Great Politicians of Our Time - Henri de Floric

Written by George Fripley

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Henri de Floric (1911 - 1979) was a well-respected politician for much of his life. He was not affiliated to any party and represented a small constituency in the south-east of England, called Little Thugsby, for over 25 years. Born in the town of the same name, he never joined a political party. His independence gave him the ability to represent his people without worrying about party policies and chief whips. This endeared him to the locals and ensured he had a safe seat.

When a few refugees and immigrants settled in his constituency after World War Two, he began to get some disgruntled people calling him to complain about 'them' taking jobs and 'them' taking advantage of the welfare system. A noted political opportunist, he began to get very interested in this issue as calls increased in number. He soon decided to make speeches on the matter in Parliament. It is not clear where his dislike of foreigners came from, but his ability to ruthlessly use issues to further his political career suggests that it was certainly an opportunistic issue rather than a deeply held belief. However, the more he ran with it, the more passionate he became; he knew he would appeal to the fear of the unknown. He even suggested that immigration was a German plot to destabilize the country.

What he said about refugees was that Britain should 'Turn them back at the border' and that 'We should decide who comes to this country'. De Floric was also famously quoted as saying, 'there was a wave of Caribbean immigrants coming to swamp Britain.' This paticular wave happened to the West Indies cricket team. Most people ignored him, but he did gain a small vocal following.

Initially, De Floric wanted to include anybody who was not English in his definition of foreign, but his Welsh-born wife objected. So, after deciding on being British as the line in the sand, he devised a number of criteria that needed to be satisfied in order to be truly British. These were:

• To be at least 80% British - defined by ancestry (the family test);
• To have lived in Britain for at least three generations (the residence test);
• To pass a history test about Great Britain (the history test);
• To have a definite Anglo-Saxon 'look' (the visual test); and
• To support the English cricket team (the cricket test).

The Prime Minister of the day saw him for what he was and promptly moved him into the cabinet. This was quite rare for an independent MP. It an attempt to keep some control over him, he was made Special Minster for Immigration with the power to deport people who were considered un-British. Wise heads of the time believed that putting de Floric in this position would force him to confront the realities of his views; there would be many practical problems that would result if he tried to implement them. This strategy took a while to work and, in fact, only succeeded when a colleague, Sir Douglas Reilly-Jones, suggested he apply the rules to himself. It would not, after all, be fair if he did not sit the test himself, particularly with a foreign name like de Floric.

De Floric promptly sat the test and failed to get the 80 percent that he had deemed as the pass mark. This showed a definite lack of knowledge of Britain. He then discovered that he had a long history of French ancestry on his mother's side and was only about 60% British. On top of this, his face had definite Roman features and his skin was very Mediterranean in its colour. Finally, he found out that his grandfather has spent all bar the last five years of his life living in Spain and had married a Spanish woman.

Faced with this evidence, but still unwilling to back down from his strong stance on immigration, he decided that he had no choice but to have himself deported. He was not, however, sure which country he should be sent to. He eventually deported himself to France, whose government decided they would take him for the joke value, and lived the rest of his life in Marseilles. He spoke no French and knew nobody, but his reputation had preceded him, making him the butt of many jokes.

De Floric had a comfortable pension and also made a small amount of additional money by writing books of interest to very few people. It was a very small amount of extra money.
He eventually died in 1979 and, still unwilling to back down, even in death, his will instructed that he be buried in France with all the other foreigners from the continent.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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