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.
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.
The rise of Ukip, the vitriolic discussion over the relaxation of border controls relating to Romania and Bulgaria, the abolishment of the UKBA and now the problems at the Passport Office, show that immigration is, without doubt, an all-consuming issue for the public and one that is going to be at the front of voters' minds on and before 7 May 2015. However, the government, rather than shadow boxing with Ukip by continuing to make claims over a net migration figure they have no control over, should create a structure that ensures immigration is given its full attention. After all you can have as many silver bullet policies as you like, but without the gun to fire them you're never going to hit the target.
Cultural differences do play a role in shaping migration, yet it is of lower importance for those migrants at top of the educational attainments. Migration policies should therefore strongly consider selection on migrant skills as a top priority, but above all easing the avenues through which talents are allowed in the country.