Brexit or Bremain? Immigration and identity before and after the referendum

In this EU-special we talk to Andy Mycock, Reader in Politics at the University of Huddersfield, about the role of identity and immigration in the referendum and to Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory, on what might happen to EU migration if the UK leaves the EU.

What we’re seeing is as much a debate about what it is to be British in the 21st century as it is about what it is to be European.

Andy Mycock

Is Scotland more pro-immigration and more pro-EU? Andy Mycock argues that this is the case to some extent, but that the question is more complex. He also views the issues of immigration and identity that are so prominent in the referendum debate as part of a longer trend of increasing identity politics in the UK. Andy has recently contributed to a new edited book on euroscepticism in the UK and has written widely on issues of identity and citizenship in the UK.

The debate about an Australian style points based system is a bit of a red herring. It is often cited as something that is designed to reduce migration to the UK, but points based systems like the one in Australia generally let people in without a job offer and has traditionally been designed to increase immigration.

Madeleine Sumption

Does the UK already have a points-based immigration system? Would EU-migrants have to leave if the UK brexited? Madeleine Sumption  [15:50] concludes that it is very hard to predict what immigration might look like if the UK decides to leave the EU, as this depends on what policies are opted for and what relationship with he EU the UK will have. Asylum may be the least affected area and current EU migrants don’t need to worry too much about having to leave. The Migration Observatory has investigated several key aspects of the issue, find out more on their website.

Multiculturalism versus interculturalism and is it the end of open door Germany?

Multiculturalism has got a new critic: interculturalism. Professor Tariq Modood, at the University of Bristol Research Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, talks about his new edited book where the difference between these two ways of approaching diversity and cohesion is debated. We are also joined by Dr Timo Lochocki, Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, to discuss German refugee policy and the success of the far right.

If I’m sensitive around issues of minority identity and the risks and threats to the loss of identity, well what if some majority societies say they feel that their own cultural identities are being disrespected by government policies and by the direction of events.

Tariq Modood

As one of the most prominent proponents of multiculturalism, Tariq Modood discusses the challenges that interculturalism poses and where the future debates on diversity and cohesion may be. In a new book, Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines edited by Tariq Modood, Nasar Meer and Ricard Zapata-Barrero, the questions of how different states reconcile ethnic, cultural and religious diversity to forge unity is discussed. But what is the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism? Is there a difference between Europe and North America? Tariq argues that the experience of Quebec forces us to think about majority cultures and he also points out that in the future, multiculturalists need to think about migration also at the border.

No German government will close Germany’s borders. However, with integration policies it’s different. Here the government is very keen on addressing conservative voters who they cannot address otherwise in closing the borders.

Timo Lochocki

Last year Germany opened its borders to refugees and around one million took up the offer. Now, the Merkel government is facing a threat from the far right, anti-immigration party the Alternative for Germany (AfD). We’re joined by Timo Lochocki, who directs the German Marshall Funds’ research on diversity and party politics, to discuss what is happening in Germany. Timo argues that Germany dealt well with the large number of refugees and now when numbers are going down, the capacity is there. However, Germans are still worried about capacity, even though they do not want to close the borders. Instead, the government is making integration policies more assimilationist.