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His master’s voice

With the possible exception of nuclear waste disposal, there are few policy areas that generate more heat and more toxicity than immigration.

Early yesterday morning, home secretary Sajid Javid suggested in a tetchy BBC Radio 4 interview with John Humphrys that his department’s immigration white paper, which had not been published at that point, amounted to a proposal for the biggest shake-up in immigration policy for four decades. By the time the paper popped up on the Home Office website in the afternoon, attacks and criticism were being hurled from all sides of the debate.

One-time adviser to David Willetts, Nick Hillman of the Higher Education Policy Institute released a statement with the following headline including a word in capital letters: "The migration white paper lists NINE new obstacles for EU students—and misses two more," he said. In contrast, the Migration Watch campaign group said it was "shocking" that some lower-skilled migrants may be allowed to remain in the UK temporarily.

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