ONS data on annual immigration are due out on Thursday and, with the expectation of record high figures, the media is gearing up for the perfect storm with analytical articles already finding their way into print.
The Times for instance, is running a lengthy “weekend essay”, headed: “Net migration is at a new record high. How did it come to this?”.
With that, we get a long sub-heading telling us that: “For 13 years Tories have promised to bring immigration down, but the post-Brexit system has allowed it to soar as foreign workers take unpopular jobs. For Rishi Sunak, it’s a political headache and an economic necessity”.
I don’t need to review the content of the piece. Anyone who is particularly interested will read it for themselves and those who know everything there is to know on the subject will pass it by and give the rest of us the benefit of their wisdom regardless.
What did grab my attention, though, was the closing paragraph which notes that Sunak has suggested he wants to cut the numbers to below half a million, and then asks: “Is he channelling one of his predecessors?”.
Moving on, author, Matt Dathan, the paper’s home affairs editor, informs us of a comment made by Lord O’Donnell, Cameron’s cabinet secretary, at an event on Thursday.
According to O’Donnell, when Cameron made that infamous pledge to reduce immigration to the “tens of thousands”, he had “no intention of doing it”. The cabinet secretary learned of this when he proposed ways in which the policy could be achieved.
These including the prospect of leaving the EU or a vast reduction in visas, to which Cameron had responded: “Don’t be daft. It’s an announcement, don’t get carried away”.
Read more: UK Immigration: biting back