Torturing the Scapegoat 87

I frequently find myself differing with readers who find it hard to understand that I can have personal friendships with people with politics very contrary to my own. I do not believe having a different opinion to me makes you a bad person. But there are times when I look at political opponents and consider that they can only be motivated by malice. I honestly believe you have to be a psychopath to wish to inflict the kind of calculated cruelty on hapless individuals who have already suffered much, that was presaged in Priti Patel’s new proposals for dealing with asylum seekers.

Not only is it extremely hard, and often dangerous, for many refugees to get in to the UK at all, it is very difficult indeed for them to have their refugee status accepted once they are here. I have personally both represented asylum seekers before immigration tribunals and given evidence on their behalf. I have seen the outright lies told by the Home Office representatives. In Uzbek cases I was astonished to hear the Home Office’s lawyers putting forward straight denial of political persecution in that country, based on official statements of the Uzbek government. I have seen the same in the case of a Bahraini shia family. I have seen the Home Office assert that gay people would not be in danger if returned, provided they refrained from all sexual activity or expressions of gay identity. I have seen the Home Office suggest that deep scars and burns were self-inflicted to claim torture.

In the event that the poor refugee overcomes this barrage of malignancy and is eventually granted asylum, Patel is now proposing new schemes to extend their misery. The right to re-unite their family will be restricted further; extraordinarily, all grants of asylum will be temporary, liable to revocation and deportation at a moment’s notice. In this way, the asylum seeker will never put down roots, never make a new home here, never become British, never have a family life. Patel is also planning restrictions on the right to work even after being granted asylum and on the right to benefits, potentially making life impossible even for fully genuine refuees.

All of which is utterly contrary to the provisions, letter and spirit of the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1966, confirmed by the UN General Assembly. The above constitutes a direct negation of Articles 17 to 24 inclusive, and that is merely a start.

I do not claim the government’s position is utterly without foundation. Patel founds her views on the notion that these refugees have entered the UK illegally. But the Convention specifically precludes discrimination on that basis :

Article 31
Refugees Unlawfully in the Country of Refuge

1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their
illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory
where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or
are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their
illegal entry or presence.

Patel, as did Theresa May, argues that refugees do not qualify for the protection of this article as they did not come here “directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened”. That claim however is not as simple as it seems. What does it mean, in this circumstance, to come “directly”. It does not say that it means to come only from an adjacent territory. A single journey may pass through several points. I once drove directly with my brother from London to Warsaw. We slept overnight near Amsterdam and Poznan, but it was still a direct journey. I have seen ministers assert that asylum seekers are obliged to lodge their application at the first place it is safe to do so. But that is not what the Convention on Refugees says. Nor is there any other basis in international law for that assertion.

In any event, the longstanding principle of refoulement is not affected. It predates the Convention but is well captured in it:

Article 33
Prohibition of Expulsion or Return (“refoulement”)

1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any
manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom
would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership
of a particular social group or political opinion.
2. The benefit of the present provision may not, however, be claimed by
a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to
the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted by
a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the
community of that country.

The end goal of the treatment of refugees is expressed in Article 34. They should be welcomed in to the nation and the community. By contrast, the Tories are embarked on a vicious othering. The political attack on a small and vulnerable group of people, to appeal to the racist vote, simply appals me.

Article 34

The Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and
naturalization of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite
naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges
and costs of such proceedings

Patel even plans to bring back the terrible fast track system, which was declared illegal by the courts. Nadira’s first film, the short Locked In, is a drama based on the true stories of several people subject to the fast track system, including at least one instance where a life was undoubtedly saved by a campaign by this blog’s readers, assisted by Jeremy Corbyn. Subscribers to Amazon Prime can watch for free; I am afraid there is a small charge otherwise. You can find the film here.

We have seen the UK government openly refuse in principle to accept the rule of international law in regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU, in defying the International Court of Justice and the UN General Assembly over the Chagos Islands, and in paying debt owed to Iran. In the Julian Assange trial, the UK government’s position is openly that the UK/US Extradition Treaty, which specifically excludes political extradition, is not compatible with UK law, even though the UK government signed and ratified the treaty. The UK government claimed on the contrary – and judge Baraitser accepted in her judgement – that the UK law specifically intends to allow political extradition, completely in contrast to the Treaty signed four years later.

We now have the remarkable position where the Tories are claiming it is ultra vires for the Scottish parliament to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, into Scots law, even though the UK has ratified it. That can only make sense if the UK government is arguing that it has no intention of making UK law compatible with this Convention it has signed.

The UK appears more and more shamelessly to proclaim itself as a rogue state. In a sense its position is worse than that of USA exceptionalism. The USA is frequently prepared to defy the international community in refusing to sign up to widely received international treaties – on climate change or the International Criminal Court for example. The UK has a less honest position of signing up to treaties without the slightest intention of abiding by them. The consequences in international relations will accrue, and eventually be dire.


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87 thoughts on “Torturing the Scapegoat

  • Goodwin

    The point is that they’re coming from France which, the last time I looked, wasn’t a war zone. Of course we should be taking refugees from Turkey, Lebanon, Bangladesh or other first point of refuge countries.

    PS Any news on Julian?

      • Caratacus

        Ultimately this is all about numbers. No matter how sympathetic we may be towards those poor folk in countries far worse run than our own (although even that is becoming debatable of late) they number in their millions and as an island nation we cannot physically accept them all. So at what point do we say we cannot accept any more? How many? This is the question that the champions of the refugees, asylum-seekers, illegal immigrants turn away from and refuse to countenance. The likes of Patel and others may be ham-fisted and heartless but in their own way they are attempting to address this question. People who welcome the incomers no matter what their origin or purpose must buckle down and do the same but in a more caring and sympathetic manner.

