Gurkhas and Jack Straw the Hypocrite 20

I cannot for the life of me understand the government’s attitude to the Gurkhas’ immigration status. It is an unwinnable political fight in which they have been trounced again, and the Commons defeat today is the most direct personal slap to Gordon Brown, coming immediately after Nick Clegg trounced him on this question at Prime Minister’s Questions.

As in the question of immigration rights for Iraqi interpreters working for the UK, the government has acted ungratefully, against all public opinion, and for no very clear reason.

I am in general an advocate of immigration. But plainly there is much more immigration than the government actually intended. It is a fact that the number of illegal immigrants in the UK is well over a million. I very much support Boris Johnson’s idea of an amnesty to allow them to stay in the UK. I have not heard another viable solution.

But what makes no sense is this. Every time I get on a 207 bus I am immersed in newly immigrant Somali, Sudanese and Russian people, and I appear to be the only person who speaks English on his mobile phone. I am not against that in the least, but if we can absorb these diverse groups with little attachment to the UK, how come we can’t fit in Gurkhas who have a long attachment to this country and have been prepared to die for it?

If the government were taking its stance against the background of a tough immigration policy, that would be wrong but at least it would be intellectually consistent. But to keep the Gurkhas out while letting several million other first generation immigrants in, seems perverse in the extreme.

Jack Straw was sitting alongside Brown in the Commons today. Jack Straw has a deserved reputation as an MP who assiduously cultivates his constituency. I stayed there for four months in 2005 when I stood against him.

I used to line manage the UK’s fifth largest visa operation (in Accra) and so I know my immigration rules. In Blackburn I forged close links with the Muslim community, and a constant theme was their gratitude to Jack Straw for assistance with visa cases. I met several instances of people living in Blackburn who were relatives but not dependants of earlier immigrants, and who told me they had obtained their visas following the personal intervention of Straw when Home or Foreign Secretary. In many of these cases, particularly involving nieces/nephews given settlement visas, I could conceive of no way within the immigration rules those visas should have been given.

Muslim community leaders in Blackburn understood this very well. They were under some pressure from national Muslim organisations to support me because of my opposition to the war in Iraq and to the torture of Muslims – and to oppose Straw for his roles in those things. But they asked me directly how as MP I would be able to help those kind of cases, when I would not be in a key government position like Straw.

I replied that I would be able to help those within the rules by assiduous work, and be able to help in cases of humanitarian concern where rules needed to be bent. But wholesale abuse of immigration procedure would not be something I would do. So they thanked me and did not support me.

So I watched the smirking Straw today. A man who sent hundreds of British soldiers, including Gurkhas, to their deaths in illegal wars. And a man who will not lift a finger to help the Gurkhas, even though he has worked continually to bring more immigrants into Blackburn, for his own political advantage.

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20 thoughts on “Gurkhas and Jack Straw the Hypocrite

  • Iain Orr

    Craig is right to expose the hypocrisy of New Labour apparatchiks like Jack Straw. Perversely, if there were enough Gukhas already here for their votes to matter in Labour constituencies, the story would be different. Political advantage is what guides too many policies, not principles being applied honestly and consistently.

    Remember that Straw’s Blackburn was the first constituency to have local Labour politicians go to jail for postal ballot fraud. That fraud was largely carried out by abuse of local immigrant communities.

  • xsdogskin

    Straw consists of 100% pure unadulterated greased weasel,

    ‘JACK STRAW has become embroiled in a row with a wealthy Muslim businessman who claims he was offered the prospect of a peerage not to contest the foreign secretary’s Blackburn seat.

    The disputed conversation took place in Straw’s constituency flat during a private meeting in which the minister sought to dissuade Yousuf Bhailok from standing against him.’

    don’t worry Craig, time eventually catches up with this sort…

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Several Gurkha regiments are stationed nearby. They and their families are real assets to the surrounding communities. Rarely does one hear of any trouble of any sort being caused by them. They are, in short, ideal citizens, comparing very favourably with the indigenous population.

    Woolas has, this evening, told Parliament that the cost of the Government climbdown will amount to ‘billions’ – yet is unable to put any numbers at all to this statement. He is lying to Parliament, therefore. The pinch-faced Jacqui Smith sat alongside him, clearly afraid to face the questions herself.

    Still, at least a few Labour MPs are beginning to see the writing on the wall, but Straw knows he’s on the way out. I hope that thought haunts his every waking hour.

  • Drew Murray

    As someone who opposes immigration I am outraged that Gurkhas don’t have the right to settle in the UK. That this is the case in a country that allows hundreds of thousands of immigrants a year is perverse and a disgrace.

  • tony_opmoc

    Over 15 years ago I took my young son to see the home in Oldham where I lived for the first 24 years of my life.

    I hadn’t been back for over 20 years.

    When I left the population was around 97% white (many from Germany and Poland who’s parents escaped the NAZI’s)

    But We all felt and adopted the culture of being an Oldhamer. It is something special.

    When I went back – the entire culture of Werneth ( a small part of Oldham with a nice park ) had changed.

    It was 97% Asian.

    Now I am not complaining – cos I emmigrated. I left Oldham.

    And now I sometimes see higher concentrations of ethnic white people in India – particularly some parts of Goa.

