Once again there is a misreading by the British Government of the national mood on immigration.
This morning we wake up to hear that thousands of Afghan refugees will be resettled in the UK after the Taliban seized control of Kabul. The new scheme will see up to 20,000 Afghans offered a route to set up home in the UK in the coming years. In the first year, 5,000 refugees will be eligible – with women, girls and others in need having priority. Home Secretary Priti Patel urged other countries to help, writing in the Daily Telegraph “we cannot do this alone”. (On cue) we hear that opposition parties have criticised the settlement scheme for not going far enough. This new plan is on top of the existing scheme for interpreters and other staff who worked for the UK. Some 5,000 Afghans and family members are expected to benefit from that policy.
Are we supposed to rejoice at such news?
The reality is that, although Afghanistan is now once more ruled by savages, this is not the fault of Britain nor is it Britain’s responsibility to step in and rescue thousands from a far away land which, frankly, has been a basket case for many decades. There are millions of unfortunates, mostly female, around the world – we cannot save them all and should not try to directly. Doing so would require an enormous effort and cost that frankly the country, as it recovers from the pandemic, is not willing to sustain. There are plenty of other basket cases we can choose from. Why Afghanistan? Why not Yemen? How about Ukraine or Venezuela?
While few will argue with saving the lives of translators and interpreters and other Afghans who put their lives – and the lives of extended families – on the line by helping British forces while they were in Afghanistan, few Brits want to have anything to do with Afghanistan now we have left. If Afghanistan becomes once more a haven for terrorism, we know it well now and are far better placed to intervene in a temporary and more incisive way, especially now precision remote technology has moved on so far since British campaigns were launched into Afghanistan in the noughties.
The Government is too often misreading feelings at home about immigration. One would have thought that in a post-Brexit, post-UKIP world the Home Secretary would be more in tune. It is not that the popular mood is against all immigration, rather that there is a growing anger at the daily Channel crossings, failure to deport criminals and slowness in drawing up new laws to make Britain an immigration fortress that its people want and merit.
There is a feeling out there that we choose the worst of immigrants when we could choose the cream of the crop. Too often our priorities are as skew-whiff as those of the EU, which we should now have escaped from. Where is the British immigration model we were promised? Why is it taking so long? What is stopping Patel from living up to her rhetoric?
Why are we not listening to the Gurkha hunger strikers outside Westminster who are campaigning for equal pensions for Gurkhas who retired before 1997 and are not eligible for a full UK Armed Forces pension? These Nepalese men and women served the nation with distinction – their relatives are sound and striving – and should be given equal treatment with the soldiers they served alongside. They are far too proud to ever become a burden on the nation, unlike many of those immigrants coming from other nations who brag openly about their access to housing and benefits given to them by their stupid and bleeding heart hosts.
In post Brexit Britain let us be more picky with immigration. The British Government should open its eyes and sense the mounting anger before it fosters a UKIP 2.0 that will let opposition parties sense blood.