        • Tom Welsh

          Caratacus is quite right. The UK is, by a conservative estimate, overpopulated by a factor of 4. It could just about sustain 15 million people indefinitely – unless we ran out of some resource that is not currently being considered.

          Under the circumstances, welcoming unlimited numbers of immigrants is rather like treating a patient with pneumonia by waterboarding him.

          That is not to say that we must dismiss all ethical factors without a hearing. Even with our gross overpopulation, we could certainly admit a few people who were really suffering.

          But then the real problem appears: how can we be sure who is deserving and who isn’t? Government and other organisations seem quite unable to make the necessary distinctions, and everything is blurred by politics and ideology.

          • Marmite

            That’s a very twisted way of thinking about things.

            First, you neglect to talk about why there are refugees in the first place. Oh right, something to do with savage British foreign and financial policy. Forgot about that.

            Second, if you want to talk about deserving asylum, well, anyone who condones savaging the British people in the way the Tories have done ought to be treated first as enemies of the state – detained and deported, to make room for decent folk (which, sorry to say, Britain desperately needs, much more than cheap labour).

            Will the real patriots please stand up!

          • Iain Stewart

            « The UK is, by a conservative estimate, overpopulated by a factor of 4. »

            These conservatives do talk such complete nonsense! As Merry Mac used to say, the population of England is very dense.

    • Mighty Druken

      That is no point at all, especially as we are talking about asylum seekers, not all refugees.. Refugees do not need to stop at the first country they find themselves in, there is no law which says that. The EU has its own mechanism to spread around refugees but we are no longer part of the EU.

      The right in the UK has invented a rule where asylum seekers have to stop at the first safe country they find themselves in. This is totally made up.

  • Los

    The sooner Priti Patel cancels her own British Passport and deports herself to Uganda (where she *might* have a right of abode), the better.

  • joel

    “The UK appears more and more shamelessly to proclaim itself as a rogue state. In a sense its position is worse than that of USA exceptionalism”

    Britain is a pirate nation of very longstanding. Modern history’s enslaver, looter and exploiter par excellence. Those pitiless old instincts, honed in the golden age of liberalism, never went away and there is currently revanchist muscle memory. Fortunately the old pirate can no longer do the damage he once did, as evidenced by his efforts in Basra and Helmand. (Having assured Sam that the British Army was the world’s foremost counterinsurgency force …).He will still go through the arrogant old charade of shouting at the PLA and the Red Army but these days will confine his attacks to the most helpless and marginal domestic groups.

    • Goodwin


      “Britain is a pirate nation of very longstanding. Modern history’s enslaver, looter and exploiter par excellence.”

      Strange that a country that is so truly awful attracts so many would-be immigrants (legal and otherwise) and retains so many haters. Clearly there are so many more attractive and tolerant countries you (and they) can go and live in …

      • nevermind

        colonialism is fascismn at heart and if you can’t fathom anything else but getting your murderous own agenda enacted them you do not mind giving terrorists like abu Quatada, Omar Bakri al Mohamed and others more rights and freedom here than any refugees. These well used characters shape todays minds, just ask their partners and handlers in MI5.
        compare that to the treatment of refugees and truth speakers such as Julian Assange, they are tortured by this colonial system.
        Once a pirate always a pirate, bit like the SAS.
        Not many people know of what this calamitous system has produced.
        Godwin is proud of using terrorists to prop up political ambition, abroad and also at home when it suits the meme.

      • joel

        People still come because it is an advanced economy (built on wealth looted from elsewhere). They are generally coming from countries Britain has either recently bombed or historically looted. One reason they are not coming is the tolerance of the Conservative government and its media and supporters.

        • J

          There’s a section in Adam Curtis’ (somewhat flawed but typically provocative) latest work Can’t Get You Out of My Head which answers this question admirably. Answer: Propaganda. They thought they were coming to something resembling the image GB projects of itself. What they found instead was simply the reality.

          • NotARobot

            You are absolutely correct on this, J.
            Let’s ponder over this too one second: as a migrant, you may want to send reassuring news to the ones you left in your country. Those who so often made the financial contribution to your move. At times, it took a whole comunity–if not a small village– to invest on you. Hoping the best for yourself… and hopefully some return and more on their bet to improve their own situation. So your reports may sound like tales of an eden, if only to hide your daily despair and rags and whatever racial confrontation you endure.
            Just breaking my heart.

  • Eric McCoo

    I have enormous sympathy with refugees but none for those who created them. Principally Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Let them go to America.

    The Calais camp clearly showed that Britain was a preferred destination, encouraged by the French. Not for the weather but for the non existent internal security. Stay as long as you want. That is what Patel is addressing.

    FWIW I regard a Patel as a right wing horror, a different kind of horror from the ego inflated SNP leadership many of whom have contempt for their fellow working class citizens.

    • Wolsto

      ‘Stay as long as you want’ is exactly what we should be saying to refugees, according to both international law and our own consciences.

      • CasualObserver

        Do you make any distinction between Refugees, and those who may be coming for economic reasons ? Do you even acknowledge the existence of the latter ?

