The country I walked through deserves better than Brexit | Mike Carter

A trip across England in 2016 revealed a nation broken by neoliberalism. For it to heal, this above all has to change

In May 2016, a few weeks before the EU referendum, I walked 340 miles from Liverpool to London to see what was happening to my country. I was travelling in the footsteps of a 1981 march against unemployment that my late father had helped to organise. In that year, Tory policies had devastated industry and sent unemployment skyrocketing. In 2016, Tory austerity was putting the final nail in the coffin of those broken communities.

Even so, on my walk I was shocked by the level of poverty, by the sheer number of homeless people in doorways and parks, and by the high streets of boarded-up shops and pubs, full of payday loan outlets and bookies. People in those former industrial towns spoke of their anger and betrayal, of having being forgotten by Westminster politicians, of their communities having been destroyed as the manufacturing that had sustained them either folded or moved to low-wage economies.

Related: All Together Now? One Man’s Walk in Search of His Father and a Lost England – review

In Nuneaton (66% leave), I met a man who reeled off the names of closed-down factories like you might your football team’s greatest all-time XI

Related: What I found in Theresa May’s heartland: an England in miniature | Ian Jack

Related: UK austerity has inflicted ‘great misery’ on citizens, UN says

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Sweden Extends Border Controls, Citing “Continued Threat To Public Order”

A few short months after Sweden was harshly criticized over its border controls in a Schengen report released in September, the country announced this week that it will extend border control measures for an additional three months.

“The decision is based on the government’s assessment that there is a threat to public order and internal security in Sweden,” a government press release stated. 

In autumn 2015, Sweden introduced border checks on car and train traffic at the Öresund Bridge, as well as at ports in Varberg, Gothenburg, Malmö, Helsingborg and Trelleborg. The measures were in response to the large influx of migrants into the country. 

And, as The Local reports, last summer, the checks were expanded to 12 new spots, including some of Sweden’s largest airports, after criticism that border controls were poorly manned and that those carrying out the checks lacked the necessary knowledge.

Now, an additional 100 border officers will be added to the existing team of 400 by the end of the year. Stockholm border police will also aim to increase the number of border checks and improve equipment and training for staff. Border officers working at Arlanda Airport will also now be able to call on the entire Stockholm police region’s resources when needed.

In announcing the extension of border controls on Thursday, Interior Minister Mikael Damberg indicated that the Swedish measures would not be necessary if there was a united European approach to border security. 

“Sweden is one of a handful of countries that continue to have internal border controls due to lack of border controls at the Schengen’s external borders,” he said. 

Just be careful if you start discussing this increased border security – which some might call racist – since, as we detailed previously, the see-something-say-something mantra is alive and well in Sweden… Head of online hate speech monitoring group “Näthatsgranskaren” Tomas Åberg receives tax funds for mass reporting pensioners and others who write critically about migration on Facebook.

And now he claims that his reports to the police have resulted in almost 150 hate speech convictions.

“1,218 police reports 2017-2018. 144 hate speech sentences, from 214 notifications. Many are waiting for prosecution!”, writes “Näthatsgranskaren” (The Online Hate Speech Monitor) on Twitter.