Ed West is the deputy editor of The Catholic Herald. Follow Ed on Twitter.
I was slightly disappointed that I never got to see the Home Office's "go back to your own country" van as it toured around London like a reverse Olympic torch. They could have got some jugglers and corporate backing, with people handing out fizzy drinks, as it travelled around the capital.
The van was a mistake, not because of its aim of removing illegal immigrants, but because it was a stunt, and stunts and gimmicks backfire, even more so in sensitive areas such as this – so it just came across as nasty.
Besides which, like those signs that say “thieves operate in this area”, which subconsciously say “police don’t”, the vans also gave the impression that the country wasn’t in control of its borders (which may well be true, but we don’t need to advertise it).
But it should not deter the Government from its stated goal of reducing immigration down to pre-Blair figures. It has reason and public opinion on its side; its critics have only hysteria and hyperbole.