Nigel Farage today blamed immigrants for clogging up Britain's roads after traffic jams meant he missed an event charging Ukip supporters to meet him.However while we're not sure where exactly Farage was held up on the M4, we would query his assertion 'that open door immigration has meant that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be'.
The Ukip leader said he arrived too late for a £25-a-head drinks reception in Port Talbot because the UK's 'open door immigration' policy meant that the M4 'is not as navigable as it used to be'.
Like most motorways, the M4 suffers from congestion at busy periods in various locations along its route and has done so for a long time. Particular problem locations are between Reading and Slough and then around Bristol - with junctions connecting with the M32 and the M5.
More notoriously though the bottlenecks intensify as the M4 travels through South Wales as any regular commuter knows. Not long after crossing the (second) Severn bridge, the M4 becomes two lanes around Newport and Cardiff traveling through the Brynglas Tunnels.
To give an indication of how long this section has been an issue an M4 relief road to bypass the tunnels was proposed back in 1991, way before "open door immigration policy".
Then as we move further on towards Port Talbot, the motorway again reduces down two lanes and junctions 40 and 41 have been temporarily closed as an attempt to improve traffic flow - to local residents dismay.
As the National Transport Plan for Wales noted in 2010:
South-east Wales is densely populated, with significant conurbations at Cardiff and Newport and smaller urban areas nearby. Local and long-distance traffic converge in this region, particularly around the M4 motorwayIn addition:
...the motorway around Newport does not conform to today’s motorway standards. It lacks continuous hard shoulders, has closely spaced junctions with sub-standard slip road visibility and narrows to a restricted two lane section through the Brynglas Tunnels. Heavy congestion occurs along this stretch and either side of it at peak hours.Thus when we factor in that Farage was traveling early on a Friday evening is it any wonder he experienced significant delays. There was of course the train - Brunel built it for a reason.
Yet it's a worrying trend and reflection of UKIP's desire to be a single issue party on immigration that, rather than policy and detail, problems are increasingly being put down to immigration alone. Not only does it lend the party to ridicule but it is toxifying the eurosceptic debate.
That said in the short term UKIP have more pressing matters to attend to.