The Arrogance of Baroness Scotland Hides A Bigger Question 13

Baroness Scotland has an extremely high opinion of herself, and an extremely low opinion of anybody who might question her. She laughed in the House of Lords at Eric Lubbock, when he was making a perfectly correct point about the burdens placed by the government on the immigration service exceeding the capacity of the staff to deliver.

Lord Avebury: …That seems to be of fundamental importance in deciding whether the Immigration and Nationality directorate is capable of coping with any new burdens that are placed on it, let alone the ones that are specified in these regulations. The Minister may snigger, but this is not a laughing matter.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I am not sniggering. The noble Lord is not right. We have tried extremely hard to deal seriously with this matter. I was merely shaking my head in disbelief

In the same Lords debate on 23 April 2004 Baroness Scotland went on to pooh-pooh the idea that proposed requirements on small employers to check and to keep copies of employees’ immigration status and documents, were difficult or excessive.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal … The employer has then simply to take a copy of the application form or other document proving exemption. That would provide them with their statutory defence and authorise them to employ the person

She was not at that moment referring to the precise category of immigrant in which her housekeeper fell, but she was to pilot legislation through the Lords which did cover her housekeeper, and to defend the obligations it placed on employers.

Plainly Baroness Scotland would not have been fined £5,000 if she had not done something wrong. Plainly she was aware in general of the legal obligations on employees to keep copies of employees’ immigration status documents, and plainly she did not do this.

Any sin of omission can be described as “Accidental”, like failing to pay your income tax. But coming from the high-handed sneerer who pushed the very legislation through the Lords, of course she should resign.

I do not believe her story that she did check the documents but did not keep copies. The basic document to check is the visa, which states very clearly the position on entitlement to work. Is she claiming she saw but did not copy forged documents? What precisely is she claiming?

There is of course the wider question of our hypocrisy on immigration. Major British cities are heavily dependent on illegal immigrants. Every middle class Londoner has been served by an illegal immigrant in a cafe, restaurant or pub, been inside offices cleaned by illegal immigrants and often had work done in their house by illegal immigrants. I personally have several friends who are illegal immigrants, and several more who are fictional students at fake language schools.

If you look at remittances from workers in the UK back to their families in poor countries, these cash flows would be impossible on the basis of the “official” ethnic community in the UK. Ghana, for example, receives personal remittances which are greater than the country’s exports; the UK is the biggest source. I would put just the Ghanaian illegal immigrant community in the UK at well over 100,000.

The total number of illegal immigrants in the UK is almost certainly well over a million.

Boris Johnson has been the only prominent politician I can recall who has been brave enough to face the facts and call for an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Most of the political class simply prefer to pretend the problem does not exist. The illegal immigrants are not going to go home and you can’t deport over a million people without becoming still more of a police state. The economy couldn’t cope if you did, as British people won’t do many of the jobs involved – like being the sniggering bitch’s housekeeper.

It is indeed anomalous that illegal immigrants can very easily get National Insurance numbers. But it is also a good thing. It is much better for them to be working and contributing.

Baroness Scotland has been revealed as a hypocrite of remarkable proportions. But until their is a serious effort to address the status of our massive illegal immigrant workforce, we continue to be dependent on an entire class of non-people.

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13 thoughts on “The Arrogance of Baroness Scotland Hides A Bigger Question

  • MJ

    I would be very interested to know the fate of the erstwhile housekeeper, the non-person in this story. Is she still in the country? Are the police trying to find her? Is she to be required to reveal the documents, presumably forged, she is alleged to have provided? Forging official documents is of course a criminal offence.

  • JimmyGiro

    The primary reason that “British people won’t do many of the jobs involved” is that these jobs are none gainful to those of us with bills to pay.

    Also, they are low paid jobs because they are usually none vital; hence the notion that they are economically crucial is moot. For example, would the Earth full into the sun if Baroness von Scotland tidied up her own croft?

  • kidder

    Baroness Scotland, like many politicians, seems to believe that she is somehow above the law, even a law she made herself. A hypocrite indeed.

    However, I notice Craig that you are keen to point out that you are a friend of illegal immigrants and bogus students of fake language schools. These people have no right to be here; they are here against the law whether you have befriended them or not. Are you not at the very least bending the law in not repoting them?

