Protempore – Issue 96

Posted by in August's Magazine

It always pays to have a healthy, cynical attitude when it comes to politics because sometimes, admittedly in the haze of a post-festival show hangover, certain comments by our erstwhile political friends can take us by surprise. For example, guess who recently said this in response to the UK Home Office’s perverted attempts to clamp down on illegal immigrants.

“Spot checks and being demanded to show your papers by officialdom are not the British way of doing things. Yes, of course we want to deal with illegal immigration, but what’s the point of rounding people up at railway stations if at the same time they’re still flooding in through Dover and nearly a hundred other ports around the country. I’m astonished that the Home Office has become so politicised that they’re actually advertising ‘another ten arrested’. Before long, they be live video-streaming those arrests. I don’t like it. It is really not the way we’ve ever behaved or operated as a country. We don’t have ID cards; we should not be stopped by officialdom and have to prove who we are.”


White man vans
Well now, is Nigel Farage, the oleaginous, down the pub-type blokey leader of UKIP actually asking us to believe that he’s “astonished” by the politicisation of the Home Office? No, I’m not falling for it either. Yes, the Home Office has recently started parading advertising slogans on the sides of vans urging illegal immigrants to call a helpline so that they can be deported immediately and using falsified statistics to justify the use of such vans. And its officials have also stepped up stop and search tactics in order to identify illegal immigrants, but Farage’s faux shock at these moves is sickening. His party is guilty of stoking anxiety about immigration in communities all over England in an attempt to wrest votes from both the Conservatives and Labour in the run-up to the next general election in 2015. And the obvious, albeit depressing tactic of the two main parties, is to lurch to the right in an attempt to persuade voters that it is they who are the party most determined to sort things out.

Now, for the Conservatives, this is a real bonus. For all Dave Cameron’s attempts to convince voters that the Conservatives are no longer the nasty party, the truth remains that he is in thrall to a band of right-wing eurosceptics who must have been jumping with joy when the Home Office vans trundled onto the streets. (Rumours that they apparently wanted to announce them as ‘white man vans’ are apparently unfounded).

These Tories want to close our borders completely, to renounce the European Convention on Human Rights, and ultimately, to take us out of the European Union altogether. That’s right – basically what Farage and his band of enraged pensioners and deluded skinheads want. So you can see the logic. The Tories show that the Home Office are tough on immigration and have more clout than UKIP, so voters stick with Dave and his curmudgeonly nutters on the backbenches.

What is Labour’s stance on the matter I hear you ask? Well, the shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant, recently made a speech accusing large retailers of using cheap, foreign labour thus denying jobs to British citizens. It smacks of Gordon Brown’s woeful attempt to head off the Tories on immigration at the last election with his ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ garbage.

Bryant had to appear on the national news before making his speech to try and explain exactly what he meant by accusing companies such as Tesco and Next of employing foreign nationals before British citizens. It was a car crash. The speech had been leaked and his grovelling attempt to clear things up while all the time trying to hang on the coat tails of Dave and Nigel was cringe worthy.

Labour front foot (not)
Take it from me, the Labour party has absolutely no hope of winning the next general election and would be far better served by acting like a true opposition party and taking the Tories to task on all of their poisonous policies which would at least put them on the back foot for a bit. (The Liberal Democrats have also given up on 2015 and are presently sitting in a corner hoping it will all go away soon). But then Labour refused to denounce the bedroom tax and are also keen on sticking to the Tories spending plans for the foreseeable future so don’t hold your breath.

“Nigel Farage astonished by Home Office tactics to reduce immigration.” Even in my post-show hangover state I still can’t quite believe it.


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