I went to a debate and discussion at the Royal Society of Arts on Tuesday and it proved interesting. The politicians, John Denham, Jon Cruddas and Barbara Roche, all Labour, were fairly predictable and followed the normal approach of politicians everywhere: there’s a problem and action must be taken by politicians like me in order to solve it. They just don’t seem to understand that constantly characterising immigration as a problem creates an incredibly negative agenda. Denham reckons one in ten workers in Southampton are Polish, which I imagine to be plain untrue, and immediately assumed that they were costing the ratepayer money rather than contributing to the local economy and taxation. Cruddas was barely better, but at least he seemed genuinely worried that the far right are a genuine threat. Roche, as usual, had some sensible, liberal things to say.
The star of the show was Professor Nigel Harris, however, who had a number of interesting things to say about long term prospects and circulation of population around the world.