Blogs by Don Flynn
There is something of a new mood gaining ground amongst many activists in migrant communities which is also extending to the people working in networks which bring them into contact with newcomers settling in the UK.
We are going to see a lot more of it during the course of the general election campaign which officially kicked off this morning, and here are some of the things which indicate to us that, as was once sung during a memorable election year, ‘things can only get better’.
Migrants are not sitting back and taking it anymore
Once a general election for people new to the UK meant keeping your head down until it was all over in the hope that life would resume its normal course. If a candidate in the constituency you lived in wanted to blame you for everything from the state of the jobs market to the declining quality of the standard British loaf you gritted your teeth and just got on with it.
The news that projections for economic growth for the period ahead are being upgraded because of expectations that net immigration will continue at rates well above the targets set by government is consistent with all the views that have been coming from expert commentators in recent months.
Flip the card over and there’s a little more explanation on offer.
“People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.”
How does a government deal with bad news that isn’t really such bad news?
That was the dilemma facing the spokespeople of the coalition parties last Thursday when they confronted the fact that the declared objective of driving net immigration down below the 100,000 a year mark had failed not just badly, but spectacularly badly.
The ONS statistics revealed a headline figure showing that there were 298,000 more people in the UK in September 2014 that there had been 12 months previously. There will be no more figures on this subject to argue over between polling day so the very firm conclusion is that prime minister David Cameron has failed to deliver on his famous ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge.
One of the issues that advocates of the rights of migrants have to deal with in their discussions with people active in the mainstream of politics is the important question of migration and its impacts on equality.
The accusation against migration is that it is one of the weapons that the political and economic elites have used to erode the welfare and security standards which citizens have gained for themselves over the course of generations of social advance. This progress has been embodied in an implicit social contract which is rooted in the shared experiences of a community which is explicitly national in character.