The Prime Minister made yet another attempt this morning to set the agenda. He came to Ealing to talk about immigration. Listening to the PM programme on Radio 4 just now he managed to register the third headline after stories on dementia drugs and swine flu.
His two main proposals seem to be a review of student visas and a probationary period for new citizens.
In a speech (see here for the insomniacs amongst you) of 4,300 words you will not find the words sorry, apology or regret. Typical. Apparently this speech is designed to take ground from the BNP so that they cannot call it their own. Brown will not achieve this without acknowledging fault. It was only last month that Evening Standard journalist Andrew Neather casually let the cat out of the bag, describing how government immigration policy had been formed around 2000:
But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural. I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.
Brown’s speech was delivered in the Nelson room of Ealing Town Hall. He used his speech to acknowledge local MP Virendra Sharma who had turned up to bathe in the reflected gloom. It was nice of him to pay a visit to the Town Hall. Last year he claimed £9,480 in allowances but only turned up to 7 of the 21 meetings he was supposed to.