SO then, to the most important matter.

The cruel and unusual Illegal Migration Bill has passed its first hurdle in the Commons, despite Labour attempts to block it and despite a firm intervention by Theresa May, who outlined some of the bill's many dreadful flaws.

Suella Braverman stood firm, taking a moment of self-pity in describing the abuse she has suffered for championing this legislation, legislation that is little more than jingoism made law.

Coyly referred to as the Stop the Boats Bill, this legislation was announced only recently and is speed walking past any due diligence. It is highly unlikely to deter small boats carrying asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel and so fails its core purpose.

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The bill pledges that anyone who arrives in the UK by small boat will be detained for 28 days before they are deported but there is no clear system for processing deportations of the people arriving and limited capacity for detention. The SNP's Alison Thewliss gave the numbers: "The UK’s current detention capacity is 2,286 beds. The number of people crossing in small boats last year was 45,755."

The current system's capacity is already not coping; the new system proposed will likely breach human rights laws.

And, not least, the proposals punish the victims of human trafficking rather than the perpetrators. It is flawed from start to finish but ultimately this doesn’t matter. The Conservatives know they are likely to lose the next election and so these are problems for another time, another place, another party.

The trick is to give the illusion of doing something.

During the Commons debate earlier this week Braverman accused Labour of preferring open borders. She called this, "dressing what is an extreme political argument in the fake garb of humanitarianism".

This is, obviously, not true. Labour has made no such extreme political argument. Sir Keir Starmer has challenged this specific bill, yes, but Labour has taken a shift to the right on immigration in recent years. Starmer has criticised the government for not stopping small boats, using similar language to that of the Conservatives, talking of the "crisis" in the Channel.

The Tory policy, Braverman said, is "profoundly and at heart a humane" one. She will not be diverted, she said during the debate, by "out of touch lefties". Out of touch? Lefties?

Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, the prime minister strips to his trunks before diving, a la Scrooge McDuck, into a pool of gold bullion.

Ok, not gold bullion. But into a pool so guzzling of energy that an upgrade to the local grid was required. Nearby, the municipal pool has reduced its hours to make ends meet in a cost of living crisis. Out of touch lefties.

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On immigration, the Tories use the language of war to stir up patriot feelings and urgency, inventing an "invasion" only they can guard against. Labour is framed as being a soft touch, the party leader lacking the cut through to voters needed to reframe the debate.

It is no wonder, with this void at the top, that celebrities are able to fill the vacuum. On this issue, it has been Gary Lineker, presenting a simple moral position.

When the footballer Marcus Rashford spoke out against child poverty, comment pieces abounded about how we'd come to such a sad pass that footballers were providing a more credible opposition to the Tories than the actual opposition.

This keeps happening. Carol Vorderman recently used her celebrity status to speak out against financial corruption and, treading where, for far too long, angels had feared to, she was frank about Michelle Mone's government contracts.

Why have Gary Lineker and his peers succeeded where Sir Keir has failed? The public is paying more attention to footballers and TV presenters than to politicians. In part it's Starmer's decision to play things safe, to be sensible and plain and counter the recent populism that has infected UK politics.

A steady hand on the tiller is right, but it hasn't quite yet earned public trust when the public prefer the relatability of famous faces.

This is a flawed enough position to be in. But a flaw within the flaw is the fact of the distraction the celebrity involvement causes.

The debate became about Marcus Rashford and the fitness of footballers to enter political discussion. The issue became about Carol Vorderman and gossip about her friendship with Lady Mone.

The Illegal Migration Bill has paled beside headlines focused on the suitability of the BBC's social media policy and the relationships between the broadcaster's management and government, which isn't a topic unfit for discussion but one that robbed focus from the small boats policy and its ills.

Thanks to the intensity and comprehensiveness of the Gary Lineker coverage I now know that his dog is called Filbert, some neurons not put to best use.

All of this allows for the making of bad law. Allegations from the right that their opponents are nothing but pious celebrities and liberal do-gooders. Allegations from the left that their opponents are little more than Nazis. Limited space in the middle to discuss the substance – or lack of it – of legislation.

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From the SNP and the Conservatives there has been a shift to prioritising ideology over practical, functional lawmaking. And from the public and press a tendency to be caught up with ideological squabbles, rather than scrutiny of policy.

This crop of Tory lawmakers see everything as a transactional relationship. There is no forward thinking or creativity of thought, never mind compassion. They don't prefer to uphold human rights law by treating asylum seeking people compassionately because they don't see any return in it.

There is no consideration of the fact that asylum seekers are people who may have skills or expertise, talents that might be nurtured to the benefit of the UK. It's yet another element of the long running climate of hostility towards asylum seekers and refugees and a real shot in the foot.

The Illegal Migration Bill is so short-sighted as to be incompetent, as are those who backed it through the Commons.