Blogs by Don Flynn
Just two weeks into the New Year and it is already clear that the public conversation about immigration policy is picking up exactly where it left off before the holidays.
There seems to be an agreement that the Bulgarian and Romanian people who, we were assured by the tabloids, would be sweeping into the UK like a veritable tsunami have been a bit of a disappointment to date. Those who arrived on the famous flights into Luton airport were the ones who had been living and working in the UK for some years and who had merely nipped back home for a week or so over the Christmas break. Never mind – there are still over 340 days left in the year for them to come into the country in their tens of thousands, so may be the scaremongers will get the raw numbers they claim.
Misleading on benefits
First blog in 2014 and before saying anything else I'd like to extend my heartiest best wishes to you all for a bright, prosperous and healthy New Year! It will certainly be a busy one for all of us here at MRN and we hope you'll be ready to join in at least some of the campaigning activity we are planning.
2013 is rushing towards its festive end with the speed of a Eurostar emerging on the other side of the Channel Tunnel. The MRN team has the warm glow coming from another successful month of Our Day activities (more than 20 events taking place in Scotland, Manchester, Yorkshire and London) and is now hard at work clearing desks for a break that will see us fully back at work on 2nd January.
For the past couple of years I’ve offered up my list of the best books I’ve read on immigration issues during the course of the year and I’m up for doing the same now. It’s a pretty eclectic sample of the myriad stuff that has come out during the year, which seems to be growing at an alarmingly rate as immigration continues to preoccupy the thinking of so many people.
EU migration is never out of the news nowadays, and with the elections to the European Parliament scheduled for the coming May we can expect more of this in the months ahead. The ending of transitional restrictions on nationals of Bulgaria and Romania taking employment in the UK is the current reason why the flames of public anxiety are being fanned by people anxious to influence the outcome of that test of public opinion.
The latest initiative from the government came at the end of last week with its proposal to generate a tougher test of eligibility for social security benefits for EU migrants. It comes on top of a raft of measures announced back in November which aimed to prevent people who have been in the UK for less than three months from becoming eligible for out-of-work assistance.