Last week I was in Camberwell, South London when I was drugged, shaved, cut open and had part of my insides removed. There must have been about 40 people involved in total, mostly foreign migrant workers. They pushed me around and made bloody well sure they got what they wanted as quickly as they could before I was sent on my way, back into the mean streets of the capital. It has taken me since then to build up the strength to write this blog. Now I want to thank those who did what they did because they probably saved my life.
Despite the outsized media platform given to them, we know that UKIP's poisonous views are not in line with the majority of the British people. We are part of a growing coalition of community groups opposed to UKIP's right-wing rhetoric and ready to challenge them all the way to the general election..
Britain needs to stop romanticising 'us' and stop demonising 'them'. Britain needs embrace it immigrant hordes for the incredible resources that they are, and reclaim its rightful place as a power broker in the 21st Century. But first, Britain needs to stop being afraid.
In the name of defending its prosperity, Europe is encouraging a historic decline of the humanitarian principles and values on which much of European culture has been constructed during the last three centuries. Not only is the welfare state in retreat, but a hostile attitude towards vulnerable social groups is becoming prevalent. An outlook is gradually spreading of considering vulnerable people to be unacceptable, particularly when they come from abroad. The cultural implications for Europe, which long ago stopped being the leading producer of culture in the world and has been living in the shadow of the USA, are incalculable.
Sticking to a net migration target that means nothing is simply not the way forward. We need a government who will make promises it can keep and ensure that we remain a key player in the world to help us create the jobs of the future. David Cameron has shown again today why his government will not and cannot do that.
If we want an informed debate, it would help if the immigration figures mean what the public thinks they mean. Figures should be accurate, with long-awaited entry and exit checks implemented. They should be reported in a way that makes sense to people.
Whether one sees immigration as universally wonderful, sensible in moderation and quality or as something harmful the facts are undeniable: a European country can rely on foreign workers to man its health service as much or as little as it wishes to.
Perhaps we ought to start looking into The Green Party, or even The Animal Welfare Party, or rather than protest voting for the far right, protest vote by destroying our voting slips? Surely anything is better than voting for a party who're no better than the BNP?
It is clear both the UK and Australia can benefit from easing movement of our citizens and are also missing out on the skills we can offer each other. Let's not weaken a bond touted as one of the strongest international relationships to exist. I implore our politicians and our experts to seriously consider the free movement and mutual recognition of qualifications put forward by the Commonwealth Exchange with the support of Boris Johnson.
The idea of protest voting in next May's General Election is becoming a very real concern for the main Westminster parties. The Conservatives are threatened on the right by UKIP, Labour are challenged on the left by the SNP and Greens, and the Liberal Democrats are losing votes to, well, basically any other party...
To pretend racism doesn't play a role in generating hostility towards, and anxiety over, immigration is naive, if not disingenuous. Those who piously claim that opposition to immigration in the UK isn't driven by prejudice, bigotry and hysteria, but rather by "legitimate concerns" over rising migrant numbers and a growing pressure on public services, should try answering the following five questions.
There won't be an end to political gridlock yet, there's just a movement of the chokepoint from the Senate to Obama's veto. People were very frustrated that nothing got done in Washington the last couple of years, but they should not count on DC becoming a smooth, tough, lean and mean operator just because of one election. Some market friendly decisions now have a better chance of being taken, but politics in general in America will not begin to work better overnight.
For Brent and Sarah, the £18,600 threshold condemns their Christmas time to one carried out across the Atlantic. Instead of sharing a kiss, they will share a call. Instead of waking together, they will wake alone. It is a Christmas tale no one should ever endure. I hope that by Christmas 2015, common sense and not discrimination will prevail.
Migration is a fact of life. Humans have moved around the world for hundreds of thousands of years. It's hard to blame someone for wanting to improve his or her circumstances. My parents made the same decision when they realised I had polio. After he came to London my father never saw his parents again. My mum and dad made huge sacrifices for which I will always be grateful.
The whole argument for and against immigration is way too complex for any one person to discuss in a single article but there is one area that I haven't heard people talk about in the debate and that's the creative industries.
Before many of us could even catch our breath after Britain nearly tore itself in two, England is at it again, playing roulette with our other closest, hard won political partnership.