By Jonathan Power
Every developed country is importing cheap labour, although much less so during this time of the Great Recession, yet all too rarely are the pro and con arguments discussed with real profundity.
A new, incisive, book “The British Dream” by David Goodhart, the founder of the magazine, “Prospect”, dares to deal with the shibboleths. There are many commonalities in Britain that apply to countries as varied as France, the US, Thailand and Qatar.
Goodhart’s conclusion about immigration is that what we might generalize and call the “working class” point of view is essentially correct: “We have had too much of it, too quickly, and much of it, especially for the least well off, has not produced self-evident economic benefit.”
This viewpoint is anathema to the liberal intelligentsia, businesses and many governments. In Britain, after years of gate-closing under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, a well trodden liberal, opened the gates wide. Businesses could smooth the wheels of the economic motor with workers prepared to work for lower wages, work night shifts, do the unpleasant jobs and thus grease the wheels of the economy. Liberals focused on the argument about giving a helping hand to some of the world’s poor and led to a welcome broadening of the culture with new foods, restaurants and music.Read More »