          • John Monro

            I can’t agree with that. Read the definitions above. There has to be a real risk to life and limb in the country you’re escaping, usually because of your religion, beliefs or being subject to state persecution. There are lots (far too many) of people like this, but economic refugees? There are tens of millions of those. Should someone emigrating to New Zealand to find work or opportunity then be considered a refugee? We face an existential human crisis, related to overpopulation, environmental degradation and social fragility, I am not sure that any country or its citizenry can countenance the thought of how we might accommodate tens of millions, hundred of millions, of displaced or hungry people with any sort of equanimity. Yet I think that will be our unavoidable future.

          • Marmite

            It’s also a distinction based on the most heinous kind of hypocrisy.

            Goods, capital, information, cuture, etc. were all allowed to move around the globe freely. Under globalisation, those things have more freedom than a human being caged in a shipping container. True globalisation, rather than globalisation benefitting global finance only, would require absolute and unconditional liberty.

            Before people talk about these things, and show themselves to be as monstrous as Patel, I suggest they open their eyes and try to use their imagination. They will remember that Britain is no more than a figment of the imagination, and therefore nobody has any more right to it than anyone else.

    • Stevie Boy

      Let’s not forget Bush and Blair – and maybe all those MPs who supported the illegal wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, oh yes and the former Yugoslavia.

      • Eric McCoo

        Stevie Boy (and Wolsto)

        Totally agree. I was referring to recent refugees from Libya and Syria. My point is that

        1. By giving unlimited privileges to refugees we are giving carte blanche to vile American war criminals and their European puppets.

        2. We are supporting vicious, naked class warfare to generate cheap labour for big business. That is the bottom line. The British state has been using the importation of cheap goods and labour to stamp on the poor for at least 200 years. This is such a fundamental tool of oppression that politicians are terrified to oppose it.

  • Micky Scott

    This is one of the real issues that our politicians could be tackling if they weren’t so obsessed about the constitution.

  • Fazal Majid

    “I have seen ministers assert that asylum seekers are obliged to lodge their application at the first place it is safe to do so.”

    Well, that was actually the case when the Dublin III regulation applied (except family reunion had a higher priority), and refugees had to file for asylum in the first EU country they arrived in. But Brexit means this convention is no longer applicable (which is why the Home Office attempted a hugely expensive splurge of deportations just before the transition period expired). Oops!

    That said, there seems to be something sadistic about the middle-class tory-voting English psyche that seems to revel in the suffering of the already miserable, just as for Trump voters the sight of caged children was not a drawback but a positive good to be relished. Priti Patel was specifically chosen for her appeal to such a constituency, and is delivering. Most rich countries engage in almost equally callous policies in practice, but they have at least some residual sense of shame about it.

    • Dan

      No they didn’t, and that’s not what the Dublin agreement stated. It provided a mechanism whereby refugees _could_ upon agreement be returned to another member state which had already recorded the individual. The idea was to avoid having parallel claims being processed within the EU.

      There was never any onus on a refugee to claim status in the first country they came to, this is unfortunately a common misapprehension.

      However, refugees commonly avoided identification or fingerprinting by the police to avoid being registered on the Eurodac database so that they couldn’t get “dublined” back to another EU member state. They will no longer need to worry about that as since brexit we no longer have access to it, or the agreement.

    • TonyN

      Fazal Majid claims:

      “there seems to be something sadistic about the middle-class tory-voting English psyche that seems to revel in the suffering of the already miserable, just as for Trump voters the sight of caged children was not a drawback but a positive good to be relished”

      You word ‘seems’ indicates an imagined vision; a fantasy, which of course is the basis of political onanism.

      • Geoffrey

        Yes, that sentence intrigued me too. I was wondering how he came to this interesting conclusion; does he live amongst this group of disgusting people or does he have friends who know them, or is he one of those very clever people who somehow just knows what other people think.

    • Stewart

      “there seems to be something sadistic about the middle-class tory-voting English psyche”

      To assign guilt or blame to an entire class (or race) of people, with no regard to individual actions or opinions, is the very definition of racism, Fazal.

      The British Empire was not created as the result of some kind of national consensus; it was conceived, planned and executed by a handful of (primarily Norman) aristocratic families. They received almost all of the benefits too, and continue to enjoy them today – tax free – due to the criminal network of tax “havens” and offshore “trusts”.
      Far from being a nation of psychopathic racist slave-owners, the average native Briton has been a slave himself (in all but name) for the last millennium.
      How can it still be the case that people have to waste the best years of their lives “working” to further enrich the already obscenely wealthy, or face homelessness and penury?
      Henry George had the right idea – a man may keep (or sell) the product of his labour, but the land and it’s resources was made by God for everyone. No-one should be able to “own” land, if someone wishes to use some land for an economic purpose, they should pay a commensurate tax into a common treasury. There would be no need for ANY other taxes and it would be impossible for large corporations to “avoid” this tax (you can’t hide land).
      The truth is, mass immigration benefits no-one except the landowners and large employers. As the working population increases, so wages are driven down and the quality of life diminishes as more people are crammed into the “urban plot” (a quaint name for the 6% of available land that the slaves are allowed to rent).
      Yes, people from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa are coming to Europe because of wars and economic exploitation by “the west”, but no sane person in the west agrees with this or votes for it. It is the same elites who are responsible and the same elites who benefit. Over a million British people marched in London in 2003 to protest Britain’s involvement in the tragic “War on Terror” (war IS terror, by the way) but it made not a whit of difference to our masters.
      The media have whipped us into a frenzy of fear and hatred (left against right, black against white, gay against straight etc etc) while the real culprits, who own the media as well, hope they can get away with it for another generation.

