Despite numerous representations and an Early Day Motion signed by the large majority of Scotland’s MPs, Theresa May has ordered that Majid Ali, a Glasgow City College student, be deported back to almost certain torture and probable death in Pakistan in just twenty minutes from now. I attended the demonstration on his behalf yesterday at the Scottish Office.
Majid is a member of the much persecuted Baloch minority. Two of his immediate family have been “disappeared” by the Pakistani military since his asylum application was submitted. There is no doubt that given the numerous MP’s who have raised his case, and the well-supported early day motion, civil servants will have put the decision to May personally. She was however not even prepared to grant a delay for a look at the evidence. May is very likely not merely pandering to the racist UKIP voting electorate – she is on the far right of politics herself. The callous sacrifice of Majid Ali is proof, if any more were needed, that this Conservative administration is nothing to do with Cameron’s purported “compassionate conservatism.” They are the nasty party indeed.
But it also gives a stark example of the meaningless nature of the “enhanced devolution” in the new Scotland Act. Majid Ali’s community and Scotland’s elected representatives all want to keep him here, as an asset to his community and to our country. But even once the new Scotland Act is passed, it still would be Theresa May and the London Home Office who are the arbiters in all immigration and nationality matters.
For me, independence is the answer, and the only way Scotland will be able to operate as an ethical state. But for those Scots gradualists who actually believe in this devolution distraction, the absence of any input in immigration matters is a crucial example of how inadequate the proposed “new powers” are.
The majority of all extant UK statute laws apply equally in England and Scotland, but in Scotland are enforced by different administrative and judicial processes. While the UK is unfortunately a single state, it will have the same laws and regulations on immigration applying throughout. But there is no reason whatsoever that, as with so many other areas of law, the administration, judicial function and discretionary powers under the laws should not be devolved from London to Scotland as regards persons in Scotland.
That this is not so much as on the table shows how sham are the proposed “extra powers”. And that Majid Ali is being deported by Theresa May against universal Scottish opinion, shows the contempt which this Tory government intends to display against Scotland.
Assuming the deportation go ahead, the next useful step is to put pressure on Theresa May through letters to MPs to account for what happens to him after his return. There is a chance that forcing the British Government to make enquiries of the Pakistani Government about him may just keep him alive.