First blog in 2014 and before saying anything else I’d like to extend my heartiest best wishes to you all for a bright, prosperous and healthy New Year! It will certainly be a busy one for all of us hear at MRN and we hope you’ll be ready to join in at least some of the campaigning activity we are planning.
What also needs to be done on this first day of 2014 is to raise a glass of sparkling water to celebrate the lifting of the transitional controls on our fellow Bulgarian and Romanian citizens of the EU which have prevented them from taking employment in the mainstream jobs market. Anyone with any real contact with these two communities knows that the effect of these measures has been to bottle up a lot of talented, ambitious young people into marginal areas of the economy, eking out poor existences on the books of agencies selling them on as ‘self-employed’. It is good that this charade is coming to an end for this group at least, though we shouldn’t forget our fellow EU Croatian citizens, who have just started the long haul under the stressful limitations of transitional controls.
The red-top tabloids are spending today at the charter flight airports and the Channel crossings carrying the coaches that will be en route to destinations across the UK. The advance signs – empty seats being reported by Ryanair and the other carriers – suggests they will find the evidence of ‘invasion’ hard to come by, though no doubt they will try to make the most of what they have anyway.
For our part our plans for 2014 are to continue to build a network of supporting organisations and individuals which will be working to support migrants wherever they are from, helping them to build bridges with the settled communities and ensuring that they are in a position to claim all the rights they will need to ensure that their migration meets the goals they are aiming for.
The big dates for your diary in the first half of the New Year ought to be 22 March, when anti-racist and migrant support groups will celebrating UN Anti-Racism with a national march in London. It will also be the occasion to kick off the work we expect to be doing over the following weeks as the European Parliament and local government election campaign gets underway – voting probably (they haven’t officially fixed the day yet) on 22 May.
MRN is also going to be involved in the Open Generation event, taking place in April, which will be providing a platform for young people to speak our on their experiences on migration and the free movement of people. Keep a watch on MRN blogs for that.
But even before that you will want to know about this years TEDxEastLondon event, taking place on 18th January in Bethnal Green. This will be the third year that folk have gathered to discuss the theme of ‘Society Beyond Borders’ using TEDx’s unique style of conference format. This will be a place where the very biggest of ideas and visions are set out and discussed in a way that guarantees stimulation and discussion. Do join our colleagues supporting this event on what will be a truly exciting day!
And again, all the best for 2014 to everyone interested in the work MRN is doing. We hope to meet and hear from you very soon in the New Year.