Author Archive for BFTemp
Chineme, 22, one of the participants from the Voice of a Generation tour who we met in Sheffield gives us her views on the immigration debate in the UK – and the effect of the government and media on young people’s perceptions.
According to statistics released by the Home Office, just fewer than 13 million immigrants were granted entry into the UK from 1999-2008. With the total population of the UK around 60 million according to the Office for National Statistics, immigrants in Britain accounted for 7% under the New Labour government. Contrary to what British headlines in the news would have you believe, the vast majority of immigrants at the time were coming from the Americas; more than double that of immigrants coming from European nations.
These trends are continued in 2014 where major increases seen in granted work visas are from countries in Asia, Australasia and the Americas. The largest decrease in the number of work visas granted are from Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The problem with statistics about immigration is that they are non-specific, accounting for the number of passengers coming into the UK. This means that the data does not consider those who may have made several journeys into the UK on different visas.
Statistics about immigration often distort the reality of migration as a social and historical phenomenon. Historically, migration has been for the pursuit of empire building, but there has always been the free flow of people as they moved around in search of work and better life prospects.
One of the most central things young people discuss is their future because everything they have been socialised to do – going to school and studying hard – has been in the pursuit of having a good life as an adult. Getting a “good” job after school is considered to be part of building that future. However, in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2007/2008, in which the job market also failed, suddenly a narrative arose in the public sphere that targeted immigrants as being responsible for taking the jobs of British people. That narrative has been around for as long people have been migrating, and during this time of austerity it chimes to the very tune of fear amongst young people who seek work. In using statistics, the realities of immigration can be distorted to perpetuate the belief that a barrage of “Romanians are Coming” in seek of work to send money back as I remember one Channel 4 documentary claiming. Statistics from any source can also be quickly picked up in the press and used to project immigrants as unemployed benefit claimants who are also after British jobs. This feeds into a xenophobic bitterness that can all too easily by adopted by young people.
British Future has partnered with the Daily Mirror over the last 12 months to uncover the hopes and fears of young people in the lead-up to the 2015 general election. This is our film of the Voice of a Generation project.
Many of us in England will be celebrating St George’s Day this week, commemorating the nation’s patron saint. Others will remain unaware, or wonder why there’s nothing much happening in their local area. British Future’s Steve Ballinger looks at what we think about St George’s Day and what we know, or don’t know, about England’s patron saint.
As part of the Voice of a Generation tour we were lucky enough to be able to speak with a group of young asylum seekers and refugees in Leicester. This is a group who very rarely have their voices heard in the media, even on issues where they are the focus.
In the aftermath of the Scottish Independence Referendum everyone Helen met in Scotland was set on voting in the General Election, but what did Francesca and Alana think would make politics matter more to them as young people?