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on 28 June 2013
I'm not that far in yet but already I can tell that the style of writing is user-friendly and the content has been well researched. It's obviously a touchy subject and far too nuanced for the old immigration good / bad 'debate / diatribe. I would highly recommend this book.
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on 6 July 2013
Gives a great understanding of how we've arrived at our segregated society and how, if we're not careful, it could all go horribly wrong. Also shows that racism is not simply the result of white society.
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on 29 May 2013
A sensitive but level-headed analysis of immigration. I have already won several arguments with friends because of the information I have picked up from it.
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on 23 July 2013
Goodhart's argument is about post-second world war immigration to the UK from a liberal -left position. It has nothing to do with right wing anti-immigration arguments or rac and lack of integration by key ethnic groups.
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on 29 May 2015
Good, informative book!
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on 15 May 2013
I do not agree with the conclusions of this man but he has certainly done his homework with interviews with a huge range of people, visits to many locantions and lots of statistics This book is so good that it runs the risk of becoming the "must read " text book on immigration .
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on 24 April 2013
A very readable and well argued summary of the effects of large scale immigration into the UK. Very down to earth. Does not appear to be written with any 'agenda' in mind. I recommend it!
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on 8 January 2014
Most of our debates on this issue produce more heat than light. Migration is an enormously complicated issue and this book looks at it rationally.
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on 27 August 2013
This is, overall, a good account of the immigration story of the last 60 years or so.
It is at times fascinating, and only starts to lose a breakneck pace near the end.
The book discusses many problems that have arisen from large-scale immigration and a non-focus on integration and provides great anecdotes and material to really educate the reader in this important area live and politics.

However, the book, whilst in the main balanced, does have a liberal twang in sections, and shys away from more harder politically sensitive issues concerning immigration and integration.

The most laughable omission comes later in the book during a long (and mind numbingly protracting) section concerning what it means to be a British national today and how this `feel' has, in many people's minds become eroded. However, despite a long chapter describing all sorts of abstract sociology, the author fails to even acknowledge that the fact that being part of the European Union that accounts/makes around 73% of our laws *may* just have a little effect on national sovereignty and `feel' of connection to country. This omission has pro-Europe liberal written (or not, as is the case) all over it, and it may be interesting to discuss sense of country 10 or 20 years after the country can actually make all of its own laws that the EU currently makes for them.
Finally, I don't understand why some books fail to provide an index? Surely that cannot really add anything to the cost of the book's production, and often aids the reader. Strange.
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on 5 October 2015
Dream or Fantasy? David Goodhart’s The British Dream

Goodhart’s study of the “successes and failures of post-war immigration,” as his subtitle puts it, is a substantial, responsible attempt to describe and analyse the background to migration to the UK, the current situation and its problems, and to suggest solutions and predict outcomes. The book tries to present a balanced picture, neither demonising nor sanctifying immigrant or native. In all of this, Goodhart has considerable success, but there are problems.

One source of difficulty is both the privileges and limits of Goodhart’s identity as an Old Etonian, university graduate, director of the think tank Demos and son of the former MP Sir Philip Goodhart. Such a background provides David Goodhart with the education, resources and connections required to do research, to write up his findings in clear expository prose and to get published. However, the same background precludes direct experience of life as, say, a member of the native white working class or underclass in a South Yorkshire mining town or Lancashire mill town, where the former industries and manufacturing base no longer exist. In these parts of the country—and elsewhere—mass migration has resulted in possibly irreparably divided communities and, for example, large-scale child sexual exploitation where organised gangs of immigrant males from South-Asian cultures prey on the children of the “kaffir,” as they so insultingly call us. Goodhart’s only recognition of this specific major problem with the culture clash caused by immigration is a two-and-a-half-line footnote (197).

His “three […] English stories” (317) of immigrant success in England and his quoting the claim of a country that “has finally found a role: just being England” (Andrew Sullivan, Sunday Times 24 July 2011, qtd 318) are carefully chosen and exclude the voices of millions of natives, especially in the North, whose lives and prospects, already limited, have been further degraded by the effects of immigration. Goodhart should have spoken to a young Englishman who, catching the bus to sign on at the Job Centre, finds the driver is Polish, or to a survivor of the mass rape of white children by Pakistanis in Rotherham. His book acknowledges problems and does criticise the one-sided views of the “immigrationist school” (for example 320ff), but does not admit directly the voices of those dispossessed and damaged by rapid mass migration into a small, overcrowded country that, until recently, had a high degree of homogeneity in its population, though with a healthy degree of diversity among the natives themselves. The shock of arrival for the immigrants is more than equalled by the shock for the natives.

Many of Goodhart’s proposed solutions for problems are sensible. For example, he suggests training natives to fill shortages in the labour market rather than hiring trained people from abroad (322), criticises the assumption that “British workers are always less good than foreigners” (324) and argues “for relatively low and highly selective immigration, especially at the lower and middling skill levels” (323). On the other hand, when he claims that “everyone benefits from downward pressure on wage inflation and costs” (320), Goodhart is less credible. Capitalism benefits but low-paid British workers do not, particularly when the downward pressure comes from hiring foreigners as cheap labour.

Goodhart, of course, is writing about current events and contemporary history, always subject to change and producing new challenges. His solution to the current migration crisis with hundreds of thousands of people from all over Africa, Asia and the Middle East simply walking into Europe, with millions more to come, suggests both the difficulty of the problem and the unreality of the measures proposed to deal with it. On a recent BBC2 Newsnight programme, Goodhart advocated the establishment of migrant-processing centres in Morocco. The multiple reasons for the uselessness of such a proposal are too obvious to require listing.

The closing pages of The British Dream paint an optimistic picture of a near-future Britain successfully absorbing its immigrant minorities. But this picture, “a short history” of “a more benign future” (336), does not entirely convince. For example, Goodhart claims “Islamic radicalism began to die away as a significant force in Muslim Britain” (338) and yet, back in the real world, TV news has recently announced that the last twelve months have seen the largest ever number of arrests in Britain on terrorist offences. Understandably, Goodhart wants a happy ending, both for his book and for Britain; in the absence of a real happy ending, he invents one. But the device backfires. For the native reader experiencing the actual history rather than Goodhart’s “more benign future,” the gap between the two is only emphasised by the author’s presentation of fantasy as reality. Utopias are always elsewhere or elsewhen. For those of us living with the actual effects of immigration, particularly the native white population of the North, comfortable integration and mutual acceptance between native and immigrant are a long way off. Adding to the challenge by the importation of more migrants, whether from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa or Asia, will simply magnify and prolong the problems. We already have one in eight of the population foreign-born. Surely that is more than enough?
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