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Thursday, September 08, 2005


Born Abroad

Immigration is one of those political topics that always seem to generate more heat than light. So it was interesting to see some data rather than bigotry for a change. This Wednesday, the BBC published a report it had commissioned from the IPPR, based on data from the 2001 census, which examined the foreign-born population (whether naturalised or not) resident in the UK.

One's attitudes to immigration tend to be governed by whether one is a
drawbridge up or drawbridge down person. If you prefer not to see some cherished myths demolished, look away now.

Among the findings in the BBC's Born Abroad survey are some interesting factoids:

There is much more data for you to explore on the BBC's Born Abroad site, including detailed geographical breakdowns.

We know from the work of Prof Richard Florida on the '
creative class' that towns and cities that embrace an ethnically diverse population tend to perform better economically. We also know that more cosmopolitan cultures are politically more (small 'l') liberal.

If I were a budding Liberal Democrat candidate, I would be scrutinising the detailed district-by-district figures, together with data on where graduates and undergraduates live, for some clues about the future good prospects for parliamentary gains over the next few years.

Is it possible to be a Liberal, profoundly committed to a free, multi-cultural society with respect, opportunity and acceptance for all, and yet believe that the UK now has enough people in it, regardless of their racial or ethnic origin?

If so, I'm in.
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