in London, but have limited experiences with travelling in the countryside. This is in part due to their sometimes extreme work overload (many work two jobs, 60 or more hours/week) and family duties, but they also mention the high price of train tickets as a burden to explore other parts of the UK.

Majority of the respondents live in London, which they like a lot for many reasons. We often hear about the well-organized public services and the friendliness of residents. As Mark, who arrived to London at the age of 21, remembers to his first day: “Everything was well signposted [in the city], people were ready to help, whatever I asked, they responded promptly where to find what.” Mark was born and raised in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, but London is the city which today he calls as home: “(…) by now [London] has become the home. When I return [to Budapest], I return to my homeland.” Living in central London opened the world for him: “[in UK] the ‘national culture’ is that you can be from anywhere and nobody cares about it.” By now he has friends from numerous countries around the globe, and learnt a lot about different religions, languages, cultures. This encourages him to travel to discover distant continents, as he will have friends to rely on wherever he goes. Moreover, his experiences changed his worldview and attitude. In his view Hungary “is a closed society, people don’t meet a wide variety of foreign cultures, hence they are afraid (…) and everything which is foreign culture or other culture mustn’t be good and must be locked out. (…) In the beginnings, I had in my mind, that never before I had been in a community where such amount of cultures, skin colors, religions blend, and in the first period I felt a bit awkward, worried. (…) Then I got used to it, I got to know my neighbours, the people, everybody was kind and I asked myself ‘for what reason do I feel awkward, why am I afraid to go back home in the dark…?’. I am more afraid in Deák Ferenc square in Budapest now, than at my home, I mean in London.”

Nóra works with a food delivery company, thus she travels a lot in and outside London. She has been living in London for more than a decade, but she is still amazed by various landscapes the United Kingdom offers. During the lockdown, when everybody must remain at home, she was driving the truck and shared her photos of the road with friends to hold their spirits up. What she likes the most about living in the UK can be encapsulated in the word freedom: “I feel absolute freedom. When I walk along the street nobody looks at me, as if I was not even there. (…) I can be myself, I can live in absolute freedom. There is no need to hide that I’m homosexual, I don’t need to hide.”

One of the well-known stereotypes about the UK is the unfriendly weather. Interestingly, we rarely heart any complain about the weather, on the opposite! The winter is milder than they expected and some said that they prefer the English summer than the hot Hungarian summer weeks.

All in all, the people who shared their stories with us have positive image about the UK and especially about London. For many it is a reliable, comfortable place to live, with wonderful landscapes and friendly people. In London it is easy to get by and if somebody wants it offers unlimited option dive into various cultures, whilst it grants anonymity and freedom.


Brexit, the British (English?) nationalism and the immigrants from the V4

I was personally surprised that in the majority of the interviews I made with Polish migrants about Brexit, there appear mentions about nationalistic behaviors of the British people. Even if the interviewees have not experienced them themselves, they were told about them by friends or know it third hand. Referendum campaign revealed much of these layers of nationalism in the British society in which attitude towards immigration and immigrants played a key role. We saw banners saying “Taking our country back” or “Britain for the British”. These sentiments were reinforced by statements of pro-Brexit politicians, like Nigel Farage, who twitted on 26 May 2016 “Mass immigration is still hopelessly out of control and set to get worse if we remain in the EU”. The atmosphere around the campaign caused or contributed to some dreadful events, like the fatal attack by a group of teenagers on a Polish migrant in Harlow, on August 2016, just two months after the referendum. This event provoked a lot of discussion in the Polish mediasphere both in the UK and in Poland, although it was not clear whether the murder had purely xenophobic substrate.

For some Poles this wave of nationalism and the feeling of being unwanted was one of the elements to take into consideration in their life strategies. According to my interviewees for some this could also be another factor in making decision to leave the UK. Ita Głowacka analyzed the internet forum (Głowacka 2018: 84-100) and showed emotional reactions from 223 individual posts. 143 of them related to some manifestations of discrimination experienced by them in the UK. Some also were calls to revenge and self-defense. One of the key conclusions of the article was that the Poles in the UK felt increasingly alienated and endangered after the referendum in 2016. On the other hand the negative feelings towards the British also rose within themselves.  

