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They came from outer space… and Europe

We have always had a fear of the unknown

By Philip Ball   June 2017

War of the Worlds: Wells's book was a "critique of British imperialism" ©World History Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

Fears that Eastern Europeans, unrestricted by any immigration controls, were taking jobs from British workers caused widespread public unrest and provoked xenophobic bile in the newspapers. One editorial complained of “the dirty, destitute, diseased, verminous and criminal foreigner who dumps himself on our soil,” while prominent politicians supported a far-right group that called Britain “the dumping ground for the scum of Europe.” Eventually the Conservative prime minister took action to shut down…

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