Immigration: Britain, Singapore, America

Immigrant-weary Singaporeans have nothing on Messrs Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as their first election debate showed. They all want to curb immigration.

Brown wants no unskilled workers from outside the European Union, Cameron wants caps on immigration to bring numbers down to "tens of thousands" from "hundreds of thousands", Clegg wants immigrants to be sent only to those areas where they are needed. He called for regional work permits which will allow immigrants to work only in a certain part of the country. (See the second video towards the end of this post.)

It was considerably duller than the American presidential debates. Here's prize-winning Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts' irreverent take on it. But it's worth viewing because it shows where the leaders stand.

Watch Cameron in the ninth minute. He talks about meeting a 40-year-old black man in Plymouth who said he had served in the Royal Navy for 30 years. That means he joined the navy when he was 10 years old!

Immigration is the biggest election issue after the economy, reports Reuters. It adds:

According to a London School of Economics (LSE) pre-election report, 10.2 per cent of Britain's population is foreign-born (based on OECD 2007 figures).

Contrast that with Singapore, where foreigners make up nearly a third of the population.

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