      Oh, and there won’t even BE a middle class in a generation, Fazal, because they will have been taxed out of existence.

  • Colin Alexander

    The UK also ratified the UN Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disability UN CRPD in 2009. UK Parliament also enacted the Equality Act 2010, that includes section 149 which imposes a Public Sector Equality Duty to promote equality and foster goodwill between those with disability and those without.

    Yet, Freedom of Information (FOI) responses show that in Scotland around a third of applications, for legal aid founded on Equality Act 2010 (EQA)claims against public bodies (the UK state), resulted in submissions to SLAB from those public authorities opposing legal aid for persons with protected characteristics under the EQA. Not one submission from a public authority has supported the granting of legal aid to promote equality and foster goodwill. FOI requests also show when legal aid applications (for EQA claims) are opposed by public authorities the applications for legal aid are more likely to be refused by SLAB.

    SLAB says its application of the legal aid scheme is legal because this is the way it’s been done since the 1980’s. SLAB also rely on Scottish Parliament secondary legislation from 2007 enabling SLAB to invite legal opponents to make submissions challenging legal aid applications. However, the UN CRPD ratified by the UK in 2009, and the Equality Act 2010, came into effect later. The earlier SLAB regulations take no account of later equality law and the duty to promote equality and access to justice in accordance with the UN CRPD for persons with disability.

    So, despite significant changes in equality law and enhanced right to access to justice for persons with disability in law, SLAB and the Scotland branch of the UK state has continued to deny disabled people legal aid, by applying general regulations to disabled people exactly the same as non-disabled people, resulting in greater disadvantage to those that are disabled (causing inequality).

    Ironically, in Scotland, when the disabled seek protection against discrimination by the state, it is the state’s SLAB who then discriminates against disabled persons’ by violating their right to equal access to justice under the UN CRPD Articles 12 and 13, so enabling other public bodies to continuing discrimination against the disabled with impunity (unless the disabled person can afford to find and hire a solicitor that deals with discrimination; which is a complex area of law which most local solicitors don’t deal with).

  • Stevie Boy

    I believe Patel has a truly evil, psycopathic streak.
    > She was sacked, by Theresa May, for illegal negotiations with the Israeli Government, aiming to provide their Army with tax-payers’ money under the guise of aid. Whilst sucking up to the zionists, she visited illegal Israeli settlements and hospitals where they were treating terrorists wounded in Syria.
    > She toured a notorious police station in Bahrain where rights activists were tortured and raped.
    > She has multiple charges of bullying against her.
    > She has, apparently, instructed civil servants to prepare policy documents for the return of capital punishment in Britain.
    She is an arrogant bully, who supports state-sanctioned torturers and murderers and who appears to be guiding the UK State down the route of her head-chopping buddies.

      • Fazal Majid

        The best way to ensure orders are followed to the letter is to hire true believers who are unlikely to deviate from them, no matter how cruel.

      • nevermind

        thirded Stevie Boy. Looking at her demeanor when she speaks, sometimes bending forward to drive home the point and using her hands/fingers to tell us what she wants to happen.
        Its almost as if she enjoys taking decisions that cause pain to others.

    • DunGroanin

      They recruit them at a early age based on sociopathic tendencies- things like enjoying pulling wings off butterflies- then they hothouse them and plant them in various organisations to fast track them into positions where their tendencies of sociopathy are set loose as the executive officers of the Pathocracy they are the snivelling minions of. Many will not be doing for the rewards or the chance of establishing dynasties. They just love the ability to carry on plucking wings of much bigger prey.

  • Ingwe

    What a miserable, tight fisted, soulless, mean-spirited little country this is!
    When I arrived here from South Africa, at the time of apartheid, I believed that I was coming to a non-racial country, with a reputation for tolerance and generosity. Was I ever wrong! I experienced more racialism here than in SA albeit that it was hidden and something that carried some degree of shame. Points were often made and then excused by the phrase ” I’m not racist but……” and there followed the bullshit explanation/justification for the comment.
    That the UK, with its illegal war strategy of regime change and bombing of Libya, Iraq, Syria and god knows where else, accepts no responsibility for creating situations where people have to leave their countries to avoid the results of UK aggression is a disgrace.
    And before anyone tells me to fuck off back to SA, after what the UK did in supporting apartheid for almost its entire duration, I’ve earned the right to stay here.

    • Stewart

      “What a miserable, tight fisted, soulless, mean-spirited little country this is!”

      Well, hopefully balanced and considered comments such as this will help to make it a little less “miserable” and “mean-spirited”.
      Thanks, Ingwe

  • 6033624

    The policies are malicious and, as they fail to provide any benefit to the country are only aimed at those who are firstly, unaware of this and secondly, racist. This is aimed at dogwhistling racists to vote Tory. Perhaps to prevent them voting Brexit Party or whatever it’s called these days.

    It’s very hard not to demonise Patel. When she speaks of these things she seems to do so with hate in her eyes. She looks and sounds so angry, as though she is personally offended by people coming to the UK in fear of their lives elsewhere.

    • Northern+Sole

      ‘ though she is personally offended by people coming to the UK in fear of their lives elsewhere.” Like her folks did.

      • Bayard

        “The immigrant class can kiss my arse,
        I’ve got the Home Secretary’s job at last”

  • Squeeth

    The proposals will make refugees subject to arbitrary rule like unemployed people. Now you know why Bliar repealed anti-slavery laws. Come back Amon Goeth, all is forgiven.