It is worth to quote, what an interviewee from Edinburgh said, that here nothing like this happened and I only heard rumors about what was going on in England. The Scots like Polish people. Similar opinion was shared by an interviewee from London, but he said that these acts of discrimination happened in the province, not in London. London is very multicultural. Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz writes on LSE blog ( that Brexit is an expression of English, not British nationalism and that it mainly concerned provinces. This of course goes along the outcomes of the referendum, where the majority of voters voting to leave were from small towns and villages of England, while Scotland and London recorded highest percentages of ‘remain’ supporters.

English nationalism, according to professor Mike Savage rose from two factors: economical and the one referring to identity. According to a survey held in 2008 a vast majority of British people do not have racist or nationalistic attitudes, with only 1.5% declaring that having a non-British neighbor would be very bad to them and over 25% would feel happy to have such neighbors. However, most of the society have an ambivalent or undecided approach and thus can be manipulated by the slogans and xenophobic discourse. During the Brexit referendum parts of political elites pushed this uncertain part of the society towards more nationalistic arguments and interpretations which was noticed by most of the Polish immigrants.


The Happy End for (Some) Romani Migrant Children

It is generally acknowledged that in the last thirty years, migration policy and multiculturalism in the public policies have been on the list of the most discussed and polarising topics in the British public sphere. Negatively constructed identity of Slovak/East European Romani migrants as “the country´s social welfare system abusers“ and “the non-integrateable community members“ had its lion share in a growing anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalist sentiment in the mainstream population and, ultimately, the United Kingdom´s leaving the EU.

In late 2019, a short-term field research on social adaptation of the emigrated Roma in the UK was conducted by Klara Kohoutová, Veronika Pastrnáková and Ondrej Ficeri of the Social Science Institute, Slovak Academy of Science, in the counties of South York and Derby. They went specifically to the towns with ethnically heterogeneous neighbourhoods and high concentration of the immigrated Romani, like Sheffield – Page Hall, Rotherham – East Wood, Derby – Normanton. The results were presented and discussed at a webinar and are in line with all previous findings in the aggregate. In this post, however, I would like to focus on a positive example, which contradicts the statistics and prevailing media narrative.

It is a sad fact that in Slovak education system thousands of Romani children fail a grade every year. What´s more, this usually happens more than once during their school attendance so eventually, there are youngsters leaving school after 6th or 7th grade, having already become virtually unemployable and facing very weak future prospects in general. 

In the UK, instead of forcing kids to repeat a year – which is always humiliating and deprives them not only of time, but also of classmates, they let even the weakest pupils move forward while providing extra support. So, the most important lesson (some) Romani children (can) learn in British schools (if they are lucky enough to have parents who send them there while working in the UK) is belief in their own abilities. For the first time they (may) hear from a respected authority they can “become anything they want to if they try hard enough” – and they may really do as the authority means it and even takes action to help them make it happen.

Milan Popík from Pavlovce nad Uhom, East Slovakia, is 21 years old. He works at Doncaster airport as a customs officer and wants to become a detective, so he also studies criminology at the University of Sheffield. His parents migrated to the UK when he was 4 years old. Both of them worked hard and managed to set a good example to their son. This is what Milan says about his British teachers, whom he regards as a sort of “deus ex machina” having caused his success:

“The pupil´s future depends on the teacher, on the way they treat them. If the teacher shows support and love to the kid, if they show him or her that they do have a chance to achieve something in life, the kid can do great things. In England, teachers constantly motivate kids, force them to move forward, never just leave them alone. Contrarily, here in Slovakia teachers are sometimes relieved if (Romani) kids do not turn up because they do not listen and disrupt the classes. In England, it is different – the teachers really want each kid to come to schools every day to be constantly improving their reading and writing skills, so that later they have a chance to change their life.“

Na Slovensku sme považovaní za hlúpych cigáňov. V Anglicku vraj rasizmus  nie je | Čumil

Of course, in regard to many Slovak teachers, his generalisations are neither fair nor true – but they probably are in regard to the prevailing approach of the Slovak officials and society to the Romani pupils (note: I am stating the fact regardless the reasons).

