For years, anyone in Britain who even dared to mention immigration was immediately branded as some sort of hideous, knuckle-dragging racist.
In fact, even uttering the phrase 'British jobs for British people' was seen as the equivalent of going down to Speaker's Corner and loudly reciting your favourite passages from Mein Kampf.
It was all part of a seriously cynical campaign by New Labour to silence any debate on the topic.
And the reason for that?
Well, as the Tories quietly grumbled in the background about the issue, afraid to make too loud a noise, the then government was opening Britain's borders to millions of immigrants . . . who would all vote Labour once they were given the franchise.
It was a particularly nauseating tactic from a party that tried to hide its naked opportunism behind a veneer of saintliness, but frankly it fooled nobody.
But the tide has begun to turn and now the Tories have come up with an interesting, if rather controversial, idea.
They want to introduce a so-called 'citizen test' for newcomers.
This will involve asking them questions about England's history, art and culture.
That's a fine idea in principle, but I have doubts about its efficacy.
After all, when you consider that half of all British teenagers think that Winston Churchill is the name of a talking dog in that annoying TV commercial, maybe the government should start their education a little closer to home.
Was she really that bored?
So, have you been watching the tennis?
My brain couldn't cope with the dual demands of football and tennis so I waited pretty much until the end of the first week to tune in.
Unlike the majority of people, it would seem, I actually like Murray.
Henman was a fine and underrated player, but Murray has a real streak of sulphur running through him and, let's face it, when you have survived a massacre as a child, as Murray did at Dunblane, then you're going to be made of strong stuff.
But it wasn't the match play that caught my eye.
No, it was the sight of a woman . . . knitting as she sat at centre court.
Now, I am the first person to admit that I haven't got the foggiest about what goes in the mind of a woman, but is it just me or is it a little bit weird to score some tickets for the hottest tennis match of the day and then start knitting yourself a bleedin' scarf while you watch?
I know some of the Wimbledon fans are a tad eccentric but that's just bloody wrong.
So, riddle me this
How did you feel about our performance at the Euros?
I don't mean the team's performance, of course.
After all, we all had a sense of dread going into the whole thing and our worst fears were confirmed in an abject fashion.
No, I'm referring to that of the fans.
They have attracted worldwide praise for their cheery demeanour and sense of humour and while I completely agree with what Roy Keane said, I don't think anyone who wasn't there really has the right to judge them.
But I was reading the report of the hostel owner in Australia who has banned Irish people from staying there.
He claims that they are simply violent, drunken morons and are a disgrace to their passport -- and he's from Dublin himself, so it's hardly anti-Irish bigotry.
So, on the one hand, we send tens of thousands of young people to Poland and they are a credit to their nation, yet when we send tens of thousands of young people to Australia, many of them behave like reckless, dangerous savages.
Really, we're a very weird little country at times.
Of course! It seems so obvious now
What do you want from your local politician? For most of us a simple sense of honesty, basic competence and talent are a must.
But I never considered alien heritage to be a factor.
Simon Parkes is a councillor in Whitby who thinks his real mother is a nine-foot-tall green alien who placed him with his human family as an experiment.
Interestingly, he says that: "This issue didn't come up when I was running for election."
Well there ye have it -- the next time a candidate comes knocking on your door, remember the first question to ask is . . . was your ma a nine-foot alien?
At least it'll make them scarper away from your house as quickly as they can.
Ban her. Ban her now
She's the last person you would expect to cause controversy, but Lana Del Rey has puffed herself into something of a storm.
She was pictured on stage at a gig in France with -- brace yourself, this will be shocking to some and offensive to others -- a cigarette in her hand.
The singer (pictured), who is both pretty and bland has been condemned by anti-smoking campaigners who say she is setting a bad example for our precious, impressionable little children.
Now, I don't mean to be cruel here, but I would imagine the only thing Lana Del Rey has ever inspired people to do is change the radio station when one of her songs comes on.