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Unpleasant though it is to find myself quoting Guido Fawkes—life’s too short to be swamped by that much bile—the fact remains that here he’s absolutely right:
Immigration minister Liam Byrne told BBC News this morning that the Australian immigration control model had been closely examined by the British government: “I think that people want to know that only those who we need to come to Britain should be allowed to come and I think a points system has worked extremely well in Australia so we have studied that hard, we think it would work well in this country.”


The 2005 Conservative Party Manifesto promised: “We will introduce a points-based system for work permits similar to the one used in Australia. This will give priority to people with the skills Britain needs.”

Remember how the Labour Party made a huge issue of the policy and campaign posters ... condemning the commitment as a racist dog-whistle policy? Less than three years later Labour is implementing the same policy. [article]

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
psychonomy
Mar. 3rd, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
So let me get this straight. Guido is lambasting the Government for adopting the policies of the party he supports? And this is, of course, implicitly a reason to vote Conservative as opposed to praising the Labour party for getting something "right" (from his point of view) for once?

He's not "right". It's his usual kneejerk muddle-headed bollocks. The idea that the Government are somehow more evil than the Cameroonies because they maintain a whiter-then-white facade while secretly being soulless principle-whores, whereas the Tories are at least *openly* soulless principle-whores, can only be born of a rigid pro-Tory dogmatism.

Bottom line: Labour had it right with "racist dog-whistle policy". They were right then and wrong now. Whereas the Tories were wrong then and wrong now. Where, in this sequence of events, do they get the idea that they're entitled to sit on a high horse?
webofevil
Mar. 3rd, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
I have put an ellipsis in there. The original reads: “outrageously condemning the commitment as a racist dog-whistle policy”. For Guido and his Have Your Say ilk, there’s nothing at all wrong with controlled immigration, and he’s simply miffed about the hypocrisy of a government who will squeal about a policy being racist one minute and adopt it the next.

I do not agree with the immigration system being proposed, nor, therefore, with the word “outrageously”. What’s more, I think Guido and his hangers-on are a pretty poisonous bunch (although he himself provides a useful service in the sense of being a political Popbitch). Nonetheless, I can’t help but find myself on the same side of the fence as him when it comes to the hypocrisy of a government who (see above).



chiller
Mar. 3rd, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Presumably you get 9 of the 10 required points* for not being brown.

* I have no idea how many points are needed.

strictlytrue
Mar. 3rd, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
I think you're missing the point here. We've always had controlled immigration in this country. There's no open door policy now, and there never has been. All that the Government are doing is changing the criteria for entry qualification.

The reason the 2005 campaign was a "dog whistle" was that
a) It implied somehow that immigration wasn't controlled at the moment; and
b) By placing immigration front and centre of the campaign, it was simply saying - in polite terms - that one of the things that really ground the Tories' gears was foreigners.

It's the usual mixture of bollocks and partisan mischief-making from Guido
webofevil
Mar. 3rd, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, we only really want immigrants so wealthy that they won’t have to pay taxes. And of course, while we don’t want economic refugees, we certainly welcome genuine refugees:
In 1999, when refugees were struggling out of Kosovo, New Labour introduced an immigration and asylum bill. The unstated aim was to make it impossible for a refugee from Milosevic or any other psychotic goon to reach Britain legally. In all but rare circumstances, they would be forced to turn to criminal gangs and therefore, by definition, become ‘illegal immigrants’, who were no better than criminals.

From Bosnia to Zimbabwe, as soon as war or internal persecution produced refugees, Britain imposed visa restrictions on the afflicted country. Assuming your enemies allowed you to stroll unmolested through your capital, you would need to reach the British embassy. Once inside, you would tell the staff that you wished to fly to Heathrow to escape persecution, and would be grateful for a visa. They would show you the door. The immigration rules do not include a desire to claim asylum as a valid reason for visiting Britain. [...]

The policy was as harsh as the measures adopted by Whitehall when Hitler was sweeping through Europe. No modern politician, however, imitated the agonising of Sir Samuel Hoare, who was Home Secretary in Neville Chamberlain’s government when the Nazis moved into Austria in 1938. “Many persons were expected to seek refuge,” Sir Samuel told the Cabinet. “I feel a great reluctance in putting another obstacle in the way of these unfortunate people.” The hand-wringing didn’t stop Chamberlain introducing visa restrictions...

