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.