Big Audio Dynamite: Beyond the Pale (1986)

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Big Audio Dynamite: Beyond the Pale (1986)

Right now with Britons poised to vote on their membership of the EU it seems that at some level nationalist sentiment is reaching its nexus. For many this won't be a vote on economic realities but rather something more simple if not base: Immigration.

It is a hot-button topic and brings out al the usual cliches ("Coming over here and taking our jobs" and "We can't afford them", which actually seem diametrically opposed because if they are coming over and working . . .?)

And in New Zealand, the genuine and deplorable housing crisis in Auckland -- about which the current government has been a model of inaction and neglect -- has raised similar sentiments regarding immigration and more specifically refugees.

We would be naive to think that in Auckland particularly immigration has not contributed to the housing crisis but there are rather more complex factors in play (not the least absentee owners capitlising on the increase in house prices, which took Australian banks to respond to).

But the paltry number of refugees New Zealand accepts has hardly tipped local people into sleeping in cars. It is possible to house our own people and welcome refugees fleeing god-knows-what.

But with Brexit in mind specifically, the Clash's Should I Stay Or Should I Go -- which has probably been a tabloid headline over there -- came to mind.

But then this song by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones written for Big Audio Dynamite. It appeared on their No. 10 Upping Street album and reminds listeners how Britain is a country of immigrants ("Immigration built the nation").

And they wrote it 30 years ago. 

Just a thought, from one whose family migrated to New Zealand 60 years ago. 

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