refugees

The national debate over free speech is in many ways a sucker punch  - "Squirrel!" - that has drawn our view away from the equally important job of winning the argument against the racist and ignorant views being expressed by the alt-right commentators

Now I'm up for a free speech stoush as much as the next person, however I can't help but see the debate that has arisen in the past week about the now-abandoned show in New Zealand by a pair of far-right activists as a missed opportunity. 

Free movement of labour is often described as one of the four fundamental economic freedoms. Putting it into practice is somewhat more difficult.

To make the intentions of this column clear, I am generally in favour of migration. I am a descendant of immigrants and live in a country in which virtually everyone admits to a migration heritage and which has one of the highest proportions of foreign-born in the world. I am also very aware that future migration will dramatically change the country I love, especially by the Asian inflow.

Here's a trawl through the year in politics and what stood out for me

Well, will you look at the time? The House has risen, weather's improving and Christmas is nigh. And heaps of newspapers, websites and journalists of all shapes and sizes have debated their best, worst, winners, losers and more as they try to make sense of what's been a year of recovery, reinvention and rebound after the crazy events of 2014.

While American lawmakers try to stop any Syrian refugees from reaching their shores, Canada is pushing on with a pledge to bring in 25,000 by the end of the year….and that is in full knowledge of a passport complication connected with the Paris terrorist attacks.

The overwhelming number of victims of Daesh are Muslims.

Most, but not all, Syrians feeing their own government and jihadi groups such as Daesh are Muslim.

That one probable fake Syrian passport has threatened the futures of thousands of Syrian refugees is grotesque and so sadly predictable.

The ISIS attacks on Friday the 13th in Paris, in Beirut, and when the Russia plane was attacked, were an attack on all modern civilisation and society from Lebanon to France. The target on Friday was the values first articulated on Paris streets in the 18th century that led to a modern liberal revolution and eventually liberty in speech and assembly, fraternity expressed in tolerance and plurality, and equality between genders. 

Be clear about what motivates ISIS. It doesn’t massacre Yizadis to stop their drones and protest Yazidi imperialism. It kills them and enslaves their women because of their religion. Salmon Rushdie's Japanese translator was not murdered 25 years ago because of the invasion of Iraq. The mad ideology of ISIS began to be popularised through the insane ravings of Sayd Qutb in the 1950s and 60s.