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The Poisonous Debate On Immigration - And Traffic on the M4

14/12/2014 20:09 GMT | Updated 13/02/2015 10:59 GMT

Nigel Farage has further distinguished himself in an outburst to a BBC reporter after being delayed by traffic problems on the M4 whilst on his way to a conference in Wales.

He told the BBC reporter when asked about being late - "That is nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a population that is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be."

He did not offer any evidence for this assertion, nor has he since - so there is nothing to suggest that immigration was to blame for the traffic problems on the M4 that day.

Perhaps it is safe to assume he has no such evidence.

I am sure he felt very annoyed about being delayed in heavy traffic - perhaps he needs to plan his journeys better - but the remark is significant.

What we have evidence for is that Mr Farage makes statements about immigration for which he has no evidence.

He could have simply complained that the traffic was heavy and not mentioned immigrants. That he did might tell us that is how he thinks - find a problem and blame it on immigrants.

Of course many of his supporters will simply nod in agreement with the notion that anywhere where there is any sort of a problem - it's because of foreigners. He could blame immigrants for the weather and still collect a few votes.

The immigration debate is not just about an abstract policy - it is about people - about many of our own hard working citizens who happen to have been born in another Country and its about our national identity and whether we are a Country that welcomes outsiders who can contribute or we see them as a threat.

We hear that the Country is full - when in reality only 2.27% of the land is actually built on. When challenged about this lazy statement about the Country being full we are then told that it is really about local resources being over-whelmed - well OK - then why not say that?

But how much truth is there is that argument anyway? The Sunday Mail recently asked if it was immigrants causing long waiting lists at GP's surgeries - certainly their headline suggested that. Only if you read down the article did you see that it was not the case. Dr Richard Vautrey a member of the BMA's General Practice Committee pointed out that it was an aging population that was the cause - not immigrants.

I don't doubt that some localities do suffer from sudden increases in population - and there should be action to address that. But that does not mean we have to accept the nonsense arguments that are used about immigration.

Of course some people would resent even one foreign person using any of our services - even if the exaggerated, nonsense, arguments are without evidence.

It's not racist to talk about immigration policies but there is racism in some of the arguments. There are elements of blaming foreign people for all our faults and history shows us that this can be truly poisonous to a society.

Mr Farage is no fool and is very good at what he does and there is good reason to listen closely to what he says so that we can form an opinion about his motives.

The M4 remarks do tell us something about him and the wider arguments around immigration and this morbid fear of foreigners that seems to be dominating UK politics at the moment. But it is not only the quality of the debate that is in question - we should all be worried about what is not being discussed.

Around one million people (many are women) are now on zero-hour contracts, on low pay and in precarious employment situations.

The OECD recently reported that because the wealth gap in the UK had widened we had missed out on 20% more growth since the 1980s.

The Conservatives have received millions of pounds in donations from hedge funds and it is unlikely that the hedge fund managers are interested in protecting those most in need in society - but watch out for who gets the biggest tax breaks from the Conservatives!

Lots of important things are not being discussed because Mr Farage is good at blaming immigrants for almost everything.