Blogs by Don Flynn
Here is a dilemma well worth pondering on: we live in societies which have been evolving in directions which are more global in terms of the economic and political principles which animate them, and yet our mental frameworks for understanding our identities and the conditions of our lives seem to be reverting to stridently nationalistic modes of thinking.
A week scarcely goes by nowadays without more news about the government’s determination to crack down on the rights which migrants have managed to accrue over the years through the operation of international conventions and EU law and agitation by civil society groups for their better treatment.
We are used to thinking of migrants as people who have made the calculated decision that their lives would be better off if they lived somewhere else. As such it can only be the behaviour of fully developed adults exercising mature judgement based on an appraisal of facts to establish that place A will support a higher standard of life than place B.
The media critic Ben Bagdikian once complained that trying to be a first class reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach’s ‘St Matthew’s Passion’ on a ukulele. He must have had in mind the conscientious hack who was attempting to do justice to the rich and varied story of migration when he came out with that line.
The report from our friends and colleagues at Migrant Voice about the representation of the viewpoint of migrants in the mainstream media makes shocking reading. We are supposed to be right in the middle of a ‘grown-up’ conversation about immigration and its impacts on life in Britain and yet in 77% of the coverage of this issue the people most directly involved in the business of migration do not even get a look in.
With these facts as a backdrop, the news that the initiative is being seized by a group of people from migrant communities with a project aimed at elbowing their way to a more prominent position in the public discussion is very welcome.
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