Heroes: You Reap What You Sow
‘Just a perfect day, feed animals in the zoo
Then later, a movie too and then home’
Poor old Rishi he hasn’t had a perfect day, but then as the song says ‘….you’re going to reap just what you sow’.
We start with Rishi’s key immigration policy to ‘stop the boats‘ by deporting people seeking asylum to Rwanda, which has been rejected by the supreme court, the UK’s highest court.
The Five judges unanimously upheld an appeal court ruling that found there was a real risk of deported refugees having their claims in the east African country wrongly assessed or being returned to their country of origin to face persecution.
The issue before the court today was; does the UK have the right to place refugees – people who have fled war, persecution, torture or worse – at risk of being sent back to the countries they fled?
The judges were clear: no, it does not.
Despite what right-wing politicians and their fawning media will shout, this isn’t only because of the European convention on human rights or its UK counterpart, the Human Rights Act. The judges stressed that a whole set of international treaties, including the UN Refugee Convention, as well as multiple UK laws on asylum and immigration, prohibit the practice, which is known officially as refoulement (the act of forcing a refugee to return to a place from which he or she is seeking asylum).
The government claimed that there was no risk of refoulement in its deal, saying that Rwanda, which would take responsibility for processing people’s asylum claims, could be trusted to give asylum-seekers a fair hearing – and not to send them back to countries where their lives were at risk. The British and Rwandan governments had signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’, a non-legally binding document, in which Rwanda promised to treat people fairly. Added to which were ‘financial incentives’, such as a £140m bung to the Rwandan government, to ensure it complied, along with a ‘monitoring’ arrangement.
The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, had submitted evidence on behalf of the asylum-seekers challenging the policy, raising serious concerns about safety in Rwanda. The country has a poor human rights record in general. Rwanda’s asylum system has a history of poor decision-making, wrongly rejecting refugees from some of the world’s most dangerous war zones.
‘Rwanda’s asylum system has a history of poor decision-making, wrongly rejecting refugees from some of the world’s most dangerous war zones’
These risks have been known to the government ever since it cooked-up the plan to deport asylum seekers to a ‘safe third country’, as a way of deterring small boats Channel crossings, back in the autumn of 2020. Rwanda, according to a September 2020 diplomatic telegram from the British embassy in Kigali, had a poor ‘human rights story’; opposition activists had been disappeared or killed. ‘Our recommendation … would be not to pursue Rwanda as an option,’ the embassy had warned in early 2021.
The governments, or more specifically the Tory hard-right have reacted to the ruling in true fashion, hitting-out at everyone and anything, and threating all sorts of unjustifiable, undemocratic, and unlawful threats.
I have selected the party’s vice-chair who has a thuggish approach to, well, everything, really.
Lee Anderson described the Supreme Court judgment as a ‘dark day for the British people’ and said ministers should ‘just put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda’.
‘It’s time for the Government to show real leadership and send them back, same day. I think we should ignore the laws and send them straight back the same day.’
Word of wisdom from a true parliamentarian in a supposedly democratic country. He, and his type need to understand the constitution; parliament and the law are there to provide a check and balance on the government, without which we would descend into the realms of dictatorship, which is precisely what Anderson and his sort want.
In place of parliament and the court they cite the will of the people, just as Anderson did; ”I think the British people have been very patient, I’ve been very patient, and now they’re demanding action…’
To conclude, Sunak isn’t a fool, and clearly that hard-right tail is wagging the dog. Rather than facing the fact that this is unworkable, the government is going to try fudging the issue, by concluding a new treaty with Rwanda via emergency legislation deeming the country ‘safe‘, and the flights could then begin.
Their belief is that these changes will the proposal to comply with the ruling.
This is just wishful thinking, in reality the changes they propose are far from easy, driven by the situation in Rwanda. Any new arrangement would come before courts that would be bound by this week’s ruling.
This also applies to the Brexit fantasists who see the answer being withdrawing from the ECHR, or annulling the UK Human Rights Act, would magically permit the UK to put the Rwanda policy into practice. The supreme court made it clear that this would not change the legal grounds that would apply in future cases.
