Download The Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea PDF

TitleThe Fate of the West: The Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea
File Size1.2 MB
Total Pages110
Table of Contents
                            Copyright Page
List of figures
Introduction: The idea of the West
1. Let battle commence
3. Democracy and the art of self-entrapment
5. Britain, their Britain
Notes and references
Document Text Contents
Page 55


Britain, their Britain

I must admit I find the English are
extraordinarily difficult to understand.

A.G. Macdonell, England, their England, 1933

Be strong, Maggie told us all. Get educated. Get away.
That’s what she said. I listened.

Damian Barr, Maggie & Me, 2013

IF WE LOOK BACK AT BRITAIN in the 1970s and 1980s, the big migration issue
then was what was known as “the brain drain” – the movement of talented
Britons chiefly to the US, but also to other European countries, Canada and
Australia. Tension over immigration to Britain was focused on arrivals from
Commonwealth countries, former colonies such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
the West Indies and parts of Africa. The Immigration Act of 1971 imposed
tighter controls on inflows from the Commonwealth. Membership in 1973 of the
European Economic Community, later known as the European Union, produced
no concern in Britain about immigration from other European countries, for the
flow was largely expected to go the other way. One popular TV comedy was Auf
Wiedersehen Pet,1 a series that from 1983 onwards depicted a group of
construction workers from north-east England who go off to work in Germany –
thanks to free movement under the EU treaties. Britain was known to be the sick
man of Europe. Why would any educated, skilled European have wanted to
move to a country in decline, one so stuck in its past?

Why indeed? But two decades later that is exactly what hundreds of
thousands were doing and by their choice they were identifying Britain as a
dynamic story of revival, a country with a future in which to make their own
futures. According to the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, the
number of foreign-born people living in the UK more than doubled from 3.8
million in 1993 to about 8.3 million in 2014, making up 13.1% of the population.
London alone had more than 3 million foreign-born residents among its

Page 109

Bill Emmott was the editor-in-chief of the Economist from 1993
to 2006, and is now a writer and consultant on international
affairs. He is a regular contributor to the Financial Times in
London, La Stampa in Italy, Nikkei Business in Japan, and for
Project Syndicate worldwide. He is a trustee of the International
Institute for Strategic Studies, a Visiting Professor at Shujitsu
University, and global economic adviser for Stonehenge Fleming
Family & Partners. He is the author of several books, including
20:21 Vision, Rivals, and Good Italy, Bad Italy. He is also the
narrator and co-author, with Annalisa Piras, of a documentary
about Italy, Girlfriend in a Coma. In 2015, he produced The Great
European Disaster Movie, which has now been seen by 2,500,000
people in twelve countries and translated into ten languages.

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