THE prime minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference on October 10th contained a thumping statement of the obvious. Britain might never recover its former glory, David Cameron admitted. The country is running a global race against much nimbler competitors. Its only hope is to slice regulations so that innovative, entrepreneurial folk can thrive, and trade furiously. Splendid stuff. So why is Mr Cameron’s government pursuing an immigration policy that is creating red tape, stifling entrepreneurs and hobbling Britain?
The country has, in effect, installed a “keep out” sign over the white cliffs of Dover. Even as Mr Cameron defends the City of London as a global financial centre, and takes planeloads of business folk on foreign trips, his government ratchets up measures that would turn an entrepôt into a fortress. In the past two years the Tories have made it much harder for students and foreign workers and family members to enter and settle in the country. Britain is not only losing the war for global talent, it is scarcely competing. More people now leave to take up job offers in other countries than come the other way.