  • Geoffrey

    Without refugees and other immigrants there would be no Deliveroo, Amazon, Uber etc. and lazy, fat uneducated working class people would have to do our dirty work.

    • bevin

      What a contemptible remark to direct at any group, the fact that you would appear to be sneering at your fellow countrymen simply reminds us of what Tories are all about.

  • Goose

    What do you expect. Patel is just trying to get plaudits from the ‘Hang’ em, Flog ’em’ reactionary membership of the Tory party. She probably has leadership ambitions, heaven forbid! And has watched what pressing the Brexit did for her boss with that membership.

    As for obeying Int. Law, it all went to shit after Blair and Scarlett lied us into an illegal war; one got promoted, both went unpunished and became fabulously wealthy courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

    From WMD to Wonga – as the Independent newspaper so deftly put it.

    How are we supposed to respect any govt agency’s probity after that?

  • Steve

    What is the likely effect on the Catholic Joe Biden of the Pope’s personal letter delivered to Julian Assange’s cell today?

    It may have had an effect on Lula’s release.

  • Ian

    She is a vile and despicable human being. The Home Office is an abomination and doesn’t even make a pretence of living up to its international obligations, or even basic human decency. It should be renamed the Inhuman Office. They are a stain on everything that we once took for granted. I don’t recognise the UK any more, it is has degenerated into a rogue, rightwing tinpot fleabag country.

    • Jimmeh

      The Home Office has been a nasty, repressive, xenophobic institution for as long as I can remember.

      Reid said it was “unfit for purpose”, but the action he took was to hive off the Justice ministry – a tiny part of the Home Office.

      I suspect that novice Home Secretaries are subjected to a solid week of briefings from civil servants, spooks and policemen, telling them that the sky will fall if the Home Office should ever step back from its default posture of fearing everyone. My guess is that somehow, the nastiest, most racist elements of the civil service gravitate to the Home Office, where they find a comfortable, welcoming home. Those elements need to be removed from policy-making, and reassigned to some duty like collating statistics on wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

  • ET

    I watched “Locked In” this evenng. A hard hitting 15 minutes. Pass on my compliments.

    • Shatnersrug

      Seeing as everyone who becomes Home Sec ends up a human hating loon (Jack straw, Patel, May, Blunket to name but a few) you gave to wonder what it is they’re exposed to. Is it the sheer evil of the secret services? Are they told the truth of the heart of darkness at the centre of the UK? Do they learn what it is the police REALLY do? Is it the power?

      It’s certainly a strange role.

      • Goose

        She gets to sign off on surveillance requests too. Can you imagine the conversation in the Home Office….

        Nervous official : They want you to authorise the whole lot Minister.

        Patel : Every device a family own, a street, a town?

        Official : No Minister, *coughs* the whole…pauses… the whole UK.

        Minister : *quick scribble of signature* There done!!

        Do you reckon she applies due diligence to her role and takes into account respect for civil liberties and human rights? There is supposed to be process where commissioners have to also agree, but who would oppose the allegedly quick to anger, shouty Patel?

        What as a society, have we done to deserve these types of people in power. Because the same was true under Nu Labour.

        • Goose

          Not as far fetched as it sounds. Barely reported but a couple of weeks ago this came out:

          It mentions the Home Office. Regardless of any potential utility to law enforcement, where are citizens rights in this proto western-Stasi-esque police state they’re seeking to create?

          When people pay their increasingly expensive ISP bills they don’t want these along for the ride.

          • Goose

            These ICRs (connection records) can be accessed without a warrant and occurs regardless of whether or not you’re suspected of a crime.

            As metadata it’s deemed not to be actual ‘content’.

            It’s still a deeply pernicious, privacy infringing development. Johnson is a liberal PM they say? /S

            Why don’t these ISPs collectively object? This isn’t China,… yet. But it could become like that if there is no reaction.

      • Stewart

        Yes, it’s almost as if they’re just bought-and-paid-for sock puppets, reading from a script that someone else wrote.


    I have long felt a degree of shame in being British, and would change nationality if I could.

    I am now thoroughly ashamed Ms Patel is British. She is an evil piece of work lacking in all humanity. If hell exists she will go there when she dies.

  • Frank Owen

    Abstracting from considerations on which States are, in general, more or less virtuous in terms of following ‘international law/conventions’, of whether the Nuremberg trials represented anything more than naked ‘victor’s justice’, of whether the ICC represents anything more than the strong impeaching the (relatively) weak, and so on, the basic question remains: why are economic migrants consistently conflated with genuine asylum seekers?

    There seem to be only two possible answers: it is either incidental (a product of ignorance) or deliberate. If the latter, the next question then becomes: why would certain individuals dissemble in this way? The answer has economic, political and ideological aspects.


    The countries to which these economic migrants are headed, the ‘West’, have a general demographic/pensions problem. Neo-liberal economists have therefore advocated mass migration to ‘solve’ both simultaneously. In strictly economic terms, and ignoring any possible political and/or cultural ‘blow-back’, in under-populated countries this makes sense. It does not make sense in over-populated countries.

    How is the optimal population of any particular land mass defined. Simply as the maximum population that can self-sustainably feed, clothe and in every other way fundamental for life survive into the next year, and so on. An obvious statement for those who have taken secondary school geography, but not for The Migratory Observatory ( ‒ part of Oxford University that now believes that musical notation is “racist” ( ‒ who claim that there is no objective definition of optimal population! Moving swiftly on and avoiding eye contact, this means that the UK is currently 40-50% over-populated.

