Immigration, immigrashun

Britain is, finally, engrossed in a mature debate about immigration. For decades, politicians have shunned the topic. Anyone who raised the issue of sardine-can Britain was tarred a racist.

The debate is about the three million immigrants added to Britain's population of roughly 60 million people over the past decade. At a time of unemployment and spending cuts, it's reasonable for people to want to know the balance of those working or claiming benefits.

But politicians and self-appointed media chatterboxes are missing the point.

Immigration is the result not the cause. Britain ended up in this mess because the employment needs of industry and countryside had changed. Few politicians noticed and if they had an immigration policy at all, it was one which "imported" the wrong people.

Britain became one big metropolis. In a metropolis you need a core of highly skilled specialists along with fodder for the service sector.

If we still had manufacturing we would have required skilled workers, immigrants or local. If our countryside was thriving we would have needed both skilled workers and strong arms.

Instead we have a welfare system that attracts millions to the metropolis. Many from Asia arrive with skills. Many arrive straight from the village, illiterate in their own language as well as English.

And we have no use for them.

We have a welfare system that shifted a million people from the unemployment register to the disability register to keep them out of work. Yet for a decade we let people immigrate with no skills required.

When politicians are so confused they don't know what their country DOES, why it exists or who lives there, you have a problem.