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Safety Pins, Flags and Badges: Solidarity or “Slacktivism”?

In All, Brexit, Immigration, Society by Adam

Mass murder, genocide, war, terrorist attacks…whatever it is that happens, so many of us feel compelled to show our “solidarity” with the victims and take to social media. That’s it. For most people, that is the extent of their activism.  It is the limit of their statement of solidarity.  As long as they have been seen to do that, then they are satisfied with themselves. There’s no question that symbolism is an extremely powerful tool, especially when we consider something as poignant as the poppies worn for armistice.  Symbols carry with them an extension of meaning that goes beyond the literal and makes connections with personal and social values. Their connotations are dependent on culture and interpretation, so wearing a symbol is not the same as seeing a symbol².  A cross means something very different for the Christian wearing it than it …

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Home is Where the Heart Aches (Part 1)

In All, Brexit, Refugees by Adam

One of the most basic human needs we have is a sense of physical safety and comfort. It is instinctive and established before birth.  Somewhere we know we can return to in danger, and somewhere we can protect.  Somewhere we call ‘home’. We can use no end of catchphrases to justify it: “home is where the heart is”; “there’s no place like home”; “home, sweet home” are but a few.  It also doesn’t matter what form that home takes, whether it is a small studio flat, or even a caravan, up to a stately mansion. Anyone who moved house when they were a child can probably remember the emotional upheaval of leaving friends and family; a school; a community.  We remember the tangible – and we adjust and replace them – but what we often fail to understand that what …

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Lest We Forget the Refugees of Today

In All, Immigration, Refugees by Adam

“Lest we forget.”  It is the phrase of remembrance as we honour the memories of those who have lost their lives fight for the freedom of our country and many others.  I think most people – we can only hope – have at least some understanding of this. I cannot speak for any other country, but I know that in the UK there is simply no excuse for anyone educated in a state school not to know about Remembrance Day and remembrance Sunday. Unless there are specific needs reasons why someone has been unable to learn about these dates, to not know about these dates is a true example of ignorance. A Moment of Silence In the minutes of silence shared on the 11th November and the Sunday (if they are not the same day) people must think of many …

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Polar Politics

In All, Brexit, UK Immigration by Adam

President Trump. Seriously? I don’t think the world was really expecting it to happen. But now that it has, we need to take it extremely seriously.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean we should take Donald Trump any more seriously now than when he stood at the podium being racist, misogynistic, bigoted and defamatory.  However, thinking about what it says of the way we enact our limited powers in democracy is something that we should consider carefully. Polar Opposites Don’t Attract Good Debate Just as with Brexit, when you give people a simple “in or out,” “yes or no,” or “blue or orange” choice in political decisions they tend to polarise all the other connecting issues.  For example, if healthcare is discussed it becomes contested as an “either/or” option, with no room between. The complexities in its delivery, …

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Immigration: a Political or Racial issue?

In All, Brexit, Immigration by Adam

As the eyes of the political world are on America and the presidential election it seemed the right time to take a step back and ask how the result could affect immigration issues in the UK. In short: it doesn’t. That’s not being obtuse, but realistically there will not be a direct effect on the practical immigration issues for the UK.  However, what is worth considering is how politicised immigration has become, especially in the shadow of the Brexit result, and throughout the US presidential election campaign. Donald Trump has made feathers ruffle by referring to Mexicans as rapists and proposing a wall that sounded more like the Berlin wall of segregation than anything else.  He also proposed the idea of stopping Muslims from entering the US.  Clearly these were deliberately inflammatory statements, and it is hard to cut through …

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Refugees and the poisonous narrative

In All, Refugees, Uncategorized by Adam

The UK has been dragging its heels on the refugee crisis for well over a year now. It is almost impossible to know how many refugees have fled the east from Syria and other countries, by land and by sea.  However, even though the number is unclear, what we do know is that the variety is not. Men, women and children have all escaped war-torn countries and fled across Europe from non-EU countries.  David Cameron made a massive error of judgement in 2015 referring to them as a swarm, and he was heavily criticised for it. The worrying narrative But it had been no mistaken comment: it was all part of a worrying developing narrative.  In August 2015 Cameron openly stated that we needed to take greater control over the number of refugees into the UK.  Somewhat cynically, this issue was …

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Brexit Britannia doesn’t rule the waves

In All, Brexit, Immigration by Adam

The freedom of movement in the EU was one of the key topics of debate in the referendum, often drawing out some very controversial opinions. One of the biggest jobs the current government is going to have to face in its term is the management and negotiation of Britain’s exit from the EU. Negotiation is the key word, and it has to work both ways if there is to be any chance of resolving issues between the UK and the EU.  Many Britons make full use of the freedom of movement we currently have, and indeed many industries in the UK rely heavily on migrant workers. A Bit of Give and Take It seems obvious in a way that in order to maintain some of the benefits of the EU we are going to need to step up and give …

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Listing Foreign Workers: No Better than the Third Reich?

In All, Brexit, Work Visa by Adam

The world seems to have darkened of late in relation to the way leading countries are talking about migration.  Donald Trump is trying his hardest to stir up an anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican stance overseas.  And yet in our own country, the Home Secretary has stated the intention to force companies to publish lists of foreign workers as if they need to watched carefully. When did the word “foreign” become so dirty (again)? Why should an employer be any more accountable for a “foreign” worker than anyone else?  By all means, it is important that migrant workers on a non-permanent visa have the correct paperwork.  Continue to check that people are eligible to live and work in the UK at the point of application, but what is the need to go any further? A Backwards Step However, the Home secretary’s speech …

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The Appeal of the UK: the cost of Freedom and Liberty

In All, Appeals, Brexit, Immigration, Uncategorized by Adam

Buried deep beneath the murky underwater of the issue of migration in the UK is a more troubling trend in the cost of justice in the UK.  Filing a visa application is hard enough without having to worry about the cost of funding an an appeal if the visa is refused. It appears that “freedom” and “liberty” have a price. Migration brings an approximate net wealth of about £2billion a year to the UK, so despite some claims to the contrary, it is not a drain on the economy or the public purse. Brexit might well have provided some hope for people who want a more EU-red-tape-free society, but the cost is an entirely different matter.  Some of the migration rules that apply to non-EU or non-EEA countries could start affecting EU migration.  In fact, this is what people are …

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Jeremy Corbyn, Immigration and Brexit

In All, Brexit, Refugees, UK Immigration by Adam

Jeremy Corbyn has won his leadership: now he needs to win his party Jeremy Corbyn won the second clearest indication of the backing of voters over the weekend when he secured his leadership.  His popularity has always been based on the fact that he appears honest, straight forward, and stands up for what he believes in.  Above all, when you ask him a question you get a straight answer.  That’s new to British politics, and it could be seen as quite telling that his biggest opponents are other MPs. As a result, many people who support Corbyn tend to agree with his views on Brexit and immigration. He is also  well known for building relations with troublesome Eastern leaders, which has led to much criticism.  Ironically, many who criticise that fail to see the irony that they are holding hands …