The campaign to leave the European Union has been handed it's biggest lead after the public rejected David Cameron's deal on reforms..
Excluding the "don't knows" this means that 56% want to leave whilst 44% want to remain.
It's clear that immigration has become a major issue and is divided into two concerns. The first is the perception of "benefit tourists" from a number of the poorer European countries. On it's own this is an issue that could have been tackled as there are lots of British citizens living in other European countries. The real factor that has turned a sizable number of people against the EU is the current wave of migration from not just Syria but from North Africa.
At first the pictures of dead children drowning on their way to Europe attracted much sympathy but there is a growing realisation that the majority of migrants, even from Syria are actually single men, many of whom have abandoned their wives and families whilst they seek "safety".
Events in Cologne on New Years Eve, even if perpetrated by a minority of migrants has focused attention on the problems of integrating an influx of people with very different cultural values to those of the host countries.
Germany is not the only country where there has been a backlash against the latest wave of migrants. Whilst the attitude of the more "conservative" Eastern European counties like Hungary, Poland and Slovakia is to be expected (the latter banning any Muslim migrants completely), the situation has been reached whereby the more tolerant Scandinavian countries have taken a sterner line.
Both Sweden and Finland have announced they will be deporting large numbers of migrants/failed asylum seekers. Many countries across Europe have closed their borders, an act which undermines the whole point of the EU in the first place. The free movement of people within Europe.
In terms of the "blame game" it was German Premier Angela Merkel's invitation that changed the game. Europe was already experiencing problems with the non-integration of a large element of it's Muslim population. The huge influx over recent months has only exacerbated these problems.
It doesn't help with the attempts by government authorities to suppress news about crimes being committed by newly arrived migrants. In fact as they are finally brought into the mainstream media the anxiety of many Europeans have been raised simply by the attempts at censorship.
Take for example just one story that finally broke in the Austrian media over the past few days and reported in the Daily Mail :
A 10-year-old boy was so brutally raped by an Iraqi migrant in a swimming pool cubicle that he had to be hospitalised for his injuries.
A lifeguard immediately called an ambulance after the boy went to him in floods of tears, while the Iraqi was entertaining himself by repeatedly jumping off the three-metre diving board.
Police arrested him on the spot at the pool in Vienna, and during an interrogation, he told them that it was a 'sexual emergency' as he had not had sex in four months....the migrant, who had entered the country through the Balkans on September 5, official records show, said he could not help himself as he had an 'excess sexual energy'.
He told police that he knew such an act was 'forbidden in any country of the world', and he was not 'always sick', as he has a wife and a daughter in Iraq.
This man should face a long prison sentence for his horrific crime and then be deported back to Iraq.
A view most ordinary voters across Europe would consider the appropriate way to deal with this criminal.
However there remains the possibility of this man, like so many other criminals that have arrived in Europe of not being sent back because of their "rights". A recent example that irritates people was reported by the Telegraph :
The mother-of-one was jailed for a year in 2012 for trying to smuggle a mobile phone Sim card to the hate cleric while he was being held in Belmarsh prison.
Apparently she can only be deported if she is considered a "serious risk" to society.
Assisting Abu Hamza seems enough of a risk to me.
And exactly why is she claiming Asylum from Morocco anyway? It remains a stable country, far from perfect but better than most in the Arab world these days.
These incidents may only be the actions of a minority of migrants but our inability to get rid of these criminals does irk many and is leading to more of an anti-European view than previously experienced.
The future of the European project is seriously at risk. From the point of view of a trade unionist I find the prospect of leaving the EU whose laws are the only barrier to the current Tories making a bonfire of our rights in the workplace frightening.
The EU needs to be reformed without a doubt and more common sense used by the the judiciary in making rulings and European politicians in making laws that make sense to us ordinary folks.