A vote for soft fascism

Yesterday’s vote to leave the EU is a leap into the unknown. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the winning side hasn’t a clue what happens next.  No exit strategy, no negotiating brief.  Only a vague perception that “we have taken our country back”, and a lot of noise and fury about immigration;  a vote distinguished […]

Brexit and the politics of irrationality

A few miles from where I am sitting, something altogether disturbing is about to happen.  There appears to be every sign that, in the South Wales valleys, thousands of people in one of the most deprived areas of the UK – one whose Less Developed Region status under EU rules means that it is a […]

For Labour, Emily Thornberry’s tweet is not the issue

Emily Thornberry, former Shadow Attorney General, has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet after tweeting a photograph of a house festooned in St George’s flags with a white van parked outside.  It was a stupid, insensitive thing to do; it’s easy to see why people could take offence at what looked like ridicule of a Rochester […]

Labour, low pay and immigration – and a double standard that must be addressed

In an article in the Independent, Ed Miliband has set out proposals for ensuring that the use of illegal immigrant labour, often paid far below minimum wage, is not allowed to bid down pay and employment prospects for all.  He writes: Instead, we will reform an economy hard-wired into a cycle of low wages, low […]

Why are we angrier about immigration than workfare?

You could be forgiven for thinking that the end of restrictions of movement on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals within the EU from 1 January is the most important thing happening in Britain right now.  It has certainly caused a frenzy of political and media comment, much of it pure speculation fuelled by some frankly idiotic […]

In praise of Borgen

Why do we all like Borgen so much?  Why has this Danish import captured such a large and dedicated following in a country that is notoriously resistant to subtitled drama? Now in its third series, Borgen, for the benefit of those deprived souls who don’t know it, chronicles the rise of Birgitte Nyborg, charismatic leader […]

Eastern European immigration, low wages and an epic political car-crash

Today’s media have been dominated by a speech by Chris Bryant MP, due to be delivered later today, on immigration and low pay.  Bryant was apparently due to accuse two major UK retailers – Tesco and Next – of using cheap Eastern European labour to undercut wages for local workers.  Both companies, as might be […]