My friend Ana said it:
Malik wrote about immigration, putting it in the perspective of current and past attitudes. He points out, correctly in my view, that part of what is new about the current immigration fears is that they are being encouraged by politicians in the context of increasing social fragmentation:
Britain’s manufacturing base has all but disappeared, working class communities have disintegrated, and the welfare state has begun to crumble. Trade unions have been neutered, […], and the very idea of class-based politics is derided. All this has helped erode the bonds of solidarity [in] working class communities. Immigration has played almost no part in fostering these changes. It has, however, come to be a means through which many perceive these changes. Partly [as] a consequence of […] politicians […] [presenting] immigrants as a problem, even a threat. Partly also it is because the forces of globalization, or the internal wranglings of the Labour Party, are difficult to conceptualise. One’s Bangladeshi or Jamaican neighbour is easy to see.
And the end of the essay has the most troubling facts for us to keep in mind:
Since 1988 some 20,000 migrants have died trying to enter Europe, two-thirds of them perishing in the Mediterranean. And what have European nations done in response? They have continued to strengthen Fortress Europe and charged fishermen who saved drowning migrants with aiding illegal immigration.
Check his post for the whole text.
Philip Cohen took on the issue of claims about same-sex marriage. In particular he showed, for US data, that there is no evidence that allowing same sex-marriage reduces the number of children brought up in opposite-sex homes. From his post:
He goes on to more sophisticated analysis (look at his post) and ends up concluding:
Summarizing all the experience we have data for so far — 34 state-years of data — there is no evidence that allowing same-sex marriage reduces the likelihood that children will be born to or live with married, man-woman parents.
His was a great post using data analysis to debunk the claims of a conservative ruling in the american state of Utah. It would be good if MPs in Portugal would base their decisions on careful look at data as well.