All 2 entries tagged Asylum Seekers

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September 09, 2007

Holyrood leads the way on asylum policy

Labour’s going to announce that skilled non-EU immigrants will have to speak English if they want to come over here and take our jobs. I wonder if, say, Thailand will retaliate and force British ex-pats to learn their language.

As vaguely hypocritical anti-immigrant policies go, it’s fairly reasonable, even to a liberal like me; it might foster more cultural exchange in our communities and will hopefully shut the Tories up for a bit.

I was rather amazed how different the immigration agenda is north of the border. At work this week I read a debate in the Scottish Parliament on asylum seekers. The motion, made by an Scottish Nationalist MSP, called for them to be given the right to work. They sit on their arse all day, living off the state; why not let them work and thereby contribute to the economy and lift their self-esteem?

It’s a good policy, yet I was surprised that everyone agreed with it – Labour, Lib Dem, the SNP minister, and even the Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Bill Aitken. In the 2005 General Election only the Lib Dems were advocating it.

To be fair, the Scottish Parliament has no power on immigration issues, so nothing will come out of the debate except a promise from Stuart Maxwell, the Communities Minister, to have a chat to the Home Office about it. But it’s nice to see that public discourse on asylum seekers can ignore the scaremongering press and be progressive.

July 29, 2006

Why the far left are idiots

I love lefties – they're so quaint. A few months ago, as I was passing Grey's Monument in Newcastle, I stopped at a stall to sign a petition calling for better treatment of asylum seekers in Britain. The stall was being run by a group calling themselves Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (That sentence has finished, by the way; the second exclamation mark is part of the name, so don't think I'm excited by it. Can an exclamation mark which is part of a proper noun legitimately be used to end a sentence?) I thought, "how nice: it's not every day you find a progressive organisation campaigning on the street and not spouting discredited Marxist dogma".

A few days later an email arrives from these fine, if bearded, do–gooders, thanking me for signing their petition. I almost bashed out a reply straight away to the effect: "Why, you're quite welcome, my friends. Godspeed your message of peace and understanding. One day our politicians will realise what an asset these brave, hard–working refugees are to this country. These people who dared to speak up about the wonders of liberal democracy in their dictator–led countries and were forced to flee when faced with brutal persecution…" before I read on:

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! is the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters of the paper are involved in various campaigns.

Go figure. As far as I know, Communism still has something of a bad rep, so I thought that if one were to set up a pressure group with an anti–racism, anti–imperialism platform – a platform with very broad appeal in this country, surely – one would drop any association with Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot that might have a negative effect on public support for one's cause. Anyway, should they somehow gain sufficient support to topple the capitalists and establish socialism, the RCG would run into an ideological paradox when the inevitable purges cause Britons to seek asylum elsewhere.

So I didn't send my planned reply (because I only thought of it for the purposes of this blog); nor, however, did I bother unsubscribing (because I was too lazy; the same reason I'm still getting Razorlight emails). Which means (fast–forwarding to now) I've been getting emails about this Lebanon thing. The RCG/FRFI people have been badgering me to attend the picketing of the Israel–supporting Marks & Spencer. I was going to email them back suggesting that, as the current conflict is equally Hezbollah's fault, to conduct a survey of Lebanese takeaway owners in the area and boycott those who have sympathy for the Shi'ite militia. However, I read on and noticed that the demostrations had been called by a group calling themselves Victory to the Intifada! (The exclamation mark is not part of the name this time, by the way.)

Now, supporting the oppressed Palestinians and the creation of their own state is laudable. However, the only way this will be achieved without resorting to completely destroying Israel is by peaceful means. That means an end – not victory – to the Intifada. The Intifada involves the suicide bombing of Israeli civilians. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the deliberate slaughter of innocent people of a certain nationality/ethnicity a bit racist? If it is, then what is an anti–racist organisation doing consorting with a group that supports such activities?

There you go: a Communist anti–racist organisation supports victims of dictatorship and promotes racist tactics. The far left are idiots.

For a sense of balance, I also think Israel are bang out of order in Gaza and Lebanon – while they have a right to defend their country, a >100:1 civilian:militant collateral damage ratio is shocking.

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