Exploitation of the fear of outsiders when they've just arrived on your home turf, especially those with a different skin tone or mother tongue, has been used by political groups more times that this noder would care to recount. A couple of examples should spring to the minds of the historically literate.

Yet even in this enlightened age, when we now know racism is wrong, immigration remains A Serious Issue. Maybe it's because, these days, there are undoubtedly more of them, whoever they are, than there used to be.

But what can you actually do if you are hounded by irrational anti-asyligrant fears; if you just get kind of twitchy every time someone mentions immigrant or generally looks a bit foreign in your presence?

If you feel that your country is running out of room and, frankly, is nearly full, here is some practical advice:

  • Try going out of your urban area and looking at all the space. Maybe you could spend some time in a field.

  • If you have ever seen your country from the air, ask yourself if it looked a) nearly full b) quite full c) surprisingly, pretty empty.

  • If you feel that immigration officers should put some kind of limit on the number of people coming into your country, remember that a nation is not like a nightclub and is not subject to the same fire regulations.

  • Imagine moving to another country, say Spain. When you have finished imagining it, ask yourself if you felt either: multicultural/part of the global community/kinda cool for being interested in another culture or: like dirty, scrounging immigrant out to steal some hard-working guys job and probably his wife and house and everything.

  • Research your family history, try and find at least one person who wasn't born in the country you now live. Or save yourself the hassle and acknowledge there will be at least one. Consider if you now feel soiled due to your immigrant roots.

  • Consult the annals of history, and try to note down at least one bad thing that happened as a result of a extensive press campaign against a minority group, coupled with a swathe of legislation against said group. Give yourself extra points if any of these laws contravene human rights.

  • Think of all your favourite takeaway foods (pizza, noodles, curry, kebabs...) Eliminate all the foods that were not invented in your country, tell yourself, "immigrants made them, I must never taste them again".

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