Alan Johnson, home secretary, has recently admitted that the government has been “maladroit” in its handling of immigration. This is British understatement. It has been dishonest: it has pursued a radical policy, with profound consequences, on weak grounds, without serious debate. That is why the British National party is on BBC television.
The government has been able to get away with its dishonesty because immigration is the “third rail” of politics. Few wish to discuss the topic openly. But some discussion is essential. Present policies have big implications. These should be evaluated and discussed openly. That is the democratic way.
So let us start with a few facts.
The remainder of the article can be read here. Debate from our panel of economists appears below.