Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?
The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?
Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are being swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed – or so we are told. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying?
Many people think that global companies now rule the roost, and that the most we can do as citizens is to boycott their products in protest. They are profoundly mistaken. We are still free to choose – as individuals, as groups of like-minded people and through the power of our elected governments. What’s more, we can, to a large extent, pick and choose: unlike marriage, globalisation is not an either/or choice; it’s more like a supermarket where we can choose from the best the world has to offer.