Nigel Nelson
Political editor of the Sunday People and the Sunday Mirror

Next time you’re out and about in one of our big cities, try a little experiment. If you’re white British, clock how many people you see of minority ethnic origin. You may discover the diversity of cultures and races is now so commonplace that you’d stopped noticing there were differences until making a conscious effort to spot them.
It’s what happens in inner-city primary schools where children of all races happily rub along together. Another experiment is to listen in as they describe classmates – fat, thin, tall, short, pigtailed or crop cut, but rarely by skin hue. Young kids are colour blind.
Which is how it should be. Yet deep down in the British psyche is the ingrained feeling that foreigners, whether European Union or Commonwealth, shouldn’t settle here. That’s what Sajid Javid, who replaced Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, must now wrestle with.
On the Sunday evening before news reached us of Ms Rudd’s fall from grace, I was speculating with political friends who might replace her in the event that she went. Damian Green was one choice, if he’d served a long enough sentence in exile. After all, he knows the Home Office as a former Immigration minister. Gavin Williamson’s choice as replacement would have been Gavin Williamson. But he’d stepped on too many political landmines since becoming Defence Secretary to be a contender.
I heard him speak in Winston Churchill’s underground war rooms, nestled beneath the Treasury. Warning: don’t fight another war from there, Gavers – no mobile signal. But he came across less Captain Mainwaring and more Private Pike. Barely Home Guard material, let alone Home Secretary. Theresa May wanted loyalist Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, but was persuaded a second-generation Muslim immigrant handling immigration was more cuddly following Windrush.
So Sajid Javid got to parade outside the Home Office in gunslinger pose like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. That, by the way, is taught to Tory politicians when they are wet-behind-the-ears Parliamentary candidates. It’s meant to epitomise power but, as Javid proved, it just makes them look like wazzocks.
At least he has a sense of humour. He tells of turning to wife, Laura, after first becoming an MP to ask if she’d ever imagined such a thing in her wildest dreams. “Darling,” she said. “In my wildest dreams you don’t even feature.”
And recalling a boy at school calling him a Paki he says: “I did what any cool, calm future Cabinet minister would do. I hit him. And then he hit me and I hit him back. And things sort of went downhill from there.” His big test will be to put Windrush right.
A single event can dramatically shift public opinion and the disgraceful treatment of the Windrush generation might be the one-off Javid needs to soften attitudes to migrants. David Cameron wouldn’t allow Syrian refugees into Britain, fearing a public backlash. But in September, 2015, the lifeless body of three year old Alan Kurdi face down in Turkish surf brought a lump the size of a golf ball to the throat of anyone with a heart.
One photo epitomised all the horrors of Syria’s civil-war and the mortal risks refugees take to flee it. Days later, Cameron let 20,000 Syrians in. By all accounts, they’re settling nicely. The Archbishop of Canterbury has some in his back garden.
Can Windrush have a similar effect? Even those who favour a “hostile environment” for immigrants see the injustice in denying British citizens their rights to citizenship. Javid’s job now is to give immigration policy a human face.
As Amber Rudd went, MPs also called for John Bercow to go. He’s still clinging on as we go to press. But that doesn’t stop MPs taking the pee. So eyes down for the housey-housey of Commons known to naughty backbenchers as Bercow Bingo. You can even play that game at home by tuning in to the BBC Parliament channel.
It works much like ordinary bingo, but with the Speaker’s favourite catchphrases in place of numbers. Those include: “I don’t care how long it takes, the public don’t like it, the Leader of the Opposition will be heard”, and “pull yourself together, man.” MPs jot a selection down and the first to a full house whispers “bingo”.
Gives them something to do to fill their time as Theresa May’s lack of a majority means little legislation is going through.