From today's Guardian, here's an excellent piece of reportage from Luke Harding on what Bulgarians who have lived in Britian think of the place. Instead of indulging in condescension towards people from Eastern Europe, we really ought be getting our own house in order. We have the lowest general level of education of any country in Europe, the highest level of violent crime , the highest level of teenage pregnancies and the highest level of alcohol abuse. And we have the nerve to hold 'our way' up as the best! The very last thing any country in the world should be doing is copying the British social and economic model.
Standing outside the British embassy in Sofia yesterday, Rozalina Boeva admits she wants a better life. After three years she has had enough - of Britain. She is coming home to Bulgaria.
"I'm fed up. I don't like it in Britain much," Ms Boeva, a 37-year-old care assistant said.
Ms Boeva has spent the past three years living and working in Swansea. But she dislikes Britain's culture of binge drinking and the fact that her teenage daughter has been bullied at school. "Some British people are nice. But on Friday and Saturday night everybody gets drunk. Many girls get pregnant at 16 or 17. The general level of education is low. I'm going back for a couple of months to collect our things. Then we'll start a new life in Bulgaria."
Ms Boeva was one of around 50 Bulgarians trying to get or renew visas at the embassy yesterday. Earlier this week the Sun ran a front-page photograph showing what it said was a vast queue of Bulgarians who had "laid siege" to the building. The Bulgarians intended to work in the UK when Bulgaria - together with Romania - joined the EU on January 1, the paper suggested.
In fact, most of those queuing up yesterday were visiting Britain for a holiday. Others already lived in the UK and were renewing visas. But the vigorous tabloid campaign against Bulgarians and Romanians appears to have worked.
"I want to stay here. It's my country," says Rostislav Tsonev, a 20-year-old student at Sofia University. Another student, Irina Lichkova, 24, adds: "I spent five months working in Belfast last summer. To be honest most of the people I met there were psychos."