    How did this over-population arise? From the end of the feudal period until the mechanisation of warfare in the late-19th century, participation in Continental squabbles required not only a constant stream of human cannon fodder but also increasing numbers of bodies providing the infrastructure of conflict from the basis of a profoundly inefficient economy. It is for this reason that there were fears of both oak and population ‘gaps’ between the major ‘players’. While mechanisation reduced the need for such population levels to support overseas aggression in the 20th century, improvements in health meant that what was by now an over-population never ‘self-adjusted’.


    Two factors at play here: potential future votes and cheap, hopefully non-union, labour for their pals in business.


    Surprisingly, this is an own goal by the “Left”. Following the failure of the post-1917 revolutionary movements in Europe, the group of theorists that have become known as the Frankfurt School, together with others such as Gramsci, turned their attention away from the economic and towards the cultural. As this strand of “anything but Marxism” philosophy developed post-WW2 outside France, within France itself, existentialism was superseded by (Kantian) structuralism (thus, another “anything but Marxism” philosophy) from the mid-1950s onwards. By the late-1960s, these two reactionary tendencies had, from different angles, caused complete theoretical chaos on the “Left”, leading in the case of the former to today’s “identity politics” and in the case of the latter to the relativism and nihilism of “post-structuralism”.

    • bevin

      ” the basic question remains: why are economic migrants consistently conflated with genuine asylum seekers?”

      Because in most cases they are indistinguishable – the UK, for example, insisted on the destruction of the economies of the Baltic states thus forcing millions to look for work elsewhere. At the same time the UK bombed Iraq, invaded Afghanistan and Libya, sponsored terrorist militias in Syria and, inter alia, assisted in the Saudi-UAE war against Yemen (space does not allow mere economic sanctions to be listed, suffice it to say that whenever an Iranian factory closes or a Russian loses his job Downing St chalks another victory up). This may help explain not only the millions of refugees looking for asylum but why they head for the places they believe that their suffering comes from.

      “How did this over-population arise? From the end of the feudal period until the mechanisation of warfare in the late-19th century, participation in Continental squabbles required not only a constant stream of human cannon fodder >>”

      Not in Britain which relied heavily on naval power and colonial manpower for its rare essays onto the Continent after 1763.

      • Bluedotterel

        Bevin is correct. Most of the economic refugees in the world are created by Western foreign policies and their corporate and financial looting of the refugee’s home country. If the countries resist, they are subject to colour “revolutions” and/or mass bombings. Yet, it is the Western governments and their citizens who object when the people they have deliberately displaced come knocking on their door. Essentially, these are political refugees created by the neoliberal economic policies of the West.

        • Marmite

          Yes, that’s right. There is no such thing as a refugee. She or he is created. Shoudn’t need to read Zygmunt Bauman to know that either. But many lack intuition, sadly.

    • Frank Owen

      bevin & Bluedotterel

      There are two separate questions here: the one that you have both addressed (what causes economic migration/asylum seeking) and the one that I was addressing (why are economic migrants consistently conflated with genuine asylum seekers).

      As you both correctly state, the ‘logic’ of Capitalism (the constant need to expand the circulation of capital) has led, in successive stages and centuries from 16th century mercantilism through to 21st century ‘globalism’, to the economic exploitation, physical repression and ecological degradation of vast swathes of the planet. The resulting material richness of the ‘West’, in contrast to the general poverty of the periphery, has therefore (especially since the advent of the Internet) proved an irresistible (and understandable) magnet for the ‘dispossessed’.

      A correct answer is a correct answer, but it was not to the question that I asked!

      As well as the ‘logic’ of almost continual internal/external warfare since the Roman invasion, the UK’s current over-population also stems from the technological advances of, first, the Agricultural Revolution and, secondly, the Industrial Revolution. The labour surplus produced by the former was absorbed until recently by the latter but, as technological innovation advances at an ever-increasing pace, this is no longer the case. Also, while in the case of both revolutions (as in warfare, natch) the manual working class bore the brunt of the pain and the intellectual working class/”middle class” boomed in both number and economic position, this is no longer the case: AI threatens both manual and intellectual labour now, hence the “hollowing-out of the middle” that Marx predicted 150 years ago and which liberal economists are only now “discovering”.

      At the economic level, capitalists have seen an ‘opportunity’ in the disruption caused by their system: cheap labour. At the political level, politicians have seen ‘opportunities’ in the disruption caused by their war-mongering on behalf of capitalists: votes, plus dividing the manual working class amongst themselves along race/religious/cultural grounds. At the ideological level, post-1917 Western philosophy, as well as polluting the academy and directly causing and rationalising the devastating drop in educational standards since the mid-1960s, has percolated down to “street level” via hacks with 3rd-class degrees (let’s be honest, who with a 1st goes into “journalism”?).

      The cumulative result? The ill-educated “Left” (see Frédéric Lordon’s recent demolition of Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital and Ideology’ ‒ now bats for Capitalism by supporting open borders for capital, goods and services, and labour-power/”people” under the banner of “woke virtue”.

      It’s almost ‘funny’ in that “If I don’t laugh I’ll cry” sort of way.

      • Frank Owen

        Would it be churlish of me to add that, when even Tucker Carlson understands that identity politics is a con to divide and divert people from analysing society in class terms (he has riffed on this theme several times over the past year), a fact that the “Left” still doesn’t grasp, any pretense of there remains a viable, true Left opposition to Capitalism is a sick joke.

