Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NEW BOOK: Thom Brooks, Becoming British

. . . available at all good bookstores now!




From the back cover:
From Syrian asylum seekers to super-rich foreign investors, immigration is one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Politicians kick the subject from one election to the next with energetic but ineffectual promises to ‘crack down’, while newspaper editors plaster it across front pages.

But few know the truth behind the headlines; indeed, the almost daily changes to our complex immigration laws pile up so quickly that even the officials in charge struggle to keep up.

In this clear, concise guide, Thom Brooks, one of the UK’s leading experts on British citizenship – and a newly initiated British citizen himself – deftly navigates the perennially thorny path, exploding myths and exposing absurdities along the way. Ranging from how to test for ‘Britishness’ to how to tackle EU ‘free movement’, Becoming British explores how UK immigration really works – and sparks a long-overdue debate about how it should work.

Combining expert analysis with a blistering critique of the failings of successive governments, this is the definitive guide to one of the most hotly disputed issues in the UK today. Wherever you stand on the immigration debate, Brooks’s wryly observed account is the essential roadmap.

Can you pass the British citizenship test? Take my quiz here -- and learn more about my new book!

Can you pass the British citizenship test? Take my quiz -- and read my book.

Great fun in new blog post at my publisher's website promoting my new book Becoming British HERE. Enjoy!

Labour is Listening - Supporting SMEs

The Labour Party has a great new tool to connect with voters called 'Labour is Listening'. You can submit comments or policy suggestions on topical issues. This is what I sent today on how the Labour Party can support SMEs in new ways:

Most policy ideas for SMEs concern taxation and/or regulations. Tax breaks and incentives alongside more effective - and necessary - red tape are important.

But one further suggestion is to promote a more co-operative model. Small businesses are separate companies, but they can have shared interests. My father ran a bicycle shop out of a single shop. He was able to compete better with larger businesses and national chains by making a partnership with other independent bicycle owners in the wider area. They could pool resources and help each other with stock in a mutually beneficial way. Everyone kept their independence while preserving their freedom.

Some type of SME partnership for small businesses could help build in greater resilience to the benefit of these businesses, the local economies they serve and their customers. This could be managed through traditional means like tax incentives, but another way is engaging creatively with local chambers of commerce and trade organisations - as well as the unions. We're all in it together when it comes to a strong local economy.

Thom Brooks
Professor of Law and Government, Durham University
http://thombrooks.info

STATEMENT ON QUEEN'S SPEECH: Are Cameron's Prison Reforms a Revolution?

Today's Queen’s Speech is to announce “the biggest shake-up” of the prison service “since Victorian times”. What is happening? Governors of six prisons will have more control over budgets and daily routines. A grand total of just 5,000 offenders will be affected.

This is really about two things. The first is a step towards making prisons more like academies. Prison governors will have control over budgets like school headteachers.

The second is that prisons can earn an income – like from the work by prisoners. Expect to hear nothing about the potential pressure on low skilled labourers in areas near these prisons.

These plans say little about what will happen in prisons, only who has more budgetary freedom. And this is all a long way from addressing the problems of overcriminalization – and overcrowding.

The best prison reform is to improve criminal justice so prisons are needed less. These reforms may do nothing to stem the tide of offenders entering our prison system. Prison governors may have budgetary freedom for their use within a prison's four walls, but they have no freedom over deciding who should there or for how long. And what will they do? When we know that, we'll know whether this was a revolution in the making -- or a government spin to deflect attention from an exhausting EU Referendum campaign...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Great British Citizenship Test Quiz

Fun link AVAILABLE HERE on Biteback Publishing's blog promoting my book Becoming British. How well did you do?

Friday, May 06, 2016

NEW BOOK: Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined published by Biteback



From the back cover:

From Syrian asylum seekers to super-rich foreign investors, immigration is one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Politicians kick the subject from one election to the next with energetic but ineffectual promises to ‘crack down’, while newspaper editors plaster it across front pages.

But few know the truth behind the headlines; indeed, the almost daily changes to our complex immigration laws pile up so quickly that even the officials in charge struggle to keep up.

In this clear, concise guide, Thom Brooks, one of the UK’s leading experts on British citizenship – and a newly initiated British citizen himself – deftly navigates the perennially thorny path, exploding myths and exposing absurdities along the way. Ranging from how to test for ‘Britishness’ to how to tackle EU ‘free movement’, Becoming British explores how UK immigration really works – and sparks a long-overdue debate about how it should work.

Combining expert analysis with a blistering critique of the failings of successive governments, this is the definitive guide to one of the most hotly disputed issues in the UK today. Wherever you stand on the immigration debate, Brooks’s wryly observed account is the essential roadmap.