‘I think we should ignore the laws and send them straight back the same day’
Theresa May was correct when she told Cleverly yesterday that the supreme court’s judgment was not rooted in the European convention. Instead, the Europhobic hard-right of the Tory party, along with their fawning media see this as and the right-wing press will not listen to what they do not want to hear. They will turn this whole episode into an opportunity to revive the Brexit spirit by laying the blame on Europe and revisiting ‘taking back control‘
The failure of the Rwanda scheme brings me neatly back to Suella Braverman whose dreamed of its success, along with ridding us of those unnecessary homeless types who just clutter-up the streets.
Given that she is the child of immigrants I have always found her attitude toward immigration distasteful. She has compared migrants to a hurricane, and her every word seems designed to foment racism, division and hate.
Whilst Suella might should louder and longer, she is hardly alone in her views.
The newly anointed Lord Cameron of austerity and misery wasn’t the nice guy that ‘call me dave’ tried to portray. Aside from managing to destroy much of the social fabric of the country, and being the catalyst for Brexit, he was equally adept at scapegoating migrants. Twelve years ago, he declared ‘for too long immigration has been too high‘ and that migrants’ failure to integrate had provoked ‘discomfort and disjointedness‘ in communities. His immigration minister, James Brokenshire, declared that ‘uncontrolled, mass immigration makes it difficult to maintain social cohesion, puts pressure on public services and forces down wages.’
‘Lord Cameron of austerity and misery wasn’t the nice guy that ‘call me dave’ tried to portray’
This was right of out of fascism populism’s playbook; his big policy, austerity, was an unmitigated disaster so find a convenient scapegoat; immigrants.
Whilst Braverman decries protestors as ‘hate marchers‘, Cameron denunced Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party as ‘security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating‘.
Then we have the vicars daughter, Theresa May, who, despite the fact that we are equal in the eyes of god, who seemed to be consistently antagonised by anyone settling here from abroad. Her ‘citizen of nowhere‘ speech in 2016 being a good example.
Then there is Boris Johnson, who compared Muslim women to letterboxes and robbers, leading to a surge in hate crimes Indeed, Johnson’s Islamophobic comments and support for Brexit led far-right extremists to begin chanting Johnson’s name with affection, and even won the approval of people such as Tommy Robinson and the extremists of Britain First. It’s a reasonable bet that this mob congregated at the cenotaph, encouraged by Suella’s divisive rhetoric.
Lastly, hopefully, we have Sunak, who’s politics are to the right of Johnson. He seems fixated with demonising trans people, perhaps he has latent tendencies? Green policies clearly aren’t his things. And he seems happy to endorse Israel’s conduct in Gaza. He might be more polished and considered in his comments, but the underlying intent and message are little different.
Another of Sunak pledges, halving the rate of inflation came true this week with the annual rate falling to 4.6%, on the back of cheaper gas and electricity, its lowest level for two years.
It is important to stress that doesn’t mean prices are falling, merely increasing at a slower rate. However, the does help to ease fears that the BoE will continue to increase interest rates.
A triumphant PM said: ‘In January I made halving inflation this year my top priority … Today, we have delivered on that pledge.’
There’s only snag, he didn’t!
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, this caused disruption to oil and natural gas supplies across Europe, with prices for natural gas surging to 10x their pre-invasion level, causing inflation to reach to 40-year highs in Britain and for other heavy users of natural gas such as Germany. But as the initial shock wore off and energy prices started to come down from the middle of last year, overall inflation everywhere has started to fall.
The policy that most affected UK inflation, was the energy price guarantee, which capped the price faced by households for their energy use. The OBR thinks this initiative cut peak level inflation by 2.5 percentage points. But the guarantee was introduced by the much-maligned Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng. Sunak and his chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, have steadily reduced its level of support as global energy prices have fallen.
For most people real wages and salaries are barely rising, and are still lower than they were two years ago. Interest rate rises have yet to hit borrowers fully, with 2.4m fixed-rate deals still to expire between now and the end of 2024.
‘the price of food was about 30% higher than it was in October 2021’
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the price of food was about 30% higher than it was in October 2021.
Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) charity finds that C.2m UK households have been forced to turn off their fridge or freezer to save money as they continue to struggle with what poverty campaigners called a ‘frightening‘ level of hardship.
