In some ways it was heartening to read yesterday and this morning about the Government climbdown on the Gurkhas. There is a universal recognition of the injustice of the Government’s previous positions. Personally, though, I can’t help thinking of all the other cases and groups that haven’t received the same media attention because they haven’t attracted a high profile campaigner. The injustice is no less gross in other cases but it is less easy to communicate.
Simon Jenkins today highlights the plight of Iraqi interpreters who worked with the British and are in danger as a result. Depending on which way the wind blows in a particular area, the same applies to anyone associated with British forces, even down to cleaners at the local base. There have been many examples of executions of perceived collaborators. I know of one case of an interpreter who worked with a friend of mine in Iraq. He was threatened, he felt he had to leave and he ended up in Canada, not Britain. That’s not what I call taking responsibility for our actions.
What about the deceitful Home Office stance on Zimbabwe? What about the secret detention policies? What about the appalling ‘service’ received from UKBA and Entry Clearance Officers in return for the enormous fees now charged? What about the discriminatory nationality laws that continue to linger on the statute books like a bad smell?
In early 2008 the ridiculous treatment of slight overstayers received a lot of coverage. What about the genuinely absurd decisions coming through under the Points Based System? I’ve had one case where an incorrect bank charge took the student below the required £800 for a few days before the bank refunded it an admitted the error, yet the student was refused. I had another that was refused because the university in question does graduation ceremonies only twice a year and the Home Office refused to accept letters from the university saying the student had passed the course with flying colours. There are many similar examples out there – in fact, please leave a comment below if you have any such stories.
Before leaving the subject, I noticed that still immigration minister Phil Woolas was nowhere to be seen yesterday. See here for coverage of his expenses, incidentally. It looks like he hasn’t actually broken any rules, he just put in receipts that weren’t in fact needed. The discredited and plain mean previous position on the Gurkhas was very much his doing. Surely he has to go at the imminent reshuffle? I can’t bring myself to do the research to find out if this would actually make him the shortest serving as well as the least loved immigration minister of all time – and he surely has some stiff competition in both fields.