Friday, 15 April 2022

Failure is a feature of the UK, not a bug


As a general rule, I support the UK being generous towards those who come to these shores fleeing war and oppression, and even those who are fleeing poverty (who some prefer to call economic migrants), especially given the UK’s historical role in creating the poverty which they are trying to escape. I’ll admit though that when I read yesterday’s news, the uncharitable thought crossed my mind that the UK today might be an altogether kinder and gentler place if Mr & Mrs Patel, Mr & Mrs Sunak, and Mr & Mrs Javid had been detained at the border and flown to a detention centre in Rwanda, and if Mr & Mrs Johnson had been prevented from bringing any US-born offspring into the UK. (People criticising Sunak for being a permanent US resident whilst also being Chancellor of the Exchequer tend to forget that until he renounced his US citizenship in 2016 – and only then to avoid a tax bill – the current PM was himself both a member of parliament and a US citizen obliged to pay tax under US rules on all his earnings. Even if Sunak had told his boss about the Green Card issue, it’s unlikely that someone who saw no significant problem in a full US citizen becoming Foreign Secretary would object to a Chancellor holding the much lower status of mere permanent resident of the US.)

Whether the policy will ever be implemented or is just a very cruel gimmick to try and get racist voters to back the Tories in local elections next month, or even an attempt to divert attention from the government’s other misdeeds by appealing to that sense of racism, is an open question. I don’t doubt that money will change hands and Rwanda will receive some much-needed cash (although I wouldn’t put it past the current government to take the money out of the overseas aid budget), but that doesn’t mean anyone will actually be sent there. There are more than a few legal issues to overcome (in domestic law as well as in international law), which is why Johnson himself is already firing warning shots at the lawyers who might be tempted to use the courts to prevent any flights from taking place (or to enforce the actual law of the UK rather than what Johnson and Patel think the law should be, to describe it more accurately). He and Patel like to refer to lawyers as ‘politically-motivated lefty activists’, although a more accurate description would be ‘people who believe that following the rule of law is, on the whole, rather a good thing’. The rule of law is, however, an increasingly strange concept to the corrupt lawbreakers who staged a coup within the Tory Party and are now doing the same to the UK as a whole. I’m still waiting for the defence that it’s only breaking the law in a very specific and limited way (just like committing a murder or two, really).

Both nationally and internationally, the move has generated a great deal of condemnation, including from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The UK ought to be sanctioned for its actions, including expulsion from the Council or Europe and all international human rights organisations. The problem with that is that those behind this policy would see that as a positive, not a punishment. Our own Mark Drakeford has, in fairness and as one would expect, condemned the policy unreservedly, but what he and others like him need to realise is that this sort of thing isn’t a bug in the UK system which can be put right by a change of government in England (even if that looked like a remotely conceivable possibility, and even if English Labour wasn’t trying to present itself as being as keen as the Tories to enforce border controls), it’s a feature with which we will have to put up until Wales decides to opt out of the failed state which the UK is rapidly becoming.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Read elsewhere that some chancer well connected to a UK Gov Minister has been buying up land not too far from Rwanda's major airport. I wonder whether he managed to get some sort of grant for that ?