  • Craig


    I don’t think ordinary members of the public are under a legal obligation to go around reporting illegal immigrants, thank God. They’re not exactly ax murderers.

  • technicolour

    How lovely, someone who wants us to report on our friends and neighbours. The state has really got its claws in. Hurrah for the Stasi, at any rate. At least we can look back at them and *know* they were thoroughly undesirable and, eventually, disposable. Until the wheel turns full circle, enjoy yourself, Kidder, why not?

  • mrjohn

    Speaking as a legal immigrant I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand I know a lot of illegal immigrants are just trying to make their way in this increasingly unfriendly world, but on the other why should I go through all the hassle of getting a visa, re-applying for it before it expires, paying taxes, and giving up my biometric data & personal details.

    I assume in the UK illegal immigrants do many of the jobs people on the dole don’t feel like doing. Someone from Ghana may be prepared to leave loved ones behind and work long hours for little money, but I know UK nationals who can’t be bothered to drag themselves off the sofa.

    The issue needs addressing, the UK has to decide whether it needs the extra workforce, if so, it should start handing out working visas, if not, it should prosecute the employers of illegal immigrants. Jail terms for a few prominent cases and the problem would be solved pretty quick, can anyone think of a candidate ?

  • Richard T

    There’s things in this that don’t quite hang together.

    I take Denning’s view that no-one is above the law so notionally in being fined £5000 she ha sbeen caught and punished. But…..

    Had Lady Scotland carried out a proper check of the papers then if there was a problem with any aspect, she should have seen it and acted accordingly in calling in the Home Office Staatspolitz. If they appeared in order but were forgeries, (as appears to be the case from what the wife has said) the cleaner is in fact here illegally then she can’t be blamed except for not taking copies. However said cleaner surely and sadly should be deported forthwith. But there is what I suspect to be a smoke screen of confusion here.

    However, this is not a venial sin of omission. Lady Scotland is a lawyer; she piloted the bill through the Lords and no doubt was wholly au fait with its contents; she is one of the most senior members of her profession in England. As a lawyer, carelessness with checking evidence and paperwork indicates a worrying lack of diligence. As the senior law officer, she should go.

    The only saving grace is that she is adding to the stench of cynicism and lack of basic integrity surrounding the government. The pity is that the onset of what I suspect to be the nastiest sort of toryism is being hastened.

  • anon


    Eric Lubbock completely understands the porousness of our borders and he is an expert on Kurdistan, amongst many other things. I couldn’t get a National Insurance number for my wife, but people can. I can’t get into the UK without a visa but people can.

    From what Craig reports, Lord Avebury clearly highlighted a genuine concern that genuine employers might fall foul of the law by lack of attention to detail. The Dame guffawed.

    This government, and its nasty Shadow, have an absolute allergy to truth of any kind. The s**t has hit her fan and nothing has happened, same as when Craig exposed UK complicity in torture, nothing happened. And nothing is ever going to happen. Amen.

  • mary

    Scotland must go!! She is a bare-faced hypocrite and exhibits no sign of shame or contrition. To think that people are looking to her for justice.

    The unfortunate housekeeper and her husband have been taken in for questioning by the police on the instructions of the Borders Agency.

  • Jon

    I also support an amnesty for illegal immigrants – but then my view on migration controls differs substantially from Craig’s. I am of the position that migration controls should largely be dismantled for all countries, which would provide a massive developed-world incentive to provide real help for underdeveloped countries, rather than keeping them in loan-repayment slavery. Immigration would place a strain on the resources of well-off countries, such as the UK, thus reducing, and balancing out, their desirability as a immigrant destination.

    Those of a conservative persuasion should welcome the idea – it is essentially free-market economics applied to immigration. The rub is that professed free-marketeers generally don’t believe in a genuinely free market 😉

    The only problem with the above is the issue of mutual guarantee: who goes first, and will the others follow if they promise to do so?

    Craig – agree with much of what you’ve said, including referring to Baroness Scotland’s “hypocrisy”. But I think that “sniggering bitch” is unnecessarily misogynist, even for someone who isn’t particularly PC.

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