  • J Arther Nast

    off topic ,but brief. I came upon this, referance Sunday Mirror Front Page Johnson ex, tell all…
    “The BBC has a Sunday morning politics programme presented by Andrew Marr,during which he holds up all The Sunday papers and reads out the front page story from sach. Except yesterday for some reason he did all the Sunday papers except the Sunday Mirror. .BBC self censoring to not show the government in a bad light at is best” Hat tip to John A.
    So Marr is even more complicit than was previously thought.

  • Giyane

    Anybody who thought( including the Kurds ) that covert operations to trash the Middle East for the sole benefit of Israel and Zionism, creating millions of refugees and fitna ( lawlessness ) was social work, had obviously got the wrong idea.

    When a British Home Secrrtary cuts foreign aid and blocks those refugees, it’s not malice,, it’s just a statement that mission accomplished, and no more crocodile tears needed. “. answer came there none, and that was scarcely odd, because they’d eaten every one ”
    Henry Kissinger, Zionist imperialist and Lewis Carroll, . dry satirist at the height of the Victorian British empire.
    As we know from Craig’s impending prison sentence, the one thing imperialists of all kinds , Islamists, Zionists or Protestant work ethicists , can. not .stand. is satire. Squash!. Another worm of left-wing philanthropy has been crushed for speaking out against absolute tyranny. ( it was a necessary evil at the time, like Robespierre’s crushing of the Hueguenots ). look where that got France. ( chief parrot on Captain Pugwash’s shoulder in the EU.
    I love my VW, because it still thank God , works perfect after doing 218,000 miles.)

    Imperialism is never driven by malice, oh no! only by religious zeal. However it is intellectually possible to be both religious and anti- Imperialist. BUT, the imperialists will only achieve this by projecting all THEIR malice onto YOU. You contemptuous , misogynist, inconsiderate of other people’s feelings , little worm ! Die in jail.

  • stuart mctavish

    Presumably the psychos you are referring to are permanent employees at the home office of the type that the beautiful Pritti Pattel has been accused of bullying and, as such, must still be big pussy cats compared to whoever, by accident or design, managed to create the problem in first place.

    Of which, now that ISP has withdrawn, and depending on your negotiations with the Alba party, is there still time to celebrate draconian lockdowns with a political prisoner of conscience party? The interview you had with Tommy Sheridan a few weeks ago seemed to conclude that being in prison was no barrier to candidacy in a Scottish election and Julian Assange on both constituency (eg v Justice Secretary, or even v the labour leader in Scotland) and list would not only draw further attention to his plight, but any seat won in the chamber would help remind an overwhelmingly independently minded majority of the fundamental principles that must always lie behind any of its priorities.

    • giyane

      stuart mctavish

      All imperialisms have a clean end, trade, justice, church, and a dirty end, politicians , newspapers, BBC propaganda and wrong analysis. Just because the Scottish Labour Leader is operating on the clean end, trade, does not mean that he is not wearing Islamist/ zionist/Empire2 British underpants like his boss Sir Keith. Before you ask how I could think such a sordid , racist thought, does not our very own Queen Elizabeth 2 wear her military medals clamped firmly to her knickers like supenders , out of sight?

      40 years of continuous war, starting with Yugoslavia, using Al Qaida, and her Majesty no longer needs to declare her Al Queenida regiments. Our armed forces are { most definitely not } being cut, just diverted to Al Qaida and its buddiesin Mozambique.They are fully programmed and payrolled, ready to extend Great Britain’s blah blah fortunes once more my friends into the Indo Pacific breach. Myanmar probably in a about 2 weeks, judging by the BBC outrage. The scruffy blonde is relishing getting his teeth into his second war.
      The first one being Theresa May’s sallies into Syria from ships in the Med, which were instantly shot down by Russian air defences, so that war only lasted 5 minutes. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes China’s air defences to obliterate Rah Rah’s outrageous fortune in having a third battlefield to glory over, the second one having been the war against Covid.

      As to political populist tools going to prison, many agents of Al CIAda, Al Queenida and PrittiPatelida, have been sent to prison, only to crawl out of the blankets for recycling by British libertarian clemency. Craig, so far as I know, is not a tool of any -ism, especially not Scottish devolutionism. I strongly suspect that the day he sets foot in prison the Scottish Police will find it necessary to confiscate his computers on the imputation of political subversion and malice, and not being a tool to anybody, except his wife, hence lovely little Oscar, baby born.

      All politics is disgusting, and imho Craig is well out of it while the Lord Advocate is still torturing his scapegoat. An existing den of thieves would never fight clean. Far from it. It sounds like D’Hondt is smoke and mirrors and Craig is the opposite of that. The age of Gawain and the Green Knight is not over. The age of chivalry when you had to pin a piece of her majesty’s privy garter onto your armour and fight for that. Leave that sordid spectacle to the SNP trolls, Murrell and Wolffe.

      • Kerchee Kerchee Coup

        Could the Johnson really be relishing the thought of a Randolph rather than a Winston Churchill role in Burma? Perhaps a better character match.

        • Wikikettle

          So upsetting to read, know and be continually reminded of the misery that our leaders justify and keep feeding. Wanting to belong to a community, a region, a country and a look up to a fluttering flag in a just and clear breeze.

        • Giyane

          Kerchee kerchee coup

          Voltairenet has an article on Johnson’s First Lithium War. That proves categorically that this Tory government regard this world with calculating contempt.

          Obviously Boris dresses his politics in flowers. He loves the EU. He loves China.
          Is he daft enough to test the waters of Chinese willingness to fight over Myanmar? Yes, and his shagged-out eyebrows show he is under intense pressure at the moment. He should beaming with joy about covid vaccinations. Instead he looks completely wanked out.

