Monday, 30 April 2018

Honesty in Politics

After weeks of clinging on Amber Rudd has finally resigned her post as Home Secretary! Her reason was that she inadvertently misled the Commons by denying that there were quotas for “illegal” migrants.

She should have also apologized for being incompetent and for supporting such outrageous policies in the first place.

Assuming that Rudd didn't know and approve of what was being done in her own department, soon after the stories in the press about the difficulties experienced by the Windrush migrants started to appear, anyone with an iota of humanity and empathy would have investigated and carpeted the Home Office civil servants concerned. To ask individuals who arrived as children to now prove that they have the right to live, work, rent a flat and get medical treatment in the UK or face deportation is outrageous. To set Kafkaesque requirements for documentation that officials know has been destroyed, or is impossible to obtain, such as to require four pieces of documentary evidence for each year since they arrived in the UK as children is preposterous, cruel and designed so that the applicant will fail to prove their right to remain. But Amber Rudd doesn’t seem to have any empathy, neither does Theresa May, whose policies to create a hostile environment for migrants, developed when she was Home Secretary, are at the root of the whole scandal.

But as well as being responsible for the formulation and application of such inhumane policies, both May and Rudd appear to be seriously lacking in the politicians’ basic skills of keeping in touch with public opinion and reacting appropriately. As late as two weeks ago May was refusing to see Commonwealth leaders to discuss the sorry affair!  They both thought that public opinion would back their hard line stance, but there is still a sense of decency left in the nation.

May demonstrated that she was out of touch with the real world during the last election campaign so I suppose that we should not be surprised that she continues to do so. As for Rudd, who was being touted as a future party leader, her performance has disappointed the more liberal wing of the Tory Party and outraged members of the public including myself. The current leaders of the UK, which was once known for its tolerance, justice and fair play are responsible for destroying that reputation with a series of badly conceived, populist and racist policies.

It’s time that May dropped her unrealistic immigration targets and admitted that her policies are misguided and their execution cruel. The Brexiteers' lies about migrants and tabloid hysteria; together with genuine concern about the pressure on public services caused by savage Tory spending cuts on schools, the NHS, local authorities and their social care budgets, have created the conditions for May’s "hostile environment" policies. History has shown us that it’s always easy to blame foreigners, or people with a different skin colour or religion, for your own home-grown problems: but it's not too late for some honesty in politics and a new more humane way forward for the Tory party. Otherwise the tag line “The Nasty Party” will stick to them until the next election!