Immigration and Cultural Loss
Date Written: 04/02/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22101
While immigration has brought major changes in the physical character of British cities and in the rhythm of social life, it is not alone in driving social changes nor is it even the most important driver of social change.
Economic, social and political developments have, in recent years, coalesced to make working-class lives far more precarious -- the imposition of austerity, the rise of the gig economy, the savaging of public services, at the same time as the growing atomisation of society, the erosion of the power of labour movement organisations and the shift of the Labour party away from its traditional constituencies.
Immigration has played almost no part in fostering these changes. 'Social and economic change', Goodhart himself acknowledged in his 2013 book The British Dream, 'would have swept away the old working-class ways even if there had been zero immigration.' Immigration has, however, come to be the principal lens through which many perceive these changes. The very decline of the economic and political power of the working class has helped obscure the economic and political roots of social problems.