Over the last week politicians and statisticians have been in a state of frenzy about new figures that showed that the net immigration figure had risen again.

During the 12 months to the end of June an extra 672,000 people had moved to the UK - a number slightly higher than the population of Glasgow.

Listening to some of the rubbish talked about this over the last few days, you'd have thought that the sky was about to fall in!

The numbers do look high, but scratch away at the surface and things aren't totally clear.

During the same period the population of the UK increased from 67.5m to 67.8m - so without the immigration, the population would have fallen.

And those moving to Britain are almost exclusively of working age or the children of working age people - boosting productivity in a society that is ageing and having to support a growing retired population.

It's also fair to point out that the net migration figure represents less than one percent of the UK population.

And let's look at the contribution of those people to our society and spurious claims that they're putting a strain on services.

Huge numbers are being recruited into the NHS. Why? Because over the decades a succession of governments has failed to provide enough training places at universities for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

This isn't something that started in 2010, but it certainly hasn't got any better since then with the austerity cuts that hit higher education.

Anyone who thinks immigration puts a strain on the NHS really does need a reality check.

Five years ago I spent 13 nights on a hospital ward. I didn't see a single patient there who wasn't British. Our nurses and doctors had learned their skills in Portugal, Spain, Romania, and The Philippines as well as the UK. 

Without these immigrants that politicians seem so keen to demonise God only knows how the NHS would cope!

The care sector is the same. The fees in this sector are very high and the wages pretty low because of the sheer number of people that need to be employed to take care of our increasing ageing population.

It's all very well looking back to the "Good Old Days" when everyone looked after Grandma and Grandpa in their old age.

But a couple of generations ago you'd stop work at 65, if you were lucky, and then have eight to 10 years of retirement before keeling over.

Now most of us expect to live well into our 80s or 90s - and reaching 100 is nowhere near as rare as it used to be.

But many in extreme old age need a great deal of care - more than a doting daughter or grand-daughter (and let's be honest this kind of work normally falls on the female members of the family) can be expected to sort on their own.

And it is very difficult to find enough care workers among UK citizens. Are we going to deny our elderly the care they deserve because we want to keep foreigners out of our country?

Foreign students - especially those who have the temerity to stay on and use some of the skills they have learned to benefit this country - are another source of concern apparently.

I'm sorry, but when did we become so small-minded to want to stop people from enjoying an education at a British university? 

And I'm not going to start on the subject of agricultural workers or food-processers. 

What this country needs is a proper debate on how we train enough people to do all the skilled jobs in the country.

We need to ask how we can incentivise enough people to do some pretty tough jobs in care homes for low wages.

And how we can find enough people to pick fruit, pull up vegetables or chop the heads of chickens in a meat processing factory?

Once we have the answers to all those questions we might be able to think about pulling up the drawbridge and telling foreign workers they're not welcome.

But Britain would be a much more introspective, and nastier, place to live!