Extremism always depends upon the setting up of a 'hate' figure: a group in society who are vilified, rightly or wrongly. That is why I find this passage in George Osborne's speech this morning so worrying:
That’s why the fourth part of our economic plan is about reducing immigration and capping welfare.
Migration, when it’s controlled, is an important part of a successful economy.
But uncontrolled immigration, of the kind we saw over the last decade, brings pressures on public services and leads to abuse of our welfare system.
That’s why we’ve tightened the rules so people can’t just come to this country to claim benefits - and it’s why for the first time we’ve introduced an immigration cap.
What follows in social security is bad too, but the aim is clear: vilification of the 'other' is now policy.
We've been here before.
It never ends well.