With Remembrance Day almost upon us we have entered another period of debate and discussion over the symbolism of the poppy. It's a debate which offers irrefutable proof of the increasing politicisation of this annual event, one which rather than unite the country around a shared narrative and set of values instead reminds us of a history of conflict that is contested over the question of whether it should be considered a source of pride or shame...
I have rarely felt so ashamed, or so angry. David Cameron, it seems, regards it as a "moral duty" to cut taxes - but not to save desperate migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean. By comparison, Marie Antoinette ("let them eat cake") was compassion incarnate.
These bones from arid countries that have walked, run, climbed, crawled, sailed, clung on and hidden for two years on the journey from Africa and the Middle East to reach their promised land, the United Kingdom... when winter comes, having made it this far, if it is an unkind one, some will almost certainly die.
My brief story is completely tangential to this, but it did illuminate me as to how "generous" the system is. and just how easy it is to claim from it. I had never- like many; I was an observer- with opinions that labelled me as one of those "middle-class lefties".
As a strategy, it's not only heartless, but ineffective. Building barriers will not stop people attempting to scale them, not when they are fleeing for their lives. The UK should be pressing for a Europe-wide system which allows people to access protection safely; and in the meantime, contributing to a rescue operation that saves lives, instead of justifying leaving people to drown.
Yes, the applicants for asylum look bedraggled and unkempt when you see pictures of them huddled outside Calais. Yes, some of them get into fights and cause problems for the police. They don't look too great when they are pulled from the Mediterranean after a ramshackle boat provided by unscrupulous people-smugglers has capsized and sunk.
Today, I have become a Citizen of the British imperialist state. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also had to swear my allegiance to "Her Majesty", her Heirs and Successors, a bunch of idlers, thieves and expropriators (to use the current lexicon: benefits scroungers!). Offensive, isn't it?
We hear a lot about the perceived negatives of immigration, which it turns out can be pretty much anything if you hate facts and can be inventive enough with your arguments; but we never hear about the absolute, basic, inarguable economic fact that immigration is essential to our wellbeing as a nation.
It's very simple: ignorance perpetuates stigma and stigma kills. In making the latest in a long series of ill-informed pronouncements, Nigel Farage seems to hark back to a dark period of history which we are all much better off leaving behind.
After the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton by-elections, Labour has to find ways of reaching out to and reconnecting with the so-called 'left behind' Ukip voters - but without throwing migrants or minorities under the bus.
My work suggests working-class Tories rather than Labour traditionalists are most likely to defect to Ukip, but their overall point holds: this is not a movement Labour can afford to ignore.
Nigel Farage has made it plain that even if the UK suffers a drop in GDP; because we limit immigration then it is worth it. Farage wants us out of the European Union and wants to stop the UK spending money on overseas aid.
The influx is placing a strain on our healthcare, welfare and housing systems. But there's also arguments that without immigrants our NHS in particular would collapse. Are we a nation of people too good for tough or 'menial' jobs? Or are we just letting in too many people to do them for us?
This is not merely a shallow populist and reactionary revolution, but a revolution with deep thought, based on the right political philosophy. This is the only way Ukip can distinguish itself from the current establishment - whereas if they start playing the same political game as the rest, it will do them no favours.
Ed Miliband's policy is ill-conceived, based on the widely held assumption that employers recruit migrants rather than invest in their UK born workers. As with much recent immigration policy, it is based on opinion rather than evidence. More importantly, it fails to recognise a real issue in the under-utilisation of migrants' skills.
Unlimited immigration from the EU is not a good thing. Immigration is, according to the polling, the second most important issue in British politics today - behind only the economy. In his Conference speech Labour's Ed Miliband, the man hoping to be our next Prime Minister, 'forgot' to mention both the economy and immigration. Understandable perhaps, given Labour's record on both issues when they were in government.