Looking at the UK Border Agency, it found it to still be, in John Reid’s famous words, “unfit for purpose”. The Agency has been engaged in an attempt to clear a backlog of some 450,000 cases involving would-be asylum cases, some dating back to the 1990s and “lost” or hidden until they were discovered in 2006.
Over 400,000 cases have now been closed. But fewer than 40,000 people have been deported compared to more than 160,000 who have simply been told they can stay, regardless of the merits of their cases. 75,000 cases have been put back on the shelves because those people have simply disappeared.
One has to have some sympathy for the Agency and the Home Office. A combination of the poisonous inheritance of the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act, and the judicial imperialist judges of Strasbourg have rendered it all but impossible for the Agency to do its job, quite apart from its own shortcomings. The Lib-Dem/Con Coalition has failed to honour the Prime Minister’s election pledge to replace the Human Rights Act and has no intention of contracting out of the European Convention on Human Rights, either formally, or in the French style of ignoring it.
The Committee concluded that “in practice an amnesty has taken place, at a considerable cost to the taxpayer”. But in an immense act of self-deception (for it will deceive no one else) the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, said: “There is absolutely no amnesty.”
It is time the Government remembered that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
Contrary to what was promised before the election there has been an amnesty. The Prime Minister should remember too that the first duty above all others of Government is to secure the nation’s borders against unwelcome intruders, whether they come under arms, under lorries or under the protection of foreign jurisdictions. A government which cannot do that is not a sovereign government at all.
There was plenty of variety in your comments this week, but it was some comfort to me that those who had most connections with the Middle East, or connections with particular countries there, confirmed my view that it was a more peaceable and a safer place for British people fifty years ago than it is now. That was also the view of wild_rover 2011 and crown armourer. Several of you, including flatulent_emmissions and mockpudding agreed that what follows Gaddafii and Mubaruk will be no improvement, whilst auntycensorship saw Libya as a humanitarian disaster and oggy rightly questioned whether bombing people into democracy is a good idea, and vingoe feared that our intervention in Egypt might open the way for the Moslem Brotherhood to take power.
Igonikon Jacl posted a very good piece on the consequences of our (Christian) Reformation and those of a lack of a Muslim one. That chimed with my view and that of mpjones that not every country regardless of its state of cultural and political development is best off with democracy, and pragmatist pointed to the experience of China. Then jeongu observed that Western democracy is different to the Muslim variety and marcusleeds suggested that there cannot be democracy where Islam allows no separation of mosque and state.
All in all, we seem to be mostly pessimistic about whether the Arab Spring will be good for the Middle East, or for us. Nor was there much optimism about immigration, but as my blog post today returned to that subject I will confine myself to saying that although Johny Rottenborough said that both NuLab and my Party “had betrayed us”, I would add that my Party did not do so whilst I had influence in it. It would pay him, and others, to read Migration Watch and remember who flung open the gates, when and why.
The subject of immigration (and indeed of Europe) spilled over into a discussion of democracy here. There were plenty of posts like those from kingarthur 93, alhamilton, unrepresented and others, not to mention jebberisback who led the intellectual Left wing by regretting that the IRA had not murdered me as well as so many of my friends, claimed that there was nothing that they could do to make the democratic system work. Obviously some of you were stung by my questio0: “Where were you when it was all going wrong?”, pleading that it is impossible to change parties, or to win through from a weak position. So what about Alex Salmond? He has changed things. Or what about the Blairite modernisers? Come to that how did the Liberals come from where they were not long ago to being in Government? Or, if you prefer how did the Thatcherites bust the postwar consensus and then fall prey to the neo-Blairite modernisers.