What I really hate about this election-specific “debate” about immigration (over and above the customary but still sickening dishonesty) is the way it drives out any compassion, any empathy for all those caught up in the “need to move”, not just as asylum-seekers, but even as economic migrants.

The poisonous subtext of “dehumanisation”, of “othering”, and the usual “shifting the blame” (the Conservatives have fundamentally screwed our economy over the last 14 years, but let’s just blame it on the immigrants) has allowed hateful, xenophobic bigots to shape the debate here in the UK and across the whole of Europe.

The European Elections last week convincingly consolidated the influence of the Far Right – not least in its ability to drag the Centre Right closer to its own position. “Weaponising immigration” played a crucial role in that electoral success.

In France, the continuing success of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (taking over 32% of the votes) forced Present Macron into calling a General Election. In Italy, Georgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy came out on top, as did the far-right Freedom Party in Austria. In Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland consolidated its position, as did Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands.

By contrast, the Greens saw their vote fall away significantly in most countries, but, happily, not in Sweden, Finland and Denmark, which has certainly helped restore one’s faith in solid “Scandinavian values!”.

But the reality is that the territory around immigration has been ceded to the likes of Nigel Farage by the continuing failure of mainstream politicians both to tell the truth about immigration and to manage it properly.

For different reasons, all of the mainstream parties are all too keen to talk about immigration. But none of them really want to talk about climate change – other than in terms of it being “another important issue” that they’re apparently best placed to deal with. The depth of dishonesty about migration and climate change represents an astonishing “sound-bite by sound-bite” betrayal of future generations. A betrayal in which the BBC and most media are 100% complicit.

So this seems like a pretty good time to bring out a new Report (“Migration in Hotter Times: Humanity At Risk”, co-authored with my colleagues Robin Maynard and Colin Hines) inviting people to think about the inseparable linkage between climate and migration. Not so much today (although we’re already seeing more and more so-called “climate refugees” every year), but in 20 or 30 years’ time.

2023 showed us, in countries all around the world, the deeply damaging impacts of climate change today. By 2050, those 2023 extremes will be seen as mild, with an increasing number of scientists warning that future impacts could lead to as many as 1 billion people being forcibly displaced.

Yes, 1 billion! This constitutes an unparalleled humanitarian catastrophe, the scale of which measured not just in millions but in billions of devastated lives seems incomprehensible – impossible to grasp. Most are numbed by such numbers. This collective refusal to engage represents a further betrayal of future generations.

Uncomfortably, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Progressive Left (moderate, centre-left and green parties) find it all but impossible to grasp this nettle. It has little to say about the near inevitability of this looming catastrophe. Its rhetoric (advocating unrealistically for “the right to stay and the right to move when staying is no longer possible”) seems light years away from today’s geopolitical and demographic realities.

Our Report emphasises that it is absolutely not too late to avoid this existential threat to the future of humankind. We still have an opportunity to bring forward appropriate economic and legal responses. Trillions of dollars will be needed to tackle the global climate crisis, and since it’s the rich world that is predominantly responsible for this crisis, it’s the rich world that must therefore bear the principal responsibility for proactively managing its consequences.

Beyond that, we must also focus on the huge demographic challenges that still confront us, however much some on the Left may hate this. Addressing global population growth is as critical a factor in tackling climate change as curbing overconsumption, as confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Universal education for girls, and choice on family planning for women globally, are basic human rights. The impacts of climate change, particularly falling on the poorest and most vulnerable, will only worsen if policymakers and NGOs continue to ignore and underfund this vital area.

I can pretty much guarantee that this Report will provoke you in one way or another! Please do have a look

Click here to download the .pdf

This is just one of those longer-term massively complex challenges for which there should at least be some time set aside in this Election. Sadly, that is just not the case.