welfare and public services
December’s changes to the electoral register represent a huge civil rights issue for everyone in this country, especially for migrant communities. In November, the UK government cut the transition period for the new electoral registration (IER) system. Many were hopeful that the government would listen to its own independent expert body and extend the date to December 2016. This would have allowed local authorities to properly inform people of the need to get themselves on the register. Unsurprisingly, the proposal was not accepted leaving at least 1.9 million people at risk of losing their right to vote if not registered by the 1 December 2015.
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.
It has been no surprise to find that immigration has played a big part in deciding the outcome of the European Parliamentary elections last week, and also influenced the vote for local elections in England.
The coalition of groups supporting the call to mark UN Anti-Racism Day on March 22nd achieved a notable success in bringing out 10,000 people to the parade and gather in Trafalgar Square on that day.