Posts Tagged 'UK'

Lost Coast: Trump Wins Right to Build over Scottish Dunes

Dunes at Balmedie. Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo by doublebug.

Dunes at Balmedie. Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo by doublebug.

SCOTTISH COASTLINE, MAKE WAY for Trump. The billionaire developer won the right on Monday to doze a unique and ecologically sensitive stretch of dunes just north of Aberdeen, infuriating environmentalists and many locals while others cheered for new jobs. The land will give way to “the world’s greatest golf course,” along with a village of luxury homes and timeshares that will pay for the whole project.

A fisherman and his wife whose house sits at the center of the property have said they aren’t going anywhere; wonder if we’ll see anything like the resistance Wu Ping put up in China. Either way, it’s another sour lesson that despite the boost in “green” rhetoric of late, humans are still chiefly concerned with greenbacks. From the Guardian:

[…] The planning inspectors ruled that the damage to the dunes was outweighed by the resort’s substantial value to the economy – a judgment challenged by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

“It appears that the desires of one high profile overseas developer, who refused to compromise one inch, have been allowed to override the legal protection of this important site,” said Aedan Smith, head of planning for RSPB Scotland.

Martin Ford, the Liberal Democrat councillor whose casting vote against the development forced Scottish ministers to “call in” the plans, said: “This is a very, very bad precedent indeed and sends out a bad message about the protection in Scotland of our natural heritage sites.

“It appears to me to be a vanity project. I don’t think we can claim this is a nationally important development, and it certainly did not need to be built on this site.”

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Looking West: Britain’s Revised Immigration Policy

London in movement by fabbriciuse

London in movement by fabbriciuse

SEOUL — IT’S TOUGH BEING UNWANTED, especially when you’ve fallen out of favor with a major Western power. Britain’s migration advisory committee published a list Tuesday (local time) reducing the number of skilled jobs open to non-EU migrants to 700,000 from 1 million. Effective November, the fields of medicine, secondary education and social work will be closed to those from outside the European bloc, along with 300,000 other jobs. Whether this is a sign of growing economic protectionism or a simple case of discrimination (or both) depends on your perspective. But it seems clear that in an increasingly borderless world, some parties are still trying to hold the line.

They have, of course, left some channels of immigration open — notably to sheep shearers and ballet dancers (Guardian via FP Passport):

It is thought the changes will cut the level of skilled migration to Britain from outside Europe by between 30,000 and 70,000 people a year.

The main list of shortage areas identified by the group of labour market economists is headed by construction managers involved in multimillion-pound projects, civil and chemical engineers, medical consultants, maths and science teachers, and ships officers to staff a newly growing merchant navy.

It also includes unexpected occupations such as skilled ballet dancers and sheep shearers. The experts heard evidence from the Royal Ballet that very few British applicants had the required level of artistic excellence or aesthetics.

The other exception will enable a group of 500 Australian and New Zealand shearers who travel the world working on up to 400 sheep a day to continue to operate in Britain, where they shear 20% of the UK flock.

The MAC acknowledged that one way to address these shortage areas, aside from turning to “low-paid immigrant labour,” is to increase pay rates for those positions. Citing budgetary reasons, they said such a solution is off the table for now. Another answer might be to both raise wages and allow people from outside the EU to compete — leveling the playing field, allowing immigrants to improve their lot and potentially giving the economy a boost. That idea didn’t seem to occur to the committee.

Having just moved to a nation where the word “foreigner” is used in wide brush strokes and where finding work as an outsider in anything besides teaching English is often prohibitively difficult, I can perhaps say based on anecdotal evidence that such closed economic policies are not only the result of buried nativist tendencies (Korea for Koreans, Britain for the Brits) but have the effect of perpetuating such notions. A blunt example is Japan’s refusal to grant suffrage to the over 600,000 ethnic Koreans living in the island nation, many of whom are second or third generation — a policy that pokes at the still-gaping wound of colonial history.

If migrants, expats and other such folk are regulated out of having a full role in their adopted society, they are also shut out in more emotional ways. Tension bubbles, leaving rifts in a culture that could otherwise be rich in mingling hues. It is a backwards step in a globalising world, and one that Britain should consider carefully.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • In a recent letter to The Morning News, Rosecrans Baldwin tells readers that Paris is bummin’ him out…and, you know, trying to kill his wife.
  • South Korea is worried about the price of booze — more specifically, soju. In a battle to keep low-income families afloat amid inflation, the government released a list of 52 items that it will price monitor; the potato-based distilled beverage made the cut.
  • Guidebook author Alastair Sawday talks about the Slow Travel movement over at the Guardian, and gives his picks for meandering around Britain.
  • The International Herald Tribune gives a public face to the five women who died during Tibet’s riots: He Xinxin, Chen Jia, Li Yuan, Cirenzhuoga and Yang Dongmei.
  • And finally, all this news might hardly matter if earth is eaten by a black hole.

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