Book Launch

We’ve organised an informal book launch at 7pm on Wed 6th December at:

Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
King’s Cross
London N1 9DX

Sharif and Brian will be reading passages from the book, and copies will be available to buy.

Feel free to drop in. All welcome!

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Updated book cover and new video

Manchester University Press have decided to release the book with a full dust jacket instead of a simple image printed onto the book cover. See pic. They’ve also released a promotional video on YouTube [ ].


book cover

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The Hippie Trail: now available to pre-order on Amazon UK

The Hippie Trail: a history, 1957-78

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Easy Jet in-flight magazine article on the Hippy Trail

Sharif provided some help and info for Andy Hill’s Easy Jet in-flight magazine article on the Hippy Trail (click link for pdf file)


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IWMW17 Sketchnotes and thoughts

Round up The conference was excellent again this year – given the challenges of Brexit, and broader changes to the HE sector it was more upbeat than might have been expected. It seemed that there wasn’t much doom and gloom – instead people seemed to be confident in their abilities to meet the challenges. Mainly … Continue reading IWMW17 Sketchnotes and thoughts
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Migrant ‘Remainers’

As David Davis, the UK Government minister responsible for managing the country’s exit from the EU, “gets down to business”, as he puts it, in Brussels, it is not surprising the issue of the rights of EU nationals living in the UK is top of the pile. Few public issues in the UK spark more heat than immigration, especially in the context of debates about ‘Brexit’.

In a new book, with my colleagues Julie Knight and John Lever, Labour, Mobility and Migration, published by University of Wales Press, we look at the experience of migrants who arrived in Wales after the enlargement of the EU in 2004, which saw Poland and nine other countries join the EU. As the UK prepares for its exit, what of the fate of those EU nationals who have made Wales their home?
One of the unique features of the migration which followed in the wake of EU enlargement in 2004 was that every part of the EU saw marked increases in the numbers of EU nationals settling, and not just the usual migrant ‘hotspots’. In Wales, the number of Polish nationals increased from just over 1000 in 2001 to nearly 20000 a decade later, with over 90% of Polish nationals living in Wales arriving after 2004. At the outset, the assumption was that we should expect migration to fall away a few years after accession, but that has not proven to be the case. Indeed, most migrants, too, come thinking they will stay only for a short period, only to find they stay much longer.
In our research, one of the issues we looked at was why migrants ‘overstay’. We found they did so for a range of reasons. Most particularly, they could do so because they have work or, should a contract be terminated, can find alternative employment relatively soon and, in contrast to many migrants from outside the EU, there are no compelling legal reasons why they need return. We found relatively few cases of individuals who were actively and positively choosing to stay because of their job, with the exception of entrepreneurs who had created openings for themselves and now had business ties to the localities in which they lived. Instead, work was, for the large part, a means to a better end. Similarly, the comparative ease with which migrants move between the EU’s member states is a crucial structural enabler of migratory drift, but this is about what makes possible this type of migration rather than what causes individuals to commit, to varying lengths, to an extended migratory career. To understand why most migrants drift, often for many years, we identified three main interconnected factors.
At the outset, individual migrants are likely to have a good deal at stake in ensuring they persist with staying abroad, even in the face of the difficulties most face after arriving. The decision they made to leave Poland will rarely have been made in isolation, and whether because of personal debts to others who have helped or because they have staked something of their reputation in leaving, these commitments act as constraints on their actions. Once they are joined by family, or new relationships are formed abroad, the complexity of these commitments increases in magnitude. This is because their actions are informed by interests extraneous to their original decision to migrate rooted as they are in experiences specific to the host society.

A second factor which emerged from our research which contributed to migratory drift was how, again over time, migrants adjusted to a different mode of life abroad. ‘Integration’ – as evidenced by growing familiarity with English, their exposure to and use of the language in their daily lives, personal connections to members of the local population or by how they accessed news about the host society rather than about life in Poland – was uneven across the localities we studied. Even among those, however, who spent much of their lives speaking Polish, they had nevertheless acclimatised to the different rhythm of life in Wales and this clearly exerted a considerable force over their outlook. Though better wages enabled them to worry less about the temporal pressures to which they were used in Poland – the weekly bills, the monthly rent or repayments – it was their experience that life in Wales, broadly, ran at a different, more welcome pace than in Poland. That many of those who, by objective measures, would be regarded as living in the shadows of the local society felt transformed by their experience of living in Wales might not be viewed as ‘integration’, but it is nonetheless a powerful form of adaptation.

