I WAS in London on Sunday as Muslims and other Londoners, including Theresa May and the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, marched arm-in-arm in defiance of Islamic State on the anniversary of the London Bridge attacks. It was rather moving, and brought home the extent to which the metropolis truly is a multicultural city. It’s sometimes hard to believe that the indigenous white population is still in a majority here.

Step off the train back in Scotland and you are in a different world. Scotland remains a conspicuously white nation. Indeed, the most visible social difference now between Scotland and England today is arguably not nationality, but race. Despite a significant increase in immigration in the past decade, Black And Minority Ethnic – BAME – still really means that: minority. In the last census there were only around 40,000 Afro-Carribbeans recorded as living in the whole of Scotland.

Which makes it doubly ludicrous that the Home Office seems determined to expel those few who make it here, such as the student nurse, Denzel Darku. He has lost two appeals against deportation on the grounds that he cannot prove he is dependent on his father, who lives in Edinburgh and is an EU citizen. This is typical of the Catch-22 rules that have grown up like a dense thicket around our immigration law since Theresa May introduced her “hostile environment” to migrants five years ago.

READ MORE: Home Secretary Sajid Javid expresses 'sympathy' to student nurse battling to stay in Scotland

It makes no sense that this capable and responsible young man, who was a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and carried the Queen’s Baton at the Commonwealth Games, is likely to be deported after his final appeal next week. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid said yesterday that he was “sympathetic”, but this will cut little ice with the hard-faced men and women of the British immigration service, for whom “computer says no” is the whole of the law.

It is often said that hostility to immigration grows in inverse proportion to the number of immigrants actually living in a given area. Hence, diverse London voted for Remain, while Brexit, and Ukip, are stronger in white English townships. But that rule doesn’t seem to apply to Scotland. There is racism if you care to look for it, of course. But it is obvious from the composition of the Scottish Parliament that race and immigration are not significant political issues in Scotland. You rarely see those “Migrant Crisis” front pages that have disgraced English news-stands in recent years because newspaper readers don’t buy them.

At First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood, the Scottish parties united to jeer and goad Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories when they failed to voice support for the First Minister in her defence of Mr Darku. Some Tory MSPs allegedly cried “send him home”, which to me seems most unlikely because casual hostility to immigrants is not tolerated in Ruth Davidson’s party. Woe betide the Scottish Tory councillor who makes even a daft joke about immigrants. To be fair to the Conservatives, they have never seriously attempted to make race and immigration an issue in Scotland, because they know there are no votes in it.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon attacks 'shameful' Tory silence on deportation case

Yet in England, immigration remains a massive issue that underpinned the Brexit vote, and still has politicians of all parties running scared. This week, Mrs May repeated her nonsense proposal to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands – a target which would be economically ruinous to Britain if it were even remotely achievable. The UK economy has benefited from immigration, largely in recent years from the European Union. Migrants invariably come to Britain to work and to pay taxes, which have helped to pay for public services and run the NHS.

Scotland needs immigrants more than the rest of the UK because our population is ageing faster than the rest of the UK. This in turn is partly because low-growth Scotland continues to lose qualified younger workers because of the lack of jobs here. This is not going to change any time soon. The Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast that Scottish growth will remain at near-recession levels of less than one per cent for the next five years. If there are able and industrious young people who want to come to Scotland to work and contribute, like Mr Darku, we should be doing everything possible to keep them here.

It beggars belief that the UK Government doesn’t see this. The refusal to meet the First Minister’s calls for the devolution of immigration policy makes no political sense. Mrs May could undermine the Scottish Government’s “power grab” claims about the impact of the EU Withdrawal Bill, by promising a regionally-based immigration regime, such as exists in Canada or Australia. It would shoot Ms Sturgeon’s fox. She’d find it harder to argue that Scotland was losing out because of Brexit and Westminster insensitivity to Scottish concerns.

One suspects Mr Javid would introduce such a policy if he could, and is plainly embarrassed by UK policy as a whole. Michael Gove, the UK Environment Secretary and one of the leading figures in Vote Leave, said before the Brexit referendum that immigration was one of the powers that should come to Scotland after Brexit. All that would be necessary would be to ensure that those migrants who came to Scotland to work were recorded as living here. This will happen anyway since they now have a Scottish tax code.

READ MORE: Home Secretary Sajid Javid expresses 'sympathy' to student nurse battling to stay in Scotland

It’s not as if the UK’s existing immigration policy makes any sense. Mr Javid is desperately trying to find a way of removing the Tier 2 cap that has been preventing much-needed doctors and other highly-qualified people migrating to the UK. Daft earnings requirements are denuding the NHS of nurses and other lower paid workers. It is absurd that 450,000 international students are included in the immigration statistics, since few will remain here. The Windrush scandal has visibly changed attitudes towards our racist immigration rules, which led to British citizens being deported, and others denied housing because of their colour. England needs a new immigration system as much as Scotland. Theresa May needs to overcome her fear of Ukip and let her apparently open-minded new Home Secretary create one.