Wednesday, 8 March 2023
Four cheers for Gary Lineker (and none for the BBC)
“The Church sleeps on. It sleeps on while 60 000 people are moved from their homes in the interest of a fantastic racial theory: it sleeps on while plans are made (and implemented) to transform the education of Africans into a thing called “Native Education” - which will erect a permanent barrier against Western culture reaching the African at all: it sleeps on while a dictatorship is swiftly being created over all Native Affairs in the Union, so that speech and movement and association are no longer free... In God’s name. Cannot the Church bestir itself all over the world and act? Cannot Christians everywhere show their distress in practical ways by so isolating South Africa from contact with all civilised communities that she realises the position and feels some pain in it? “ That is a quotation from a famous article by the celebrated Anti-apartheid priest and Mirfield Father Trevor Huddleston in the Observer in 1954. The frustration Huddleston expressed about the Churches’ indifference to the evils of Apartheid mirrors the frustration we Liberals and liberals are experiencing about the indifference today’s British public appear to feel about the callousness of our current government , and in particular its inhumane and probably illegal policy towards immigrants and asylum seekers. How can it be that a quarter of us are still prepared to vote for them and, allegedly, their policy towards migrants has 55% approval? Sone weeks ago in "The New European" Will Self gave this as an explanation: (I paraphrase). Political anoraks (such as me) are a minority. Most people don’t think much about politics, except perhaps at election time, when they vote on a “general impression.” In between-times their concerns don’t move much beyond “their minor ailments, sex and the price of petrol.” I do not believe this is said in a patronising way, given that I presume “the price of petrol” is a shorthand for the struggle to make ends meet, and I know that our respective minor aliments form a large part of every conversation I have with my contemporaries. As today’s pitiful display in the Punch and Judy performance which passes for Prime Minister’s Questions Time illustrates, the major parties are too terrified to raise their standards on behalf of the migrants. Sunak claims to speak “on behalf of the British people” (twice) to “implement the British people’s priority;” Starmer highlights the failure of the various policies so far after 13 years in power, but offers no alternatives (establish legal and safe ways to get here, even booths saying “welcome to Britain,” and have a department large enough to “process” them as rapidly as possible so that they can get on with boosting our economy and earning my pension); and Ed Davey avoids the issue altogether by choosing to highlight ambulance delays. This is why the intervention of the former star footballer and current presenter of “Match of the Day” Gary Lineker is greatly to be welcomed. The “non-anoraks” know about him, listen to him, and trust him. And, because his job does not depend on it (or it shouldn’t ) he is prepared to be frank rather than emulate the politicians’ circumlocutory evasions. His opinion: “Good heavens [this policy] is beyond awful.” yes indeed. The facts: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries” (Germany, 164,925; France, 112 860; UK, 74 750 over the same most recent period.) Another opinion: “This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used in Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order.” Note that he’s talking about the language, not the actions. And he’s not the first one to point out that senior Tories are using inflammatory language, which is very successfully inflaming the situation. Perhaps that's what they intend. Lineker’s intervention should be welcomed, not censored. He joins with honour one of his successors as a famous footballer, Marcus Rashford, whose intervention obtained school meals in the holidays for those entitled to them in term time. If our politicians are too cowardly to lead, then it is important for others with decent views to fill the gap, and those in the limelight have a special responsibility.
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but offers no alternatives (establish legal and safe ways to get here, even booths saying “welcome to Britain,” and have a department large enough to “process” them as rapidly as possible so that they can get on with boosting our economy and earning my pension)ReplyDelete
‘Safe and legal ways to get here’ don’t solve the problem. Even if there were a safe and legal way to apply for asylum in the UK, there’s no incentive for someone who knows they have no valid asylum case to use it, because they know they’ll be refused entry; whereas they also know that if they can just set foot on British soil, their chances of being deported even if they are caught are essentially zero. So those who have no such case — the majority — would continue to enter the country by illegal and dangerous means, such as crossing the channel. So ‘safe and legal routes’ wouldn’t make any dent in the problem.
I suspect what you actually want is open borders, but you must know that is a vanishingly unpopular viewpoint outside Islington and university towns.
Germany, 164,925; France, 112 860; UK, 74 750
Those are the numbers for asylum applications, not the number of illegal entrants into the country. If you can enter the country undetected then you’re hardly going to go and present yourself to the authorities, so although we cannot know for sure how many people entered the country illegally, we can be sure that the actual number is higher — perhaps far higher — than that 74,750.
According to Migration Observatory figures quoted by Jonathan Freedland in today's (11th March) Guardian in 2021 the UK granted asylum to 13 000 people. This was less than a quarter of those taken in by Germany (60 000), half taken in by by France and fewer than Spain, Italy or Greece. We are not uniquely "swamped" or "invaded." Of course dangerous cross-channel entry would be greatly reduced by providing safe and legal methods of entry. Two thirds of those crossing by these boats qualify as refugees, even half of those from Albania.The whole thing is a piece of manufactured scaremongering in a desperate attempt, beyond awful, to hang on to power.ReplyDelete
According to Migration Observatory figures quoted by Jonathan Freedland in today's (11th March) Guardian in 2021 the UK granted asylum to 13 000 people.Delete
Again: the issue isn’t how many were granted asylum. It’s how many arrive illegally and stay illegally. Of course there aren’t figures on that, because by definition we don’t know about the people who successfully evade detection; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of them.
And it’s also how many weren’t granted asylum, but who were eventually allowed to stay anyway because the amount of time it took to come to that conclusion, after the process had been spun out by appeals, had been so long that they had established a life in the UK and therefore were able to claim that it would be against their human rights to deport them.
We are not uniquely "swamped" or "invaded."
No one claimed this was a problem unique to the United Kingdom. France has similar issues; so does Italy. In fact so do almost all Western countries.
Of course dangerous cross-channel entry would be greatly reduced by providing safe and legal methods of entry.
No it wouldn’t. Because those who didn’t qualify for the safe and legal entry routes would continue to attempt ingress by boat.
Two thirds of those crossing by these boats qualify as refugees, even half of those from Albania.
No they don’t. Albania is a safe, stable, democratic country. You can’t be a refugee from a safe, stable, democratic country. By definition.
The whole thing is a piece of manufactured scaremongering in a desperate attempt, beyond awful, to hang on to power.
It’s a real issue that successive Conservative governments have utterly failed to get to grips with, but at least now there’s an effort to do so — an effort that Labour wouldn’t even make.
So am I right that what you actually want is open borders, and when you write ‘have a department large enough to “process” them as rapidly as possible’ what you mean by ‘process’ is not ‘determine whether they have a valid case for staying in the country and deport them if not’ but rather ‘hand them the paperwork for their new life in Britain, no questions asked’?