The Tory government’s plan to deport refugees to Rwanda has been criticised for many things – not least of all the policy’s abject lack of humanity. Looking at Labour’s response, however, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the issue is that the Tories haven’t deported anyone yet:
Rwanda: the great distraction
Before we get into this, there’s a couple of points to be made about the government/media focus on immigration, both in terms of refugees and people who – for some unimaginable reason – want to live in Britain – a.k.a. ‘dog shit island’ – a.k.a. the birthplace of the world’s most moaniest cunts.
While immigration and refugees are distinct issues, they’re treated as being the same thing in the media because the people who get het up see the as the same thing – i.e. foreign invaders who want to steal the culture we barely have.
Point one is that the worse the cost of living crisis becomes, the more immigration in all its forms becomes an issue. Rarely do you look at the newspaper front pages without it being among the biggest stories of the day. Despite this – in my own experience – I’ve heard a lot less from people about immigration in real life.
At the same time, I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation in which the cost of living didn’t come up. In other words, it seems quite clear that the noise over immigration is to some degree an effort to distract people from the abysmal state of their lives. Don’t believe me? Then explain the next point.
The Tories have been in power for nearly 14 years, and despite their constant, public criticism of immigration, the figures have reached their highest point ever. Given that the Tories could have cut immigration at any point, the only realistic conclusion is that they haven’t wanted to.
Even the Tories need immigration
There are good reasons why they wouldn’t want to cut immigration under our current economic system – chiefly the reliance businesses have on people who’ll work for cheap, and the pension systems’ inability to function if the number of retired people falls out of balance with the number of working aged adults.
While refugees are a different thing to immigration, the visibility of people entering the UK on dinghies is more pronounced, and the Tories have seemingly focussed on it to distract from the ‘legal’ migration they’ve failed to align with their supposed ambitions.
The problem the Tories have made for themselves is that they’ve made immigration such an issue that they can’t get away with talking out of both sides of their mouth any longer. For those who care, nothing less than walling the entire country off will do, and so the Tories are becoming increasingly extreme in their public displays of anti-immigration rhetoric – whether its deporting refugees to Rwanda or putting a hard cap on authorised migration.
What the opposition should be doing is explaining the reality of the situation – namely that refugees are human beings who deserve care, and that if this country wants to continue with all this capitalism malarkey then we need to keep feeding working aged people into the system (that or implement an economic system which isn’t reliant on the majority of adults working themselves to the bone).
Instead, Labour are following the Starmer strategy of agreeing with everything the Tories say besides their ability to deliver on their horrible policy platform.
People had broadly similar criticisms of Labour’s stance (‘stance’ might be too strong a word, to be fair – it’s more a case of ‘fence-sitting with vaguely insinuated purpose’):
Some questioned the party’s humanity:
The Green Party’s Zack Polanski said:
Actress and write Nadine Barr said this (while it feels like an age ago, Starmer’s praise of Margaret Thatcher was actually only the other week):
Labour for Rwanda?
The big question now is what will Labour do in power?
The problem with questions is that the Labour Party are seldom willing to answer them:
So, Labour will replace the policy with something else, but they won’t say what – only that their priority is on efficiency. In a sensible world, this would mean replacing it with a policy with some humanity to it; the worry is that Labour will instead find a way of cramming twice as many refugees on to every deportation plane.
Featured image via Ciphr – Flickr (cropped to 770 x 403)