Time and time again, the public has stressed to the political establishment that immigration is an issue that must be taken seriously. We can only claim to take it seriously when we collect proper migration data in earnest. People on all sides of the debate can agree that Britain and its people deserve better migration data.
In my view each person decides who they are, what their identity is. Some Scots feel Scottish and don't identify with a British identity. Other Scots feel Scottish and British, and proud of both. I am from India - but if we were limited to our ethnicity and ethnic stereotypes it would be a dull world indeed.
What we need is a nationwide dialogue about the British values we do (and perhaps don't) share - a dialogue that spans the sacred and the secular, the north and the south, the urban and the rural, and the advantaged and disadvantaged. It may well be that our schools are among the best drivers of this dialogue, but only if we downplay its didactic purpose in favour of our best traditions of democratic debate.
Refugees consistently face some of the toughest choices imaginable - whether to stay where they are and face rape, torture or death or leave behind their family, everything they have and know to embark on a dangerous - all too often fatal - flight into the unknown. Here's where I'm supposed to say: 'Imagine if it were you, facing such a choice. Imagine if it were your mother or brother". But you don't need to be patronised. We're all more than capable of empathy. Yet we continue to treat refugees with ignorance and even contempt. Why does our collective empathy so often fail to manifest in our treatment of such a vulnerable group?
The blaming of the number of foreign players for the decline of the England squad, like the blaming of immigrants for the decline of job opportunities or wages is a smokescreen, detracting from the real issue.
For many of the women who take these chances for better work or education, prison, or sometimes detention centres, can be a terrifying ordeal. With a lack of family presence and a very likely language and culture barrier, getting the right advice or support can be almost impossible for foreign national women,
A couple of weeks ago, Frank Field MP wrote an open letter to David Miliband about taking a harder (might I say UKIP) line on immigration. I wasn't impressed and wrote a reply - and Mr.Field subsequently replied to me. Below is my response to him.
A modern economy needs a constant flow of new labour -- both skilled and unskilled -- and immigration is the only way to get it. Germany, UK and America have built their economies on this and I met a lady from Silicone Valley, the centre of America's IT industry who said her industry's message to the US Government is simple: "give us more Indians."
Is it just me and the fact that I have my Google alerts set to pick up all immigration-related articles, or is immigration the word on everyone's lips? With the EU election having just past and the UK election being less than 12 months away, immigration will continue to be the buzz word on the political frontline for some time to come.
It's well over 20 years since John Major, then the British Prime Minister, expressed his reverence for a country of "shadows on county cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and old maids bicycling through the morning mist".
Earlier this month we saw a huge increase in votes for UKIP and people discussing the subject of immigration. Whether or not you agree with those votes, the simple fact is that millions voiced their concerns and to just ignore them and their opinions is nothing short of disrespectful. It is simply saying we hear you but we are not listening...
We are an island race, this means we have always been proudly independent, and also completely reliant on integrating foreigners.
Dear Mr. Field, I read your letter in today's Observer with some dismay. If ever it was the time for the Labour Party to stand united, take on UKIP and reclaim its base, it is now.
Immigration is good. There, I've said it. Now I wait to be struck down by a thunder bolt. A country that attracts immigrants is a healthy country. It boasts a growing economy, a stable society, and offers a safe environment for children to grow up in. Its people live under the rule of law, with freedom of speech and of religion. It's a country of which I'm immeasurably proud to be a citizen. Without immigrants, Britain would be a much poorer place. It would be hungrier, dirtier and less healthy. It's immigrants who pick and pack the food that we eat, immigrants who clean our offices and streets, immigrants who keep the NHS going and care for the elderly in their homes and nursing homes.
Voters from the 28 member nations of the European Union delivered an election earthquake on May 25. Results show major gains in the European Parliament for anti-integration, Euroskeptic parties which span the ideological spectrum from the extreme-right National Front which won the ballot in France, to the far-left Syriza Party which came first in Greece.
Many people do not vote because of a sense of hopelessness. Would my vote make a difference? Would it have an impact on government? Here's a real-life example for those cynics, skeptics and pessimists ... In Southcoates East, UKIP's victory was decided by only 9 votes. With the benefit of hindsight, would you have voted if that preordained the defeat of such party?