New EU arrivals could teach us all a lesson in hard work

WORK will always be a four-letter word to some people, be they on the dole or even in gainful employment.

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We should be doing more to help our own unemployed
We should be doing more to help our own unemployed

As my late father used to say, you'll find volunteers aplenty to carry the stool when the piano needs moved.

Some 30 years ago, Jimmy was a white-collar engineer made redundant in his late 50s.

Having never been unemployed, he became depressed. He lost his self-respect and even started losing his hair.

Jimmy saved his sanity - and my mum's - by turning a temporary SOS from his old company into a full-time job, donning a boiler suit and happily scaling and repairing cranes into his 70s.

So I'm not surprised long-term jobless Scots youngsters are suffering "devastating" symptoms of mental illness.

There are almost 10,000 16 to 19-year-olds unemployed in Scotland.

The Prince's Trust claims those up to 25 are twice as likely to be on anti-depressants. Many self-harm and contemplate suicide, saying they feel like outcasts from society.

That's shocking enough, a dreadful indictment of the Union in 2014.

But what about the 200,000 other unemployed Scots in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond?

Many of them are depressed. Many of them feel worthless.

And what are our leaders, north and south of the border, doing about it?

Well, the Scottish Government seems content merely to crow that our unemployment rate isn't as bad as the rest of the UK.

So what? It's still a national disgrace.

The Prince's Trust this year plans to help 58,000 young Brits, 8000 of them Scots, back into work, education or training.

Isn't that the job of government?

The Trust is a charity. It needs £60 million to continue its work. Let's collect it from the billions owed by multi-national tax dodgers, dodgy bankers, and other fat cats.

As it happens, my father would have taken any job, but not everyone today has that work ethic.

In my youth there were jobs for almost everyone leaving school.

That's not the case today.

With more than two million unemployed in the UK, it seems reasonable to ask why British companies have posted adverts for nearly 8000 jobs - on Romanian websites?

Many of these jobs pay the minimum wage of £6.31-an-hour, or even less. Britons may treat such work with disdain but when Romanians are paid 88p-an-hour at home you can't blame them for heading here.

If they're here to work and pay their taxes, no problem. Otherwise, they should be denied benefits. A similar arrangement for workshy Brits wouldn't go amiss, either.

But these adverts in Romania - including for taxi drivers, doctors and nurses, hotel staff, and even bus mechanics in Scotland - required only a 'basic' understanding of English.

Basic? Not if you're a doctor or a nurse treating me, sunshine.

The anti-immigration lobby has fuelled hostility since Romanians and Bulgarians started arriving here in 2007.

Dire warnings predicted a repeat of the 2004 mass migration of Poles, when almost half a million arrived despite absurd government estimates predicting just tens of thousands.

Well, on January 1 all EU work restrictions were lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians and the only floods seen since have been of the river variety.

There is little doubt Polish workers have contributed to our economy. It's the beggars we don't want. Glasgow has inherited its share and we don't need any more.

The likes of UKIP claim economic migrants provide nothing but cheap labour, driving down living standards, and some shady employers do cash in.

But even if the minimum wage were increased, would employers immediately ditch reliable foreign workers? Would Brits suddenly relinquish their benefits and deign to fill menial jobs?

That's a no-no, another four-letter word.

DAVID CAMERON has been telling UK school pupils to ditch French and German and learn Mandarin.

The PM has China fever after visiting Beijing. I seem to remember Tony Blair conducting a similar love affair with China in 2003, but 11 years on you'd hardly know.

Our leaders — on both sides of the border — would be better served ensuring our kids leave school with a decent grasp of English.

The Chinese themselves will ensure it remains the world's dominant language. There are 50,000 companies teaching English in China and the world's largest PC vendor, Lenovo, has taken English as its official language.

Future UK generations will have no problem conversing with the Chinese. Keeping up with them maybe more difficult.

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