Blogs by Don Flynn
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.
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!
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