Milan is a sort of celebrity and a positive role model in his native village. He is aware how important it is for the local children to see his success – although the sad point is all of them consider such success impossible in Slovakia, which results in boosted chances of their future emigration. Sure, the issues of generational poverty, racism and historically-embedded prejudice are far too complex to be dealt with in this post, and they also occur in the UK (just remember the recent amount of hate received by the unfortunate dark-skinned penalty kicker in the lost final EC match).

Nevertheless, despite all Brexit implications and generally negative reputation of the Romani immigrants in the UK, there are still some of them using the opportunity to prove themselves against all odds.



Slovak (and Czech) Virtual Communities in the UK

We found an interesting study on the topic of migration in the UK with the results of research carried out at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. They focused on Slovak virtual communities and their functioning in the UK.

The content analysis shows that the Facebook page “Czechs and Slovaks in the UK” is mainly used to share emotional content (“most liked” are romantic photos of English landscapes), and only to a smaller extent to build a community or share practical information (accommodation, work , information on various events). In addition, the site targets a wide audience across the UK and is dominated by shared, not original, content. It is therefore questionable what its community-building potential is.

Questionnaire data show that while Skype and Facebook are mainly used to maintain already strong social ties in Slovakia, personal contact and mobile phones are mainly used to build and maintain social capital in Britain. Participants also reported a relatively strong degree of connecting social capital, which is based primarily (but not exclusively) on contacts with other Slovak migrants.

However, the new media do not facilitate the building of this social capital before migration itself, but personal contact dominates only after coming to Britain. More than 90% of the participants stated that they did not know any Slovak migrant organizations in Britain, and only about a third of them had participated in events organized by the Slovak community in the past.

While some participants assume that, thanks to the new media, Slovak migrants are more networked than in the past, others think that there are different categories of migrants with different expectations of living in Britain, different social capital building needs and thus different levels of involvement in community life. and varying degrees of interest in web content, dedicated specifically to Slovaks in Britain. Students have been repeatedly identified as a specific category that does not search for its social networks on the basis of shared ethnicity.

The researchers found that research participants in the United Kingdom had little information about community activities carried out by Slovak migrant organizations, and they learned about them predominantly through new media.


Virtuálne    komunity? Niekoľko    príkladov    z off/online    aktivít    Slovákov a Sloveniek v Írsku a vo Veľkej Británii.  Barbara Lášticová, Magda Petrjánošová.  Ústav výskumu sociálnej komunikácie SA Available from: [accessed Jun 28 2021].


Cultural institutions as scenes of Hungarian community life in Great Britain

In our research, we paid attention to compile data about the Hungarian community life in Great Britain. We were curious about how active the community life is and to how intense the networking is between Hungarians.

The conversations revealed that above all we must separate social life organized under the umbrella of official cultural institutions and the informal, bottom-up initiatives. In this post, we give a brief summary of the former one.

Official institutions

Hungarian official institutions are concentrated in London, where sizeable Hungarian community lives. In the other parts of Great Britain mostly informal institutions and organizations operate mainly on social media platforms.

One of these Hungarian institutions is the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London which organizes and supports a wide spectrum of programmes to promote Hungarian art and artists in the UK, and to disseminate Hungarian culture. Another important formal institution is the National Federation of Hungarians in England. It provides training in the Hungarian language and the history and geography of Hungary. It also offers courses in Hungarian art, culture and heritage of Hungary, and celebrates its traditions and customs.

Saint Stephan House in London, that hosts the Hungarian catholic community, also must be mentioned. Apart from that diverse cultural programs, traditional religious and national holidays are also organized here (Easter Ball, Harvest Festival, Christmas Fair, art exhibitions, historical commemorations, etc.). Besides Roman Catholic community the Calvinist Church is also active in London. Beyond the religious celebrations they organize different community programmes too.

