The British Dream by David Goodhart
Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration

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For all the optimism of the title, this books drips with misplaced pessimism.
-Guardian

Synopsis

One of Britain's most influential centre-left thinkers examines UK immigration policy and argues that there have been unforeseen consequences which urgently need to be addressed.

In The British Dream, David Goodhart tells the story of post-war immigration and charts a course for its future. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with people from all over the country and a wealth of statistical evidence, he paints a striking picture of how Britain has been transformed by immigration and examines the progress of its ethnic minorities - projected to be around 25 per cent of the population by the early 2020s.

Britain today is a more open society for minorities than ever before, but it is also a more fragmented one. Goodhart argues that an overzealous multiculturalism has exacerbated this problem by reinforcing difference instead of promoting a common life. The multi-ethnic success of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics and a taste for chicken tikka masala are not, he suggests, sufficient to forge common bonds; Britain needs a political culture of integration.

Goodhart concludes that if Britain is to avoid a narrowing of the public realm and sharply segregated cities, as in many parts of the US, its politicians and opinion leaders must do two things. Firstly, as advocated by the centre right, they need to bring immigration down to more moderate and sustainable levels. Secondly, as advocated by the centre left, they need to shape a progressive national story about openness and opportunity - one that captures how people of different traditions are coming together to make the British dream.

 

About David Goodhart

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David Goodhart is the director of the think tank DEMOS, and the editor-at-large of Prospect magazine, which he founded in 1995. He was previously a senior correspondent for the Financial Times.
 
Published July 1, 2013 by Atlantic Books. 416 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The British Dream
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Birrell on Apr 13 2013

For all the optimism of the title, this books drips with misplaced pessimism.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by David Edgar on Apr 03 2013

...he still thinks that veiled women cause "indirect psychological harm" to those who pass them in the street. David Goodhart is not exceptional in these views, and some of his ideas – like free English lessons for newcomers – are excellent.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Caldwell on Apr 12 2013

A self-described “public-schoolboy leftist”, Goodhart is in visceral sympathy with large parts of what is called the multicultural agenda.

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The Economist

Below average
on Apr 20 2013

...a book that does not really accomplish what it sets out to achieve. Mr Goodhart does not convince the reader—at times he does not even appear to convince himself...

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