Michael Howard is a slick political vandal disguised as a toff. When the histories are written this campaign will be remembered for his cynical ‘mainstreaming’ of a particularly ugly xenophobia. For short-term political gain he ‘normalised’ the language of the casual racist. Terms like ‘swamped’, ‘over-run’ and ‘out of control’ are now quite acceptable even in otherwise respectable papers. The tone of the debate has been sharply degraded. Being an immigrant in the UK will now be measurably harder than it was before Howard stuck his elegant oar in. British politics will be better for his departure.