Via an acquaintance, I come across a delightful Slovkian lady who has been living in the UK for the last decade. During that time she has been continuously employed, much to the benefit of this country. She rents a flat here and saved up enough money to buy a flat back in Slovakia (for approximately £20,000) which she currently rents out. She calculates that if she continues working for another couple of years then she will have saved enough to buy another. But, she tells me, she is now thinking of going back to Slovakia. Why? Because she doesn't want to be here "when the Bulgarians and Romanians arrive".
As an aside, she says she likes living in England and that English people are very nice and that she only goes back to Slovakia when she needs medical or dental treatment. Seriously. I was going to tell her that the National Health Service is the envy of the world, as I am so often told, but I'm not sure that I could convince her.
Having just paid my tax bill and been left penniless, I'm.wondering where on Earth the money has gone. NHS spending is now £109 billion per annum yet we have been unable to create a service good enough to persuade a Slovakian to use it. I think we're going to have to introduce some honesty into the discussions about the future of the NHS: we're never going to get anywhere propagating the mythical version.