Almost 50% of those households said that since May they had to disconnect their fridge or freezer for the first time, a sign the cost of living crisis was still hurting low-income families.
Millions of families were still resorting to ‘desperate measures‘ to cope with rising bills and prices, it said, with four out of five households on universal credit also going without food, turning off the heating, and not replacing worn-out clothing.
The Resolution Foundation, in its annual ‘intergenerational audit‘, which compares the fortunes of millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) – with their predecessors, including Generation X, (born between 1966 and 1980), found that after the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession, the long-running pattern that had seen young people earn more on average than their parents at the same stage of life had been broken.
‘the long-running pattern that had seen young people earn more on average than their parents at the same stage of life had been broken’
‘Millennials born in the late 1980s earned, on average, 8% less at age 30 than their counterparts from the Generation X cohort when they were the same age,’ the report said.
In the US, by contrast, millennials in their early 30s in 2021 were earning 21% more in real terms than people in the same age group were in 2007. In the UK, however, incomes were still 1% lower for this group than for 30-34-year-olds 15 years earlier.
Sophie Hale, the thinktank’s principal economist, said: ‘Young people across advanced economies were hit by the financial crisis, putting a stop to decades of progress. Fifteen years on, this ‘crisis cohort’ are no longer young. And while many US millennials have bounced back, their counterparts in Britain are still wearing economic scars as they approach middle age.’
Whist this article might appear somewhat disjointed this is deliberate as the intent was to show the governments, and the Tories misaligned priorities.
People’s real concern is their own wellbeing, this centres around health and wealth
The Tories might claim that their policies address wealth, and indeed they do, but it’s the wealth of the few at the expense of the majority. An example of this is amending IHT: for the majority this is a non-issue, for the minority it’s a major benefit.
Braverman might have exited stage left, but her policies and attitude is at the core of modern Toryism. Her colleagues may seek more subtlety, but the content remains the same. Bravermanism encapsulates where the Tories are, for all the window-dressing it’s just a rerun of the hard-right politics of the 1930’s. All that is missing are the black shirts.
‘Just ’cause you don’t know you’re racist
A bigot with a check list’
Never a dull moment in British politics, and a cracking piece from Philip:
Rishi isn’t having a good time, is he?
The veneer is coming off, the Tories are at war.
The camps are the story of two walls; the blue wall is the “One Nation Tories”, educated and shocked by the racism and bigotry they are seeing, the red wall is the hard-right “five families” causing all the trouble.
The return of David Cameron symbolises this, bought back in an attempt to mollify the blue wall. Whereas, the right view this move as regressive; “the politics of yesterday”, according to the former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
“David has to say very early on that he accepts Brexit because otherwise the suspicion is that somehow he’s going to be close to the EU,” Kwarteng told GB News. “He’s got to do a speech or say something to signal that he’s accepted Brexit,” he added, saying that the Conservative party was “in a very difficult place now” because of divisions.
“Essentially you’re bringing back someone who has been off the bench for seven years and actually David Cameron symbolises the politics that was very much of yesterday: he hasn’t been in government for seven years.”
Even before the supreme court ruled the government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as unlawful, discontent was rife.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, commenting on James Cleverley succeeding Braverman as home secretary, told BBC Two’s Newsnight: “In the public mind she was in favour of controlling migration and being tough on crime and dealing with marches that were intimidating people. The prime minister has now put himself on the side of not controlling migration and not being tough on crime. For a Conservative minister that is a strange position to be in.”
Another Tory MP, Andrea Jenkyns, published a formal letter of no confidence in the prime minister on Monday. A noted supporter of Boris Johnson who served as schools minister under Liz Truss, she tweeted her letter to the party’s backbench 1922 Committee, saying: “Enough is enough … It is time for Rishi Sunak to go and replace him with a ‘real’ Conservative party leader.”
For once Andrea is correct, enough is enough. It’s time the Tories were consigned to the annals of history.
Musically we open with “Prefect Day” by Lou Reed, just for Rishi. And for all those right-wing racists we have “Racists” by Anti-Flag. Enjoy!
Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s