EU migrants to Britain and Irish people

There are some very careful phrased statements being made at the moment about EU migration into the UK. The wording is important, because there is a key different between EU migrants and EU nationals working in the UK.

This difference is the Irish. While Ireland is in the EU and Irish people can correctly be described as EU nationals, in UK law, people born in Ireland are not EU migrants.

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A history lesson for Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith has attempted to appeal to the Left with today’s argument that the EU and “uncontrolled immigration” has caused a downward pressure on wages. Despite being at the forefront of taking from the have nots and giving to the haves for years, he’s now blaming the EU.

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The history of anti-Irish racism

The following article appeared as the foreword to Phil Mac Giolla Bháin’s book “Minority Reporter”.

There’s nothing new about anti-Irish racism. In fact, some of the language of racism in general can be found far back in Irish and British history. Gerald of Wales accompanied the anglo-Norman invaders who first subjugated Ireland to rule under the king of England in the 12th Century. He wrote, in The History and Topography of Ireland (PDF), of the native Irish:

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Media silence over Freedom firebombing – imagine if it was Waterstones

Apart from a few notable exceptions, there’s been an indefensible level of silence about the firebombing of Freedom Bookshop on Friday morning. Only one TV channel, Press TV, bothered to send a camera crew to East London.  ITV, the Evening Standard and the Guardian did write stories about it, even if the latter did use the bizarre phrase about the shop that “[i]t claims to stock thousands of books, newspapers, pamphlets…” It’s a bookshop, what exactly makes a statement of easily verifiable fact a claim?

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A tale of two Harry Bolands

Many years ago, I was reading Emma Goldman’s autobiography sitting beside the pool while on holidays in Greece (not necessarily everyone’s idea of relaxing, but I’m not everyone). I sat bolt upright in my sun-bed when I got to page 567 and Goldman writes of lecturing in Philadelphia. There, she writes, she met “two persons whose friendship recompensed me for the otherwise dreary experience, Harry Boland and Horace Traubel.” Harry Boland! She goes on, “Harry was an old devotee and always generously helpful in every struggle I made.”

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All out for May Day

The Budget is out – tax cuts for the rich on top of trying to destroy the NHS, welfare cuts, tax avoidance, university fees, post-riot sentencing, hackgate, occupy evictions – the reasons to be angry go on and on and on and on. But, after the massive student demos of just over a year ago, the 26 March demonstration and the 30 November strikes, things seem to have gotten fractured. Lots of small demonstrations and actions, but what we need to do is bring everyone together and create a massive force to take down this government and scare the next.

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