Finally, to understand why so many migrants stay it is necessary to take account of the cultural and social context, not only the economic, in which migration occurs. In the case of Poland, in the near decade-long build-up to accession, it wasn’t just the country’s economic and policy structure which had changed; cultural values and social expectations, too, had undergone fundamental shifts. Especially in those former industrial towns and in rural Poland where economic restructuring had cut the deepest, and among young Poles with limited opportunities to exercise choice in the country’s transition to a market economy, migration provided them with the capability for making a change.

We need to review our understanding of the mechanics of migration. The ‘push-pull’ model for evaluating international migration frames labour migration as rooted in the differential conditions of national labour markets. ‘Poor’ people, or at least those originating from societies whose economies are less developed than in the destination country, are pulled towards ‘rich’ countries because they can earn more money. Our take on this matter is that while there is an undeniable truth to this proposition, those we interviewed were moving because they had aspirations to live better. Even if the need for an immediate injection of money was a factor, our research revealed that migration was more widely pursued as a strategy for achieving an improvement in how these men and women lived by changing where they did so.

What impact the UK leaving the EU will have on the legal status of nationals of EU member states is yet to be established. Our research nevertheless leads us to conclude that, wages aside, a reciprocal exit on the part of individual migrants, returning to Poland, would be seen to have come at a significant personal cost.

Andrew Thompson

Labour, Mobility and Migration is published by University of Wales Press is available in paperback and as an ebook. For more details, see
Andrew Thompson is Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of South Wales

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‘The Glastonbury Experience: Beliefs, Politics and Values’ Research Questionnaire

This questionnaire will take you 10 minutes to complete.

It will contribute to academic research carried out by scholars at the University of South Wales, Cardiff University and the Open University, in UK. The data we collect will be solely used for academic purposes (such as conference papers, workshops, seminars and academic publications). Your contribution to our research is very much appreciated and the data will be treated with respect and consideration.

Please click this link to complete the questionnaire:

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A Gay Christian Minister Comes Out

A Gay Christian Minister Comes Out Ray Vincent, Associate Chaplain The attitude of Christian churches towards homosexuality has generally been negative, and in many places still is. Forty years ago it took great courage on the part of a few … Continue reading
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Agenda for Change – Local Government and Public Services in Wales

There are only a few days left to respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation on its proposals for the reform of local government in Wales. Whilst the the title of the White paper focuses on local government, ‘Reforming Local Government: Resilient and Renewed’, it is actually much more about public services in Wales and how the Welsh Government wants services to operate in the future. Against a background of how many local authorities should exist in Wales with the obsession on their number, the white paper sets out some ideas around the renewal of local democracy, regional and collaborative working and joined up service delivery.


The proposals set out in the white paper reinforce the role of elected members, or councillors in local democracy. The proposal is for these members to sit on Regional Partnership boards in much the same was as councillors currently sit on the governing boards of the fire and rescue services in Wales.  There are huge expectations from the regional partnership boards in the joint delivery of health and social care services.


Joined up delivery and collaborative working are set out as the new ‘normal’ in which councils and other public bodies sit together in regional Public Service boards to deliver more focused outcomes for citizens within their areas. The existing 22 local authorities in Wales are a key part of the new agenda and their involvement in the regional footprints in health and social care, transport, education and other service areas is central.


In addition to participating in the regional agenda, local authorities can continue to operate separately as 22 authorities or they can decide to merge or come together for the delivery of certain functions.


The White Paper also focuses on the importance of community councils in Wales in particular communities.


Its enhancement therefore of the involvement of councillors in regional decision making and the endorsement of community councils could potentially reinvigorate democracy.


However, expanding the role of councillors in the governance of a range of services needs to take on board a number of important issues to ensure effective public services. These include the need for councillors to represent the communities they come from in terms of diversity, gender and background, to be trained in the key areas of challenge and scrutiny and for them to fully understand their role, particularly focused on the improvement of outcomes.


This won’t be without its challenges. One of these will be where local councillors make decisions in regional forums which may impact negatively on their local areas. Another challenge will be the workload involved and the need to attract the very best individuals who are ‘up to the job’. Perhaps the days of the ‘part time’ councillor are over due to the increasing demands on them.


The White paper aspires to joined up collaborative public services in Wales. This aspiration has existed for a number of years, probably since the Beecham reports

which were published over 10 years ago and since then, there has been the Williams (2014) report  – In all of the time that many have spent on talking about reorganising and improving public services in Wales, the joined up collaborative public service agenda is taking shape much more quickly, for example, in areas of England including Manchester where the Combined authority is set to take charge of a range of services under the direction of a Mayor


It’s time to stop talking.  Lets get on with delivery securing the best outcomes for the citizens of Wales.



A link to the consultation can be found at




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Research Poster: From the Hippy Trail to Festivals


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