Very well, you reason, if Straw and Blair are going to be more authoritarian than Hoare and Chamberlain, you can skip the British embassy and head off without a visa. Should you carry your passport? You certainly should not, as a standard letter of refusal from the Home Office to asylum-seekers with passports makes clear: “The Secretary of State noted that you were able to obtain a properly issued passport which you then used to leave [insert country] through normal immigration channels without difficulty on [insert date]. He concluded that this indicates that the authorities have no further interest in your activities.”

OK, if having a “properly issued passport” is to be taken as a sign that your country’s regime doesn’t intend to shoot you, should you travel without a passport? You certainly should not. The standard letter of refusal for “undocumented passengers” makes clear that your claim for asylum will be rejected “owing to your failure to produce a passport when requested to do so on arrival”.

Forging, borrowing or stealing a passport is often a necessity. Milosevic destroyed the passports and property deeds of ethnically cleansed Muslims so they would never be able to seek restitution. As far as the record showed they had never lived in their homes, never existed. Saddam Hussein made 120,000 Kurds and Turks disappear from the files when he drove them out of Iraq between 1991 and 2003. The potential victims of other dictators have ditched their old identities and got new ones sharpish to protect themselves from the secret police. In opposition, Tony Blair condemned the Tories for believing that a false passport was the mark of a fraudulent refugee: “The Secretary of State spoke about those who destroy documentation. That is not necessarily evidence of fraud. There may be good reasons why this has happened.”
[contd.]


Edited at 2008-03-03 12:30 pm (UTC)
strictlytrue
Mar. 3rd, 2008 12:45 pm (UTC)
Moreover, this Q&A in that hotbed of Blairite lickspittlism, The Guardian, would seem to contradict your initial claim that:

Yes, we only really want immigrants so wealthy that they won’t have to pay taxes.

The only people complaining seem to be our old friends, the good old small businesses, upset that they can't employ illegal immigrants and pay them peanuts any more.



Edited at 2008-03-03 12:46 pm (UTC)
webofevil
Mar. 3rd, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
contd.
You certainly should not take him at his word now he is Prime Minister. His Home Office’s standard letters to the holders of forged documents read: “In considering your application, the secretary of state has noted that you sought/gained leave to enter the United Kingdom using false documents... your actions in doing so have seriously undermined the credibility of your claim to be a genuine asylum-seeker in need of international protection”.

Can’t get in with real passports, can’t get in with forged passports, can’t get in with no passports. ... Only by putting yourself in the shoes of a refugee can you appreciate the elegance of the trap.

Nick Cohen, Pretty Straight Guys, 2003
In the immortal words of Major Bloodnok (who I’ve been listening to a lot recently, thanks to nudejournal, “So, what can I do for you? Better still, get out!”

Edited at 2008-03-03 12:30 pm (UTC)
strictlytrue
Mar. 3rd, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
I didn't say I was happy about our immigration policy - fact is, it's become well-nigh impossible to discuss it sensibly thanks to our press. However, the implication by Guido that Labour are somehow adopting Tory policy is rubbish. The Tories campaign in 2005 is still going on, and it's simply an attempt to push the "immigration is out of control" meme.

While not an expert in these matters, I fear that by dealing with the Bosnian example, we're already falling into the trap set by the papers etc., which is conflating asylum seeking with immigration. The points-system is for economic migrants, as I understand it.

From Bosnia to Zimbabwe, as soon as war or internal persecution produced refugees, Britain imposed visa restrictions on the afflicted country. Assuming your enemies allowed you to stroll unmolested through your capital, you would need to reach the British embassy. Once inside, you would tell the staff that you wished to fly to Heathrow to escape persecution, and would be grateful for a visa. They would show you the door. The immigration rules do not include a desire to claim asylum as a valid reason for visiting Britain. [...]

I'm a bit puzzled by this. Surely if you're claiming asylum, you apply at the embassy to seek it. If you're claim is upheld then you are entitled to come to Britain - if Cohen's assertion is baldly true, then nobody would be allowed into the UK as an asylum seeker, and quite a few clearly are. As I say, I'm not an expert so I can't contradict what he's saying, but there are people who are granted asylum in the UK, so they're arriving here somehow.
nudejournal
Mar. 4th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Interesting that GF didn't use the more alarm bell-ringing "We're not racist, but..." immigration poster from the 2005 Tory campaign.
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