Globalisation is over. That much is obvious. Not ‘small g’ globalisation of course – the extension of transport and communications networks, squeezing space and time – but big G Globalisation, the creation of a world of borderless free trade and free movement. That’s finished.

One sign, no more or less significant than many others, is a recent article on immigration by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times. Wolf has been one of the most energetic proponents of neoliberalism in past years and his Why Globalisation Works remains one of the most challenging defences of the idea.

Immigration has been much on the minds of the British since it was realised that between half and one million East Europeans had entered the UK (despite predictions of about 30,000) since the region joined the EU in 2004.

Wolf has two main answers: the interests of existing citizens have priority, and numerical controls should be applied, and entrance should be based on “shared values”, ie no towelheads.

Hardly an unprecedented opinion these days, but what happened to the idea of freedom of movement? If Globalisation means anything, surely labour should be as free to move as is capital? How else would a genuinely global economy not flourish, if labour cannot flow to where the jobs are?

The answer is, of course, that Wolf and countless others never really believed in the idea at all. At the first sign of trouble, they roll over and become eager sycophants of the national security state, constructing a handful of spectacular terrorist events as a global war – an expression of weakness if ever there was one.

How far into deep conservative territory such commentators will go is unknown – as far as is needed to stay on the right side of power one presumes. The ultimate Globo-dope was Thomas “The World Is Flat” Friedman.

When he starts talking about integration and loyalty tests – in about December, I’d suggest – bury your silver.

Peter Fray

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