Blogs by Don Flynn
Europe’s efforts to address what is so often presented as an immigration crisis at its external borders continue to push and pull is various contrary directions.
At some points the European Union likes to emphasis its capacity to enforce the policing and management of movement across borders, but at others the maintenance of the continent’s reputation as a region of human rights.
It shouldn’t be doubted that it takes both of these roles seriously and continues to hold out the hope that, through dialogue and negotiation, a way will be found which allows border and immigration controls to be squared with fair treatment and a degree of justice for those who are seeking entry to the countries which are a part of the Union.
The public debate on immigration often resembles a fight between a couple of heavyweight sluggers well into the later rounds of their bout, battered and staggering around, but neither able to land the knockout blow on the other.
Okay, against this sunny optimism are opinion polls which continue to show a large majority in favour of reducing migration levels. A major objection to receiving newcomers – that we are a small island with a finite amount of space – seems still to be firmly in place as a reason why so many people want to see less movement across borders.
But other anti-immigrant arguments have fallen by the wayside during the past year. Politicians who want to argue that immigration is responsible for the British unemployment levels have been set back by the fact that the total volume of people in work over the past year has increased whilst net inward migration here continued to be strongly positive.
Favourite Christmas song? No-brainer for me. Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ captures my mood at this time of the year. Plaintive, battered by disappointment (you have to watch Meet me in St Louis for the context) but strangely and even absurdly hopeful that things will turn out alright in the end.
Ed Miliband today announced plans for a new law to stop the exploitation of workers, which leads to workers’ wages and conditions being undercut. Speaking in Great Yarmouth, he said that the next Labour government would introduce rules to tackle the impact of immigration on the economy, social security system and the communities.