    My Daughter Katy received several poster sized prints today. She ordered them yesterday. They cost £45 including delivery.

    The photographs were not of the totally amazing ones she took in the Maldives a couple of weeks ago.

    They were the ones she took at the G20 protest a couple of days before we left.

    They are completely phenomenal.

    One of them she is Left (RIGHT at The FRONT)

    Of a Row of Around 40 Policemen in Full Riot Helmets and Riot Gear

    With Peaceful Protestors looking rather ANGRY Head to Head

    The little girl with the camera was Katy.

    The photos are for her “A” Level Art and Photography project.

    I reckon she should get A*


  • Craig

    I am pathologically tolerant. I think integration will work over time and in a hundred years the population will look attractively mixed up.

  • lwtc247

    There’s a part of me that is glad they haven’t had their desired immigration status granted. Hopefully it will put people off from contributing to the global death effort of the British army.

    Anyone recall the Nepalese that were apparently kidnapped and seemingly summarily executed in Iraq some time ago. What was the full story behind that I wonder.

  • lwtc247

    Is it wrong of me to sceptically imagine the seeds of future ‘problem’ are deliberately being sown?

    No? Thought not.

  • lwtc247

    @ Anon 11:09 PM

    “The vast majority of these Muslims believe that this last ten years of violent aggression under Blair and Brown are a punishment for Islamic countries that do not have their own high standards of religion.” – Huh?

    I’ll resist the temptation to name 3 of them, instead, I’ll laugh at YOUR hypocrisy for cheering one arm of the British army that supports the very killing machine you flip-floppily denounce.

    “places the Muslim beneath contempt” SOME Muslims, yes, same for SOME whites who disagreed with the Iraq war but thought they would get an extra 50p in minimum wage.

    speaking of minimum wage, I think it’s spectacular the way this has been advertised as something good. Hook line and sinker! Wonder if Berzinski was watching. Oh how the mind gets escorted.

    Back to Iraq war / ballot box.

    Nobody can tell me ANY of the the parties upon election would have done a Zapatero. The mind of the Brit in power is supersaturated with visions of imperialism. I remember how people used to mention with a forming lump in their throat how the map used to be 1/3 pink. The Cons and Libs would be making excuses about only being able to leave when Saddam like security was re-established.

    Brit establishment cogs will not yield power and financial reward easily. The other day, Craig alluded to other ambassadors NOT speaking out for fear of having their “head chopped off”. Career suicide. QED Craig.

    And if you think about doing a “Shortie”: i.e. “I’ll stay because I can do more good in than out” then noting discriminates you from the rest of the dung heap.

  • anticant

    “Pathological tolerance” is an apt description of romantic pseudo-liberalism which refuses to recognise current or impending problems. It can also be applied to the 1930s appeasers who went on believing up to the outbreak of war that the Nazis were really jolly good chaps who would stop foaming at the mouth and settle down peaceably if you threw them a few bones such as Czechoslovakia and invited them to hunt and play cricket.

    If it weren’t for historic British tolerance of immigrants I wouldn’t exist. Like you, Craig, I used to believe that the future of the world lay in racial intermingling and “coffee”. But I reckoned without religious, cultural and social differences. These are the real problem – not race.

  • Andrew

    I totally support the rights of those who fought for the UK being able to live here. But going forward, as a country do we really want to continue to encourage people to sign up to fight for the UK as mercenaries? Shouldn’t this be a relic from our imperial past?

  • Unc

    Of course you let in a visibly large number of immigrants:

    ‘The conditions necessary to create a genocidal mind-set within any given population are a depressed economy, uneven distribution of wealth, the existence of an identifiable minority, the strong political ambition of an oppressor group, and impunity’ p195 The Secret Hunters, Ranulph Fiennes.

    Surely not.

  • lwtc247

    @ Andrew

    Blackwater murderers as neighbours?

    And what do you mean fought for this country? When was this country attacked by anyone? The fought for bLiar and his blood drinking cabal.

  • Andrew


    I was specifically referring to the Gurkhas, whose history of fighting for the UK does include wars (a few anyway…) where we were not the aggressors.

    As for Blackwater, Aegis and the like – their employees are not welcome anywhere as far as I am concerned.

  • lwtc247

    The Ghurkhas who fought in proper wars where the UK was attacked then fair enough.

    But how many of THOSE type are there? The ones who fought in recent wars of aggression deserve to be allowed in perhaps – into a prison cell.

  • JimmyGiro

    lwtc247 @4:52 pm

    Soldiers are only required to follow the rules of engagement; they are not responsible for the political decision to war; whereas the voter has more liability of war, for electing a democratic government.

  • lwtc247

    @ JimmyJ

    Here we are in disagreement.

    Since when did soldiers opt-out of having human resposibilities? Where is it said and by whose fallable hand is such a thig written? In fact isn’t the very opposite ture? At least that was my understanding of the Nuremberg trials.

    If the stupid soldiers (some of whom I don’t doubt get erections over killing people and harming them) thought about the lies they have been asked to fight for and the innocents they would kill, then this world wou;dn’t such a dump.

    Voters also have a responsibility we agree.

  • Abe Rene

    I predict that Joanna Lumley will live to regret her gushing comments about the Prime Minister yesterday.

    Anyone inclined to disagree?

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