From the point of view of the Hungarian community life we must mention the supplementary Hungarian schools as well, which we briefly introduced in our previous post. It is important because “during the lessons, parents are waiting in the corridors; they chat and get acquainted. However, these relationships break off beyond the walls of school.”

Unofficial initiatives

Out of these we can highlight the followings: Hungarians in England, Information page for Hungarians living in London or A helpful community of Hungarians. On these websites a plenty of useful information is collected regarding bureaucracy and administration, employment or education opportunities. In addition, Hungarian scouts and folk dance groups also exist. They are typical examples of bottom-up initiatives launched by active members of the community. According to our interviewees mainly these groups are more frequently visited by those Hungarians who have recently moved to England “and who haven’t integrated into the native society. They still insist on Hungarian culture and language.”

In addition to the above-mentioned informal initiatives, lots of facebook groups exist. Most of them are used for keeping everyday contact between the Hungarians living in different cities. In the next post, we will give a brief review of the latter one, focusing on the community cohesion of Hungarians living in England.


A short note about the Hungarian supplementary/weekend schools in the UK

In contrast to what we had planned, due to the pandemic this research has been conducted exclusively online so far, when both our interview partners and us stayed at home in lockdown. Often this resulted in unexpected situations when a bunch of kids run into the room during the interview and asked for all sorts of things from mum/dad/aunt/uncle etc.: a piece of biscuit, the exact date of the collapse of the Roman Empire or which colour to pick for their princess doll’s dress. In such cases the interview diverted towards child raising and decisions about education. Depending on the age of their children, parents faced different challenges, but what seemed common in the interviews is that parents wanted their kids to keep using the Hungarian language and get familiar with the Hungarian culture even after kids enter primary education in the UK. Therefore many talked about their experiences with Hungarian supplementary schools or weekend schools as they refer to those (we will use this term). In the followings we provide a brief overview of supplementary schools operated by the Hungarians and some reflections from teachers who work in these schools.

The number of available researches on supplementary schools in the Hungarian diaspora is very limited and rather case studies of certain institutions or communities. Therefore we were happy to discover an excellent recent study written by Attila Papp Z., Eszter Kovács and András Kováts (in Hungarian) about the Hungarian weekend schools in the United Kingdom.

The study is based on their field work interviews and observations executed in eleven schools in the UK in 2018-2019. These institutions can be analysed in the frame of diaspora building and also as part of education and ethnic socialisation. They refer to the definition by Archer and Francis (2016) and describe weekend schools as supplementary education, which is run by an ethnic community and its aim is to teach one subject and/or the mother tongue, and cultural habits and rituals. In the UK the number of such supplementary schools is estimated between 3000 and 5000, among which 19 is listed as Hungarian. Most of this we can find in London and its vicinity, whereas others are located in other major cities (Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh). However the first Hungarian weekend school was established in 1948, the first stable one was established in 1978 in London (Londoni Magyar Iskola/Hungarian School in London). Importantly, overwhelming majority of the schools exist today were established between 2010 and 2016, which clearly resonates with the post 2008 migration trends of Hungarians arriving to the UK . According to Papp Z., Kovács and Kováts, three major arguments can be traced among parents who enrol their kids into such schools. One is personal, namely that parents want their kids to use Hungarian language outside of the family, and weekend schools are ideal and safe social spaces to do so. As second they mention rationality, which derives from the often mention shocking costs of childcare. Some of the weekend schools provide services which can be a more affordable alternative of the very expensive kindergarten/nursery/babysitter. Third, some parents were unsatisfied with other schools thus they decided to open a new one. Importantly, in the UK supplementary schools can apply for funds from authorities and local governments as well, which many did so. However in the cases we heard about the survival of the schools was dependent on the parents mainly. 

