In the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash, an influential subsection of the American political class became convinced that a major economic crisis was on its way. Serious Washington players like Robert Rubin, who served as head of Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995, Peter Orszag, another heavyweight Clintonite economist, and Larry Summers, who served as Treasury Secretary between 1999 and 2001, all raised the alarm.
The crisis would have two causes, they claimed: the federal government’s mounting budget shortfall (the Bush administration was pouring billions of tax dollars into the War on Terror at the time) and America’s trade imbalance with China, which had grown exponentially over the past decade or so.
According to a batch of recent data, the Canadian economy is performing exceptionally well at the moment: nearly 80,000 new jobs – many of them full-time – were created in November; unemployment is at its lowest level in a decade; average wages for permanent employees are rising steadily; and, at 3 percent, Canada’s GDP has grown faster in 2017 than that of any other G7 country.
But there’s one group, in particular, that doesn’t seem to be enjoying the benefits of this boom: immigrants.
I was born in 1986, the year of Margaret Thatcher’s Big Bang deregulation of the British banking system, and I was 22 when the global financial crash hit in 2008. For most of my adult life, the UK economy has been in crisis. First recession, then austerity, and now stagnation, with the prospect of another serious, Brexit-induced downturn on the horizon. Economists anticipate a decade or more of lost growth; a semi-permanent, Japanese-style slump. Prepare yourself, they say, for disappointment. That job you wanted? Gone. That house you’ve been saving for? No chance. That mountain of debt you’re carrying? You can keep it. Forever. It’s yours – along with flatlining wages, part-time employment, and income-eviscerating rents.
I belong, in other words, to the so-called ‘millennial’ generation, a category that includes people between the ages of 18 and 34 – or, more broadly, people who reached adulthood after the turn of the millennium. Millennials are significant for two reasons: they are the first age group in recent history to experience a standard of living lower than that of their parents, and they are really, really leftwing.
According to leading pollsters, Tricia O’Connor is a typical Yes voter.
The 33-year-old single mother from Larkfield, Greenock, earns just over £17,000 a year and lives in what she describes as a “working class area.”
For months after the SNP defied electoral arithmetic to secure majority status at Holyrood in 2011, its control of the Scottish political landscape seemed absolute. With his unionist opponents humiliated, Alex Salmond was effectively free to run things on his own terms.
Recently, however, a series of badly executed policy U-turns and poorly handled referendum controversies – over Nato membership, EU legal advice and Scotland’s currency options – has taken the wind out of the nationalists’ sails. Now another controversy is stirring as the party’s commitment to cut corporation tax comes under increasing scrutiny.