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Showing posts from January, 2017

Getting angry: gaps in migration thinking

I wrote this piece a couple of weeks ago about Labour's position on free movement, and people tended not to agree with it. The extremely brief recap of that post: it's not worse to have migration controls with Europe than it is to have them with the rest of the world. The ideally just policy is to have open borders generally. But a policy position that says "immigrants are not the cause of our problems, but now that we're resetting our relationship with Europe to parallel our relationship with the world, we'll have migration controls as we do with everywhere" is a regrettable but probably necessary concession to current political reality, aimed at defusing rising political xenophobia, and should be treated that way - not as some kind of deep act of evil.
Your mileage will probably still vary on that, and I'm not going to go over it again. But I think it's an interesting window onto two (related) distortions in how we tend to think about migration pol…

Hindutva on the march

Here's me on the Oxford International Relations Society's blog, writing about some of the ways that Narendra Modi and the BJP have pursued a Hindu nationalist agenda in India since they won government in 2014. There was a lot written at the time about Modi, from all sorts of perspectives, worrying a lot about what he represented and what might happen with him as Prime Minister. There's been very little written about it since, which is a shame. If you had a temporary interest at the time, hopefully you'll enjoy rekindling it.

Labour and free movement

Even more than everywhere else in politics, immigration is an area where the reasons politicians support a policy and the objective merits and demerits of that policy rarely have much to do with each other. Some of the most important merits relate to the benefits to people overseas, and those are never even considered. But even taking a narrower view, immigration policies are supported and defended for a variety of nakedly political reasons, many of them deeply morally troubling, which don't really have anything to do with their impacts on society.
With few exceptions, immigration is not a main driver of economic deprivation or even of social disenfranchisement. So it's usually right to be suspicious of politicians who come out saying they support reducing immigration. The policy is not going to be a way of massively improving the lives of voters; its actual effects, one way or another, are probably going to be marginal. So why are they bringing it up? Most of the time, the a…