Tuesday 19 April 2022

The issue is defining the problem, not the solution


The criticism of the UK government’s policy of sending people involuntarily to Rwanda has been fierce, and has provoked the response from the Foreign Secretary that the critics “fail to offer their own solutions”. Disingenuous doesn’t begin to describe this response – because the issue is not about alternative solutions but about the definition of the problem, which she presents as being the “deadly trade” of people trafficking and also the “deeply unfair” current situation that “advantages those with the means to pay people traffickers over vulnerable people who cannot”. From that perspective, any ‘solution’ which doesn’t accept her definition of the ‘problem’ can easily be dismissed as failing to be a ‘solution’ at all.

The real problem is the desperate conditions in which many people in many parts of the world are living; conditions which are usually caused, or at least exacerbated, by the actions of rich countries like the UK, which have for centuries extracted the wealth of poorer countries, supported oppressive and corrupt regimes, and supplied weapons and armaments (sometimes to both sides) in even those wars in which they have not themselves been directly engaged. The problem is not that desperate people are prepared to take enormous risks to come to the UK, it is that war, oppression, hunger and poverty drive them to leave their homes and communities in search of a better life in the first place. The UK is only one country (and far from being even the favourite country) to which they seek to migrate. It’s a problem to which the UK’s ‘solution’ has been to cut the aid budget, and pretend that the issues aren’t linked.

People trafficking is, of course, a problem which needs to be eliminated; but people selling illegal routes to the UK can only thrive because all the legal routes have been closed to those who use their services. And deporting some of their ‘customers’ is punishing the victims, not the perpetrators. We don’t lock up those who’ve been burgled because we can neither identify nor catch the burglars. Flying people to Rwanda is itself a bit like a dark form of officially-sanctioned people trafficking, except that the Government doesn’t make them pay and doesn’t take them where they want to go, but merely dumps them in a country to which they have even less connection.

I’m not even convinced that Patel has been entirely honest about her own definition of the ‘problem’ which she’s trying to solve – I suspect that her real issue is either concern that the sort of people who vote Tory don’t want immigrants of any sort coming to the UK or her wish to bolster her own credentials with the equally unpleasant elements who now control her own party. Expecting those who think that what she’s doing is morally repugnant to propose an alternative solution to achieve the same ends is even less realistic in either case. The real ‘problem’ which needs solving is that we have a deeply corrupt, immoral, uncaring, and dishonest government, which according to their own words (albeit not their actions) is behaving in a wholly un-British fashion. It’s a problem to which there is no solution which leaves the current structures and constitution in place.


Spirit of BME said...

I note your comments, but the Foreign Secretary is trying to get the Opposition to produce a policy is a little naive, especially before the elections in May.
What`s a little disturbing, is the low tone racist views of the suitability of African states, simply because they are in Africa.
Rwanda is a member of the Commonwealth and this organisation vets’ members on entry and has a record of throwing them out when human rights are abused e.g., South Africa. Yes, they had a war that killed thousands, but have rebuilt their system based upon their values.
Now, we have had had two wars in Europe that did not kill thousands, but millions, but again we have rebuilt these countries and they have their laws which we find acceptable.
It is sad that those who arrive here by boats, see the EU`s political structure and member countries laws as unsafe, and believing they would be subject to abuse and discrimination.

CapM said...

to sprit of BME
according to wiki -Rwanda was admitted in 2009 despite the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative finding that "the state of governance and human rights in Rwanda does not satisfy Commonwealth standards”. Both CHRI and Human Rights Watch have found that respect for democracy and human rights in Rwanda has declined since the country joined the Commonwealth.

What's disturbing is that the UK plans to shunt people to a third country not that the third country is in Africa. Maybe you're projecting a low tone racist view onto those that don't merit it.

It's a complicated situation and one which I doubt can be summarised as - they 'see the EU`s political structure and member countries laws as unsafe'. Which looks to me like a EU as bogeyman reflex.