Michael Portillo, born-again liberal, on immigration :
The biggest single change in postwar Britain is the transformation in who the British are.
The new diversity of races and religions makes a big difference to life in the UK. Some places have changed their appearance and norms of behaviour entirely. Many people will applaud the transformation for the diversity and enrichment that it has brought. But if the alteration of Britain can be presented in such positive terms, then it is all the more remarkable that it has occurred without the British people’s consent being sought.
There are many things in life that are commendable in small quantities, but pernicious in large ones. Why should immigration be any less debatable than tax? If one quarter of the UK’s new babies now have a foreign parent, is it fine to argue that it would be preferable if it were one in two, but disgraceful to suggest that one in eight would be better ?
His conclusion ? it's probably not good that the subject's pretty much off limits, but the Tories lost the last two elections, so there you are.
More on Open Britain - health tourism :
A confidential internal report on health tourism estimates that the bill for treating foreign patients amounts to at least £62 million a year, The Times has learnt.
The figure is “bound to be an underestimate” since new rules intended to prevent the abuse of the NHS by foreign patients are being ignored, according to the report.
Surprise surprise - maternity and HIV seem to be big targets. Does maternity also feature a 'free citizenship' bonus, which with extra 'right to family life' has the possibility of opening up residence to the parents as well ?
As we leave Basra, is the surge working in Baghdad ?
Peter Oborne on the corruption of the British political class.
I learned to swim late in life, in my mid-twenties, and having done so learned to dive here - they had a 10 metre platform in those days, the height Olympic divers use. Now it's 5m - and there are only six 10m platforms left in the whole UK, with the obvious effect upon the sport. Our old friend health and safety seems to be the culprit.
2 hours ago