Ed Miliband insists he wants a "sophisticated" discussion about immigration, moving beyond questions about overall numbers to considering the impact on people's daily lives.
The Labour leader makes the valid point that anyone concerned about immigration or who wishes to discuss the issue is not necessarily a racist bigot.
Yet he risks inflaming public opinion by his language of British workers being "locked out" of jobs filled by foreigners and his arbitrary demand that employers tell local job centres if more than one in four of their staff is from overseas.
This would, he asserts, enable government agencies at national and local level to work out the skills areas that need strengthening among unemployed British residents.
His formulation that working people need an economy that offers them "a fair crack of the whip" sounds very reasonable, but what the country's jobless millions need is not a fair crack at existing jobs but a wholly new situation.
While disclaiming responsibility for new Labour's enthusiastic embrace of free-market globalisation, including open borders for EU new entrant states, and Gordon Brown's demeaning of worried Labour voter Gillian Duffy as a "bigoted woman," Miliband still links immigration to the problems experienced by working people in Britain.
He is wrong. Problems related to employment, income levels, housing and insecurity are caused by the free-market capitalist economic model.
And the immigrants who come to work in Britain, usually in jobs marked by harsh physical conditions, long hours or low pay, are equally victims of the system British workers.
They come here because, as challenging as the jobs are that they take up in Britain, they surpass what is available in their own countries, allowing them to earn their own living and often sustain family members at home.
Working in payment-by-results agriculture, in hotels and hospitality or in private care homes for the elderly is not an easy option. Not everyone is able or willing to take the conditions.
If the Labour leader's investigation shows that these areas of work routinely have over a quarter of staff coming from overseas, will he conclude that unemployed British workers should be trained to do them?
Miliband ought to be aware from Labour election canvassers that working-class discontent is pretty widespread. It's not just about jobs.
Many working-class people complain about the lack of affordable rented housing, causing families to split up and live miles apart.
They compare their meagre take-home pay with the multimillion-pound rewards for City slickers and the kid-glove treatment of the wealthy, noting that the rich have to be tempted with carrots while workers are encouraged by the stick.
They are not happy about being abused as wildcats or scroungers by comfortably off politicians who, not content with aiding and abetting the bankers, also helped themselves to shed-loads of public money through unjustified expenses claims.
They are alienated, they have switched off and too many see no hope of change, which is why the level of electoral abstention climbs ever higher.
None of that can be laid at the door of immigrants, "bogus" asylum-seekers, economic migrants or any of the other bogeys conjured up for public consumption by politicians and media.
Miliband should put aside such shabby stereotypes, deliver a more trenchant critique of contemporary capitalism and move away from cosy Establishment policy convergence to consider a more radical approach.
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