Immigration may well prove to be the death knell of the EU as we know it. But if it is, it will not have been due to immigration itself but rather to Brussels' tone deaf, inflexible, and insensitive response to the issue. The matter is highly emotional and goes to the very heart of people's values, sense of fairness, cultural identity and social cohesion. Trying to counter that either with cold numerical and economic arguments or with dismissive insults of xenophobia is not only futile, it is grist to the mill for the political parties which have successfully made immigration their main platform and that seem on track to form the largest single grouping in the European Parliament after the May elections. But it's worse than that. The Brussels response will be constructed by many as being absolute proof of a type of Union they reject.
Over the last five or six years, as poverty and hardship have deepened, unemployment soared and inequality increased across Europe, so has xenophobia festered - with the rise of far-right parties such as Golden Dawn in Greece, and uncomfortable parallels can be drawn between the current socio-economic climate and that of the 1930s, which paved the way for Hitler's rise to power.
Britain prides itself on its sense of justice, on fair play and sticking up for the underdog. So what's gone wrong? Increasingly, as we look around, we find we're living on Inequality Street. Take, for example, the 2010 austerity programme. In theory the cuts didn't have to target the poorest, but in reality they have. This week The Centre for Welfare Reform published a new report, Counting the Cuts, which measures, not just how large the cuts have been, but also how fair they are, and who is being targeted. The results are shocking.
Angela Merkel's call yesterday for a European network "so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic" is hardly surprising given the revelations of how German and other European citizens have had their data indiscriminately collected as they use web services based overseas.
The Gambling Licensing Bill, fast approaching its final stages, plans to change online gambling licensing laws and if passed will undermine the excellent protection afforded to UK customers by Gibraltar and its online gambling operators, who currently supply the majority of UK consumer online gambling transactions.
That people are disenchanted with politics is hardly an original observation. Turnout at elections is declining, politicians are almost universally derided, distrusted and disliked. Perhaps it was ever thus, but modern voters seem less interested and less willing to listen to what politicians say than ever before.