Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the category “Immigration”

Theresa’s Dictionary: Brexit

Every empress, or prospective emperor, has to give the appearance of having “the common touch”. In view of the restricted background of our new empress, I offer her a dictionary in the hope that studying it will help her understand the people she wishes to rule.

Brexit

Read more…

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Laboured Opposition or Absent Opposition?

I find the Labour Party’s current stance on what is happening to the country confusing to say the least. They are meant to be holding the government to account but seem too paralysed by fear of UKIP to offer anything except abject abdication. “We will not obstruct the invoking of Article 50”!

They are of course reaping what they have sown. During the Miliband years (remember them?), they failed to tackle Cameron and Osborne as that dreadful duo laid the ground work for the right-wing coup* that is currently happening. The Language Battle was lost. Read more…

Laziness and Populism

There is a strand in British politics – probably much approved of by the Pub Landlord – that says that by resorting to simplistic slogans, that have just a germ of truth to them, you can attract much approval and support.

Our Prime Minster seems to be especially good at this; I hope it is a character flaw rather than as a result of his expensive education.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Cameron said the push on language was “about building a more integrated, cohesive, one nation country where there’s genuine opportunity for people”.

He also said that while he accepted there was no “causal connection” between poor English and extremism, a better grasp would make communities “more resilient” to threats of radicalisation from so-called Islamic State – or Daesh.

“If you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh,” he said.

Lady Warsi – who was the first female Muslim cabinet minister – welcomed the new money for language teaching, but said: “This lazy and misguided linking, and what I saw once again as stereotyping of British Muslim communities, I felt took away from what was a positive announcement.”
BBC News Website, 18 January 2016 : David Cameron’s Muslim women policy ‘lazy and misguided’

We need to be more (academically) critical of some of these pronouncements. Read more…

Paris: Schengen and the Quitters

Following the jihadist attacks in Paris (13 November 2015) some have concluded that:

  1. We (in the UK) should quit the EU in order to “secure our borders”
  2. That the Schengen Agreement is fatally damaged

Both these conclusions seem to ignore certain realities.

Read more…

Facebook Party Invites

It’s very simple to make a mistake:

A Dutch girl’s 16th birthday party turned into a real-life version of Project X last night after she forgot to put any privacy settings on her Facebook invite. The result was a 4,000-strong crowd …
Daily Intelligencer, 22 September 2012 : Dutch Girl’s Party Disaster Serves As a Reminder to Use Facebook’s Privacy Settings

Sometimes the mistake is bigger:

A teenager from Hertfordshire who mistakenly posted her address and phone number on Facebook to publicise a birthday party ended up with 21,000 promised guests.
Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2010 : Girl, 14, fears 21,000 party guests after Facebook invite blunder

Do we now have a situation where a National Leader has “issued an invite” without really being aware how many people would pick up on the invite and come? Read more…

Force of Numbers

Are we about to see an example of governments’ hands being forced by pure force of numbers?

Hungarian riot police have fired tear gas [into Serbia] and water cannon to force migrants back from the Serbia-Hungary border.

Hundreds of people have massed at a closed crossing point near the Serbian town of Horgos, and are involved in a tense stand-off with police on the other side of the border.

Some migrants threw missiles, including stones and water bottles.
BBC News Website, 16 September 2015 : Migrant crisis: Clashes at Hungary-Serbia border

We have seen tear gas and water cannon used, but these migrants (the type of migration and reason for migration is immaterial) have committed a lot of time and money to get this far, have endured numerous deprivations and believe that within the EU there lies a better life. They may also have a different attitude to the sanctity of borders – seeing them as artificial constructs imposed by others rather than our view of a border defining our land.

What happens when say a thousand Syrians rush a Serbian-Hungarian border post?

Are we prepared to see the use of bullets? Read more…

Mindsets: Borders

Everyone seems to be talking about “the migrant crisis” with consecutive “special” programmes tonight on BBC1 (Desperate Journeys: Europe’s Migrant Crisis) and on ITV1 (Breaking into Britain: Tonight). A picture of a dead Syrian child being recovered from the beaches of Turkey seem to have brought about a reverse of Cameron policy (not sure if Osborne has U-turned as well).

We seem to lack a coherent approach to a number of mixed issues;

Globally:

  • the crises in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and people fleeing for their lives;
  • poverty in parts of the world leading people to migrate for a better life;
  • people smugglers;

Parochially:

  • a chaotic approach to planning public services in the UK;
  • a toxic relationship between the current British Government and Europe;
  • (very parochially) fear of UKIP undermining Conservative support.

One of the issue is that in respect of “borders” there are multiple mindsets. Read more…

Migrant Miopia; Cuts and Fences

… the Home Office said support could end for failed asylum-seekers, to discourage illegal migration.

Bolstered security measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday.
BBC News Website 2 August 2015 : Calais migrant crisis: UK and France urge EU action

And Cameron really thinks that a poor potential economic migrant in Sudan or a terrified potential asylum seeker in Syria will really be “discouraged” by such steps? Read more…

End of Term Report: Conservatives

The Conservatives did not win a majority at the last election. So how have they done in the last five years?

How do we measure what they have done? On one hand we can measure “how well they have governed” – if we can agree what we mean by “well”. On the other hand we can look at it from the point of view of raw politics.

Read more…

What about the Elephants?

This (2015 UK) General Election seems to consist of lots of minor and pretty irrelevant skirmishes. The major issues seem to be un-addressed in the election.

So what are these elephants in the room? Read more…

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