“Just how many people were on the now-notorious al Muhajiroun-organised demo in Luton earlier this year, in which a small group of Islamists chanted anti-war slogans at British troops marching through the town? Just a couple of dozen, if memory serves.
“Yet the nationwide impact of the protest was out of all proportion to the numbers involved. This is presumably why immigration minister Phil Woolas thinks it is clever politics explicitly to recall the incident when presenting his plans for a points-based citizenship scheme in the media this morning.
“In practice, the stipulation will probably be pertinent to just a statistically insignificant handful of the hundreds of thousands of passport applications each year. But that’s not the point. The point is getting headlines such as ‘Immigrants who jeer at British troops in the street to be barred from gaining citizenship’.
“New Labour’s tactics to counter the inroads the British National Party is making into sections of its electoral base centre on tacitly conceding the BNP case, and then showcasing policies that seem to respond to BNP voters’ concerns.”