…and there’s so much to catch up on!

Around the UK and Ireland:

  • Lots of buzz around the recent release of projections for the UK’s future population: 65 million by 2016 and 75 million by 2051. The folks in the know say that half of the increase will come from immigration, with about 190,000 flowing in each year. Other factors are increased fertility and life expectancy.
  • Whoa! Lookin’ to relocate? Well Ireland was just ranked the Friendliest Place in the World!

    The prestigious British travel guide Lonely Planet reckons that, now the Troubles are over and the streets of Northern Ireland are safe again, the island’s inhabitants have reverted to what they do best – drinking good liquor, making strangers feel at home and having fun…”Centuries of turmoil, conquest, famine and subsequent immigration have certainly taken their toll on the Irish. It has left them with a deliciously dark sense of humour and a welcoming attitude towards strangers.

    I have many, many Irish friends here but have not made it over to the Emerald Isle myself. They are some of the friendliest people I know, but from what I’ve heard from many of them (and of course we must take into account that these are folks who have opted to leave the country) I think a lot of them would take issue with this.

  • UK not doing well on immigrant rights, but overall, in a survey of how the 25 EU countries integrate immigrants, they didn’t do too bad, coming in 9th.

And in France:

  • The French Parliament adopts a bill introducing possible DNA tests for those trying to immigrate to be reunited with family members already living in France. This isn’t so surprising, as the Sarkozy government has clearly stated it wants to reduce the immigration of people for family reasons and to increase immigration for economic/employment reasons. And also not surprising…people are upset! On Saturday the 20th, thousands of people (4,000 according to organizers, 1,500 according to police) took to the streets in protest the bill in a “national day of solidarity with foreigners.” Opponents say it’s racist, and it does sound bad at first glance. But, the tests will not be obligatory or paid for by the migrant and, well, why would the government need a DNA test to be racist? They don’t need a DNA test to confirm your race, right? If anything, wouldn’t this just screw over adopted or step-children? Will probably come back to this one later with more from LeMonde.

Up in Scandinavia:

  • Pat yourself on the back, Sweden! You do best by your immigrant population! And is anyone surprised? These people live in some weird, wealthy, socialist wonderland! (Where it’s dark six months out of the year and they’re all suicidal, but hey, you can’t have it all, and besides, lingonberries make up for a lot).

And finally…

  • Who knew? When they’re not busy being neutral, and wealthy, and making great watches and chocolate (and fondue, don’t forget fondue!) the Swiss are getting uuuuugly with the rise of the right wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and some freakishly racist ad campaigns showing cute little white sheep kicking a cute little black sheep out of their cute little white country. Whoa! (Info on the party’s super cuddly leader Christoph Blocher here, man needs a hug methinks)