When I first made my acquaintance with the Isle of Wight, one of its many charms was the acres — well, square miles — of greenery, open land and woodland both.

I immediately joined the Walk the Wight set, though I prudently settled for one of the halves as I knew I couldn’t do the whole thing in the set time.

For the first five years or so the weather was always good and I decided the Mountbatten hospice, who organise the whole thing with tremendous efficiency, must have a special arrangement with those above.

Then one year we walked through rain which converted the paths into rivulets, but it was always fun and the company was good — I compared it in that respect to halls of people waiting to give blood; how often do you know you’re in company with the good guys?

Being an Ancient Briton I’m too old for that now. If I can organise myself a mid-life crisis, I’ll live to be 168.

Since then I’ve watched the land being steadily tarmacadamed and covered with houses.

Being an incomer myself, I am in a bad position to complain of this, though I wonder about the wisdom of so much building being done here, while we have to import our water supply in pipes under The Solent.

However, if the government continues to allow immigration to the extent of a huge city every year, they have to be housed somewhere, and it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

Floodplains are being concreted over, woodland cleared, farms built on, all over the kingdom.

It’s not an original thought but we don’t have a housing crisis, we have a population crisis.

And we still can’t find the people to do the less popular jobs like picking vegetables and flowers. We should be stricter about people claiming benefits and refusing jobs or training.

Back in the 1920s the great economist Keynes envisaged making people dig holes and fill them in again for their dole; even he did not envisage paying people for idleness. (One of Beveridge’s “great evils”)

The idea of obstructing boats bringing illegal immigrants from France is obviously a non-starter.

What we need to do is to make this country less attractive and publicise the fact.

We are hampered by the fact that English (albeit American English) is taught worldwide, and the world knows that our NHS is open to all and our benefits system is immediate and over-generous.

As a first, minimum step, every person coming across in small boats should be fingerprinted and have their DNA recorded and be housed in Spartan, not to say uncomfortable conditions.

How can it be right to give newcomers, who have never contributed anything to our common wealth, better housing than the natives who have paid taxes and National Insurance for many years?

We are the densest packed population of all Europe; perhaps it’s time our elected leaders put up a notice saying “We’re full!”

  • In my last article I asked “Who said ‘I am worth 1000 BBC journalists!’” That was Jonathan Ross.

Now, who said this? “Madmen in authority.... are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”