“Immigration! The curse of all governments.”

When I read what follows in Rumpole Misbehaves, by John Mortimer, I had to flip to the front of the novel to find out when it was published.

Last month, maybe? Two days ago? And there’s the business with the Russian prostitute…

No: it was published in 2007.

It would seem that government officials have been moaning about immigration and Russian prostitutes since, oh, just a guess, 1624.

‘Immigration!’ The Minister for Constitutional Affairs almost spat out the word, as though it were some sort of incurable disease. ‘The curse of all governments.’

‘Is it as bad as that?’

‘Worse. They imagine we are letting in floods of foreigners who’ll take away their jobs, their houses, certainly their wives, probably their children if they get half a chance. And when it comes to letting in Russian prostitutes … I can just imagine the headlines in the Fortress.’ [a tabloid newspaper].


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