Why the Windrush Scandal shows the Conservatives are still the nasty party

At the Tory party conference of 2002, Theresa May, then party chairman, observed the Conservatives had become known as the ‘ nasty party.’ Now, not too shy of 20 years later, the Windrush scandal has proven that to still be the case, as it pushed Amber Rudd out the door of the Home Office and cut short the ministerial career of someone once seen as one of the rising stars of the Conservative party.

First, the ‘hostile environment’ policy, then Rudd’s claims that there weren’t targets to remove immigration offenders, then having to admit there were but claiming she didn’t know about them, and then it being revealed that she had indeed known about them, both through a memo sent to her from a top Home Office official, and a letter she herself had sent to the Prime Minister, setting out ‘ambitious but deliverable’ deportation targets.

Ambitious but deliverable deportation targets??!! You’re dealing with human beings, not seeing if you can expand what you’re selling on a stall in a farmer’s market! And the fact that people who had been living in Britain legally for decades were caught up in this hostile environment policy is horrendous. Citizens of Great Britain who were here entirely legally were withheld medical care, denied having a job, in some cases were denied cancer treatment, even denied having a passport. And all because they didn’t have the rights papers. They had spent the best part of a decade being shuffled around from department to department, phone line to phone line living in fear that they might be forced out of the country where they and their ancestors came to make a home for themselves, for the sake of political gain.

But then, this has been going on for the better part of a decade because the Tories were so keen to be seen doing something about immigration, to satisfy possible Ukip defectors, that they ended up tying themselves in knots trying to prove a negative. So often is the case that the consequences of not complying with whatever law or regulation becomes the marker by which its effectiveness is judged. If the consequence for illegal immigrants, or those who could not show that they were in the UK legally, is deportation, you are judged by how many immigrants, legal or otherwise, you deport. Otherwise you are accused of not enforcing the law properly or simply ignoring what it is you are ‘supposed to be doing’.

Do away with immigration ‘targets’.

Stop trying to prove negatives.

Start respecting the citizens of this country, regardless of the colour of their skin or where they or their parents were born.

 

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