Listen to this article
This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.
The fiasco in Britain this week over the legal status of the “Windrush generation” has kick-started a much bigger conversation about the nation's attitudes towards immigration and immigrants. As Theresa May’s government continues to deal with the fall-out from the crisis, the runes are being read about its policy implications, especially in the era of Brexit.
Bronwen Maddox of the Institute for Government argues the Windrush cases expose the problems of arbitrary targets for migration. The rigid and rules-based doctrine at the Home Office stemmed from Mrs May’s stated aim, as home secretary, of creating a “hostile environment” for illegal immigration. She might have been reflecting on the public mood at that time, but the practical consequences resulted in thoughtless policies.
The Windrush story has become such a headache for the May government because it is a very human story. The novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah has written about his own experience of coming to England in 1968. He points out that the government’s treatment of immigrants reflects a wider problem in British society. Migrants still suffer from xenophobia and are too often blamed for the country's problems. Hopefully, this saga is a moment for change and we can properly acknowledge their contribution to British society and culture.
Farewell Wenger: Simon Kuper says farewell to the long-serving Arsenal manager. An original who reshaped the game, Simon reckons nobody will have Arsène Wenger's power over a football club again. Our FT View compares Mr Wenger's exit to Sir Martin Sorrell's departure from WPP and looks at the leadership lessons of longevity.
Life lessons from Elon Musk: Henry Mance takes inspiration from the Tesla founder in some tests and rules for a life well lived. His New Yorker test: Never tell a story unless you are sure what colour socks the protagonist wore on the day before the key event. Spend at least a page describing them.
The Trump boom: Robin Harding argues the global economic outlook for the next two years looks promising, all thanks to Donald Trump. His economic stimulus will create a big rise in the US current deficit, he argues, and the result is more growth at home and abroad.
Best of the week
Brooke Masters on why Wall Street still has lessons to learn about overworked staff
Martin Wolf says a second Brexit referendum would tear Britain apart
Anjana Ahuja told us about the world's smallest chemistry experiment
The FT View on Trump’s short-sighted mistreatment of Japan
Merryn Somerset Webb thinks the payback time for QE is looming — and it will be expensive
Edward Luce says the legal net closing in on Donald Trump
Wolfgang Münchau on how Germany is frustrating Emmanuel Macron’s grand ambitions
Peter Mandelson and Allie Renison debated whether the Commonwealth can provide Britain’s trading future
Jurek Martin's obituary of Barbara Bush
Janan Ganesh argued it is too early to write off a new centrist party in the UK
What you've been saying
South Africa’s dilemma over land reform— letter from Sam Wycherley
Not enough has been done to redress the economic scars of apartheid in South Africa. But there are better ways to achieve it than land reform, which puts the South African government in a dilemma. If it compensates fairly the owners of the land it expropriates, it does little to reduce racial inequality. If it does not, it will risk eroding private property norms and deterring foreign investors. Instead, South Africa should raise its inheritance tax rates — currently at 20 per cent — to redistribute relatively painlessly. This would hit whites who have benefited the most from the legacy of apartheid the hardest without the racially charged optics of land reform.
Comment from MissMarple on Emmanuel Macron is the rightful heir to the spirit of 1968
Some in these comments compare Macron to Thatcher. This is a mistake. When one looks closely at Macron's reforms, they are eminently sensible, moderate and certainly not Thatcherite. As he said twice during his interview he does not believe in the "trickle down" theory nor in privatisation at all costs.
Risk to power generation sector is already real — letter from Alexander Pfieffer
If we, as a society are serious about meeting any climate stabilisation scenario, only three options are on the table for the power sector: retrofit carbon capture and storage to existing coal and gas plants; make sure that significant negative emissions take place in the future; or strand significant parts of that infrastructure by underutilising or retiring it early.
Gillian Ayres, artist, 1930-2018
The abstract painter with a love of colour exhibited at the world’s leading galleries
The world prepares itself for the Donald Trump boom
The global economic outlook looks promising — especially if you are an Asian exporter
Arsène Wenger shows that no one can be a pioneer twice
The Arsenal manager’s misfortune was that his methods became best practice
Windrush cases expose arbitrary immigration targets
The Home Office has enforced policy in a rigid and rules-based way
Ingram Pinn’s illustration of the week: Peace talks
US and North Korea hold secret summit preparations
Instant Insight: Axe removed from neck of Barclays’ Jes Staley after FCA verdict
Year-long investigation in whistleblower incident frees chief executive to continue
Windrush saga exposes mixed feelings about immigrants like me
The hounding of longstanding black residents highlights lasting xenophobia
Forget the deathbed test — take your life lessons from Elon Musk
The Tesla founder has a new way to check the tech world’s behaviour: the Dilbert rule
Free Lunch: Rethinking regulation
Deregulation reduces competition, contrary to what those on the right are saying
Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published