One thing puzzles me about the immigration debate. While I'm broadly very liberal on this, I do accept that there is an argument that rapid changes in the social composition of an area can diminish social capital.
So - if my street rapidly fills up with people who I don't know and with whom I can't easily establish a social affinity, then I will find it hard to borrow a cup of sugar or find cheap trustworthy babysitter quickly. And lots more, of course.
Now, I don't envy anyone who is having to write a PhD thesis explaining how that diminution in social capital compares to the obvious economic benefits that immigration brings.
But - either way - surely immigration has a similar impact upon social capital as car-use does? One of the classic studies explaining Social Capital (so 'classic' that I don't recall what it was called or who wrote it now) showed the mathematics of a busy street.
In the absence of cars, we strike up relationships with the people who live across the road. But we also then strike up relationships with the people on our side of the road who didn't know us - but who do know the people we've got to know across the road.
With me so far? (This is very much Kevin's territory - not mine, by the way).
The effect of someone moving into my street and not knowing my language or having much in common with me essentially reduces the number of mavens or connectors (using Malcolm Gladwell's terms) across the road that I have access to.
So, why aren't those who oppose immigration into this country also calling for a reduction of car-use and the increased prioritisation of the pedestrians needs? Stopping immigration is surely the most expensive way of increasing the social capital available to us?
Why even consider it when Barnet Council don't have the decency to consider traffic-calming measures that would make my road a bit less attractive to little fuckwit boy-racers looking for a cut-through?