I had thought that the government reached rock-bottom when both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor were issued with police fines for attending parties during lockdown. On many occasions in Parliament and elsewhere, the Prime Minister repeated again and again: ‘All Covid guidance was followed ... no rules were broken ... no lockdown parties were attended’. It is clear that the person who leads this country is incapable of recognizing the truth, even when it is presented to him by his local police station.
But now, the United Kingdom, a country that prides itself as a liberal democracy with a strong moral code and a belief in charity and compassion and 'doing the right thing', has instituted a policy to transport asylum seekers to a small African country ten hours flying time from London. I thought this was a sick joke when I first read about it. Apparently our humanitarian home secretary has used a rare ‘Ministerial Direction’ to push the plan through against the advice of her civil servants. How on earth can we lecture others on how to behave in the modern world when we are doing this? I actually start to wonder whether Ms Patel is not slightly mad.
The transportation of convicts overseas ceased in this country in the 1850s; now that our government has brought it back what is next I wonder? A new Poor Law? The Workhouse? And what about providing our prisons with treadmills—couple them to electricity generators and our energy crisis would be solved...
Almost worse that the policy itself, is having to listen to it being defended by the apologists, including Johnson, elevating hypocrisy to new heights of total moral bankruptcy. They talk about the ‘evil’ people smugglers preying on 'innocent victims', and the ‘terrible danger’ and ‘loss of life’ that results, and what do they do? Prepare to punish the victims!
If the government is really serious about stopping this dangerous cross-channel traffic, all it needs to do is provide a simple legal way for asylum-seekers to come here. Set up a reception centre in Calais—I’ll bet the French would be falling over themselves to help. Organize a simple checking process and 95% of the crossings will evaporate. If demand drops like a brick, the people smugglers will find other ways to make money. The last time I looked, there were 1.25 million job vacancies in this country. If ever there was a time when we needed more workers, it is now; what we do not need is people like Johnson and Patel.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs