Blogs by Don Flynn
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.
Here’s a few notes on the most interesting of the books I’ve been looking through this past year. This year’s list is organised by topics, rather than as last year's more straightforward “Top 5 picks”. That felt more appropriate given a high number of excellent new books and the broad scope of subjects covered. But if you happen to be short of time, do not despair, there's a “Best book of 2014” recommendation at the end of this blog. Happy reading!
It is clear that, given the current febrile state of the public mood, a lot of damage can be done by talking about immigration in ways that are insensitive to many people’s anxieties. Times are exceptionally hard for so many people - wage earners in particular are feeling the squeeze of an economy which has blocked off any rise in their living standards for most of a decade. Commonsense, that age-old foe of critical thinking, tells citizens that immigration must have something to do with this unhappy state of affairs. If there is good evidence which shows that this is not the case then we have to find the best way to get this across to the people who would benefit from knowing the true facts.
Last week’s report from academics at University College London on the fiscal impacts of migration to the UK is just the latest in a whole sequence which has made the case that, far from being a charge on the taxpayer, the migration that developed over the course of the 2000s, has brought in a cohort of net contributors.