This is how our interviewee Rebeka, who is in her 40s and lives in London since 2010, remembers to her experiences as a teacher and member of the board of trustees in one of the Hungarian weekend schools. According to her experiences pupils are arriving from three main circles to Hungarian schools: 1) from Hungarian families, where both parents are from Hungary; 2) from families where both parents or one of them is from a transborder Hungarian minority community (from Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia); 3. from mixed couples, where one member of the family is of Hungarian descent. She speaks about committed parents with great respect, however she also points to the fragility of such schools. When parents find employments some other part of London, or decide to move to the countryside where housing is a bit more affordable than in London, the schools always need to figure out ways how to keep balance in budget. Interestingly, she observed that among teenagers, who enrolled into traditional British schools where boys and girls study separately, the coeducated (mixed-sex) Hungarian weekend school might remain popular.

In another interview Péter, who was a teacher at the Hungarian School in London from 2015 to 2017, confirmed that the motivation of Hungarian parents is to preserve Hungarian language, culture and customs. According to Péter, most of the pupils in the Hungarian School in London came from families which migrated recently. They are more connected to Hungary, so they consider it important for their child to learn how to read and write in Hungarian, to get acquainted with Hungarian history, literature, etc.

He also noted that the teaching methods, the overall atmosphere in these weekend schools are looser, more easy-going than in an average school in Hungary. This was unacceptable to him, thus he resigned. 

“Here’s what the kid wants…she/he goes out because she’s/he’s hungry or she/he wants to drink, she/he wants to play football, and you can’t tell her/him anything. I do not want this.”

The Hungarian School in London is an important place for Hungarian community life in England, which we will talk about in more details in our next post.


Migrants and the internal divisions of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is not homogeneous, as was perfectly illustrated by the results of the 2016 Brexit referendum. While at the national level 51.9% of eligible voters voted to leave the European Union, in Scotland 62% of citizens voted to stay in its structures. In no administrative region in Scotland the majority was in favor of Brexit. Similarly, though not as spectacularly (55.8%), the supporters of staying in the EU won in Northern Ireland. The most noticable difference was on the Anglo-Scottish border, where in the Carlisle district 60.1% of votes was to leave, and right next to it, in the Scottish Borders, 58.5% of the population voted to remain in the EU. London voted differently than most of England (in the City of London over 75% of voters were in favor of staying in the EU), In the province it was completely different. The North of England also voted differently than the South.
Interestingly, the results of the Brexit referendum show that identity factors played an important role, which in a country like the United Kingdom where at least four nations live, is especially noticable. If only Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales had voted, the UK would remain in the Union. The most populous England decided to leave for the rest of the country. The need to leave the Union was biggest among the English, whose identity is primarily English, and less British, while those who declare themselves primarily British, and less English, were more likely to chose to remain in the Union.
The internal divisions in the country were overlapped by the attitude towards migrants, which became one of the key topics of the referendum campaign. The slogan “take back control” was very much concerned with the control of immigration. Organizations such as UKIP argued that the mass and uncontrolled influx of immigrants contributed to an increase in unemployment and lower salaries, which was especially popular with small entrepreneurs who, paradoxically, most often used the work of migrants themselves.
The issue of migration is closely related then to internal divisions in Great Britain. While in England the European Union has often been portrayed as “the others”, in Scotland it is dominant to portray the Scots as one of the nations of a united Europe opposed to the English. In Northern Ireland, on the other hand, the issue of Brexit is very closely linked to the conflict between loyalists and those who want unification with the Republic of Ireland. This is clearly visible when analyzing the results of the referendum. The overlapping of the religious division between Protestants and Catholics results in the fact that often Catholic Poles are automatically identified as supporters of the Republicans. Migrants sometimes do not understand the specificity of the sectarian division in the region and the fact that, for example, some bus stops are “assigned” to particular groups. Sometimes it becomes a cause of aggression.
On May 13, 2021, an incident occurred in Kenmure Street in Glasgow where the Home Office tried to evict two illegal immigrants from India. Passers-by reacted with a protest, singing and shouting “Leave them, they are our neighbors!”. The Scottish police did not support the Home Office’s activities, and Nicola Sturgeon in a Twitter post condemned the ways in which the British Home Office operated. The incident sparked a media storm that, with the defense of migrants and asylum seekers as a starting point, moved to defending Scotland’s independence in politics towards migration issues and not only.