The Empire Windrush sank in 1954 .This week the Windrush Scandal sank , or at least holed below the the waterline , our sense of national pride in being a tolerant country that treats people fairly and with respect .
If the Windrush had not been sunk long ago it would have capsized under the tidal wave of tendentious claims and blame shifting of those who were the architects of and cheerleaders for the ‘hostile environment ‘ policy .
Nick Timothy , the former adviser flatteringly and erroneously (the body of evidence grows by the day) described as Mrs May’s brain said :
‘The Windrush scandal is heartbreaking, but it should not be used as an excuse to stop sensible migration controls‘
The Windrush scandal is undoubtedly heartbreaking but the ‘Hostile Environment’ policy hardly falls within the category of ‘sensible’.
Mr Timothy then goes on to lay the foundations for a familiar excuse :
‘In 1997, when Jack Straw became Home Secretary, he sought the advice of his predecessors. One told him: “the thing about being Home Secretary is this. At any one time there are fifty sets of officials working on projects that will destroy your career. The problem is, you don’t know who they are, and they don’t either.”
The Home Office is a dangerous place for ministers because it is an operational department as much as a policy department. It is responsible for devising laws and rules, but also taking hundreds of thousands of decisions – of huge importance to the people involved – about nationality, visas, deportations and more.
As they require judgment and discretion, mistakes are sometimes…’
Or in others words , and similarly to Amber Rudd’s comments on 16 April – not me guv, it’s those hopeless Home Office Civil Servants
Lord Kerslake , Head of the Civil Service at the time Mrs May set about , with characteristic steadfast determination to achieve the target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands , on Newsnight on 19 April calmly and firmly dismissed the notion that ministers would not have had clear advice on the achievability , consequences and risks of the ‘Hostile Environment ‘policy.
So the blame shifting to the civil service doesn’t stand up . Of course I can hardly put the notion of ministerial responsibility any more clearly than Mrs May did to Beverly Hughes after a scandal of rather smaller proportions :
Jacob’s Jesuitical Reasoning
Jacob Rees Mogg with an exhibition of jesuitical reasoning which will delight the members of the European Research Group ( smart move inserting Research into the title to mask suspicions of europhobic tendencies ) has entered the fray .The MP said: “We are not the sort of country that demands to see your papers, but I’m afraid pro-Europeans think we should be,“They buy into the EU-style relationship between individual and state.“It’s a shift to the state being powerful and individual being weak.”
Mirror and the Mail United
A Fundamental and Undeclared Change of Policy
However Mr Rees Mogg in his attempt to mislead has put his finger on a fundamental shift , and not one with widespread public or political support , from a presumption of the right to be here which did not require the production of ‘papers’ to a requirement to produce proof of entitlement and the right to be here .
The Cabinet Office attempted to play this down today , in the context of the pilot to require the production of photo id when voting in five areas :
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We already ask that people prove who they are in order to collect a parcel from the post office, rent a car, or travel abroad.
This a masterly piece of dissembling . The statement is carefully constructed to imply the requirement is not a big deal . We are only asking you to the same as when you pick up a parcel .Leaving aside voting for the moment no one can claim that the Windrush Scandal is anything but a very big deal .
It is worth outlining the twist and turns that have brought us to this sorry state of affairs , and robbed the Windrush Generation of their sense of having every right to continue to live in the country where they have made their lives .
In 1948 the British Nationality Act was passed . This enshrined in law the principle that all British citizens should have the right to travel to and settle in the UK. There is something reminiscent of Palmerston here- Civis Britannicus Sum.
This is the time of Lord Kitchener’s song ‘London is the Place For Me ‘ performed for the cameras on the decks of the Windrush