Roma in Panorata, Romania: “People always make the mistake of lumping Europe’s Roma together as a single entity” © AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, © getty images
You know the picture. Woman in a headscarf. Hand outstretched. Plaintive, somehow exotic face. An atmosphere of ill-health and dirt. A British park bench. This is the tabloid imagery that has been used more than any other to raise popular anxieties about a new flood of Eastern European migrants due to arrive this year. Not images of well-trained Romanian doctors, or polite Bulgarian baristas, migrating to plug gaps in our economy and take low-paying service jobs, but of poor, vagrant Roma, over here to beg and steal.