          So No. Boris is not the man who will do WW3 this week in Burma. Maybe it has even vaguely dawned on him that Empire2 is jingoistic tripe.

  • Disquieted Citizen

    Until reading this I had no idea the SNP was trying to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    I will never again support that party after their performance in the last year.
    However, has everyone forgotten that the parents of Alfie Evans, desperate to have proper diagnosis, and treatment for their son, which was not being given in the Liverpool Hospital to which they had brought him for help, were REFUSED the return of their child by the Court? Alfie Evans was condemned to die in that hospital because, the Court determined that under the terms of that same UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the hospital was given charge of the child by the parents when they brought him for treatment, and the hospital had to agree to release him, which it refused to do.
    He died in custody, yet no post mortem was carried out, the Coroner failing in his duty under the law.
    We live in a completely corrupt political, legal, and medical system. I care very little about the reputation of this government, whether in London or Edinburgh or internationally. Their moral standing will not improve without overt moral sense. Very few of our representatives in Parliament have any, and if they do, they do not act on it.

    • Wikikettle

      The Coroner is THE guarantor of State Power. His appointment must be “approved”.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I think the difficulty is the scale of immigration since 1997, Mr Murray. It really has got beyond a joke how the UK is becoming the United Nations of asylum seekers, refugees and economic migrants.

    The reason is obvious, our welfare system is extremely generous compared to most other places, which means that the UK pays not only more per immigrant (be they economic migrants, refugees or asylum seekers) but pays for many more immigrants too.

    The fact is that the UK is now deeply impoverished and technically insolvent, yet still seems to think it has noblesse oblige to the rest of the world.

    Talking about GDP is irrelevant. The only relevant figure is the solvency of the state that has to pay for the inward bound foreigners, and I think we can all agree that, even before Covid, the UK has been technically insolvent since 2008. The Government refuses to raise enough taxes to pay its way and debt levels were already beyond a joke even before Johnson and Hancock went on the world’s biggest credit card shopping spree in UK history.

    Bottom line, if interest rates ever go back up again, the UK will be begging to either the IMF or the Sino equivalent thereof. We are bankrupt in all but name.

    Also, there is a very large rump of very, very poor people who were born here who quite legitimately feel that they should be prioritised over bringing in yet more immigrants. If we can’t even house, feed and educate our own people properly, what are we doing welcoming millions more in?

    None of what I say is racist, it is a calm expression of facts that far too many people are not prepared to debate like adults.

    If it offends certain people’s sense of values, there is a simple solution: they can spend their own money supporting immigrants, they can set up charities for others to pool their resources into supporting immigrants and, by doing so, they can assuage their own consciences without demanding that the Government spend billions of money it cannot afford.

    Let me be clear: I am stridently opposed to Johnson spending a single penny on more nuclear weapons and submarines. It is a global disgrace that he has done so and the Civil Servants who recommended it should have their pensions raided to pay for it. Until the gross dereliction of public duty by highly paid civil servants is punished with a total loss of pension, this kind of nonsense will continue. Spend that money instead on housebuilding, education for the U5s and promoting a life of healthy exercise, healthy diet and healthy relationships.

    But it is not racist to say that population stability is a primary goal of a country with a population density that the UK currently has.

    If Scotland wants to repopulate the highlands with immigrants, good luck to you. I think the landowners might have something to say about it.

    But the SE of England is already grossly over-populated and, before Covid19, the whole of London’s transport system was creaking under the strain of a twice daily mass migration.

    Perhaps the compromise should be a new law saying that future immigrants to the UK are only allowed to migrate to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland?!

    And perhaps if we left NATO and stopped supporting the never-ending US warmongering all over the world, the support of US-friendly dictators (like in Uzbekistan) etc etc, we wouldn’t get so many people fleeing their own lands to come over here.

    There certainly wouldn’t have been millions trying to leave Syria if the West hadn’t been hell bent on regime change….

    • Tony

      Rhys, I wonder how many Scots voters see ‘independence’ as a means of solving the immigration problem you outline so clearly.

      Given the misanthropy directed at even the nearest neighbours ( e.g. English, Welsh and NI folk), it appears that Scots are plainly NOT in favour of immigration, and so I suspect a majority.

      So, IF immigration into the UK could be brought under control, would that not reduce the ‘independence’ vote? As with the fake ‘IndyRef2’ policy, could this also be a driver for the SNP to join Libdem/Green/Socialist in cries AGAINST stiffer immigration controls?

      Could we now see that the SNP, after the astonishing recent exercise of anti-democratic power, are really aiming at totalitarianism?

      And, given the fact that the SNP government is an inevitable consequence of the ‘Indy’ movement, maybe the whole ‘Indy -at-all-costs’ thing could now be seen as fundamentally anti-democratic, and so one could forecast the Scots voting another IndyRef majority in favour of the Union?

      In a nutshell, isn’t the Indy-ideology placing Independence above Democracy? If there is one certainty, it is that the majority of Scots are not stupid, and when the real choices are outlined, they will vote with sense rather than with sensibility, as they did with Indy1.

    • DunGroanin


      And the 5 million HongKongese invited to become asylum seekers/refugees by this BrexShit Government?

      Happy with that are you?

      And what is it with this pseudo Eugenicist hillocks about over-population? When clearly it is over consumption and environmental pollution by same few that has always been the problem.

      You just want to keep their exceptionality secure?

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