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Customer Review

on 1 May 2013
People are concerned about immigration and worried that there simply might be too many immigrants. It is not an easy subject to talk about. There is a strong tendency to label anyone who raises the issue of immigration, immigrants and the impact they have on Britain as a racist - so few people are willing to take an honest look at the question. David Goodhart, who describes himself as coming from the Left, has been brave enough in recent years to investigate immigration and publish articles and now this book. One of the central themes is the impact immigration may have on the future of the welfare state. There is evidence that having a welfare state depends on a solidarity of feeling - that is, that the more homogeneous a population is (think of 1960s Sweden) the more people are willing to fund welfare programmes to help the less fortunate. Where a society includes quite large percentages of foreign-born people (such as the USA for much of its history), there is a tendency towards greater indivualism and less support for welfare policies.
Goodhart has read a great deal on the subject and has also travelled widely in Britain to talk to immigrants themselves. His results are fascinating - the relative successes and failures of immigrants from different ethnicities and religions, for example, and the impact of cousin marriage amongst those of Pakistani origin in the north of England. Also, the financial impact on the country's finances - he finds that immigration has a neutral impact at best on the country's prosperity (although employers love immigration - they don't have to finance all those pesky training programmes and instead can get educated, motivated and ready-trained immigrants). He is strongly anti-racist but is critical of much of the "anti-racist" Left. The Left has failed to acknowledge the progress made in combatting racism in the last few decades and still acts as though Britain was a thoroughly racist country in which the colour bar still operates.
In recent years the number of immigrants has ballooned and the issue will remain a hot potato for years to come. This is a very useful book on the subject and should be read by all who are concerned about the massive changes brought about by immigration.
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