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Western politics and migration

The election of Donald Trump marked a turning point in American politics. The openly anti migration stance in his politics is in direct contravention to his predecessor Barack Obama. The move also marked a harsh right turn in western politics, as it followed the UK's decision to leave the European union. Do these election results spell bad news for migration? The answer is almost certainly yes.

Trump was elected on a wave of anti-migration sentiment. His harsh nationalistic stance, while popular in the so called "rust belt" of the US, was deeply unpopular abroad. Similarly, in the UK the Brexit campaign also focused significantly on the negative aspects of large inward migration. This too was a significant vote winner.

But there is a silver lining. In the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn experienced a large swing of the vote towards his more tolerant and open socialist ideals. At the same time, the notoriously nationalistic French went against the hard right wing and voted in centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. It certainly appears that there is a huge divide in opinion in western politics.

The way that these elections have gone has spelt good news for central European nations. Germany already benefits from significant inward migration. Keenly aware of a slowing birth rate, but a growing economy, Chancellor Merkel has kept a tight grip on power with a hugely popular liberal stance. It also appears that the French will open up and modernise. They also have a low birth rate and a growing (if slower) economy. There are also the benefits to them from companies that may leave the UK due to Brexit. Indeed the French government have already offered companies that leave the UK to go to France the benefit of submitting documents in English. Germany's financial centres have also been keen to pick up any business that may leave the UK.

With world events playing out as they are, it appears that going forward the central European nations will become more popular as a destination for migrants looking to build a new life. This can only be bad news for the UK. The country already has a significant skills shortage, and the reduction of well-educated migrants cannot be a good thing. So far it seems that the UK has a policy of wait and see. But this isn't good for migrants who are looking to move and are looking for a stable and economically vibrant nation to move to.

The UK's recent changes to visa regulations also mean that there is a defined attempt to slow down inward migration to the country. Whilst that may be cheered by many, it would appear to be an extremely short sighted view. As time and again many benefits have been shown to come from strong levels of immigration. It seems that the biggest issue is changing attitudes within the UK, and education that promotes the benefits as well as the negatives.

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