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Artillery Row

Don’t trust the Tories on immigration

The Rwanda scheme was a waste of time

Yesterday news broke that the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda had been declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal. All the people whose job it is to pretend to be immigration hardliners, while overseeing the highest levels of migration these islands have ever seen, couldn’t express their outrage fast enough.

Rishi Sunak – trying to sound as hardcore as one can with the personality of a dehydrated houseplant – said he will “do whatever is necessary to make [it] happen.” Suella Braverman reiterated her unshakeable determination to “stop the boats” — doing so with one of those facial expressions that shows she is just so hardline.

It’s true that the court’s decision is absurd. Rwanda is, under pretty much any metric, a safe country. As the prime minister pointed out, the United Nations Refugee Agency itself runs a scheme through which Libyan refugees are relocated to Rwanda. I was in the capital city of Kigali last week and saw for myself that the place is clean, safe, and orderly. Before the pandemic, Rwanda was Africa’s fastest growing economy. It’s no paradise, and I wouldn’t want to live there personally, but I’d imagine that anybody fleeing genuine danger or persecution would be relieved to find themselves in such a country.

I’m reluctant to say much more than that, however, as I don’t wish to participate in the pathetic game the Tory Party is playing with this. The entire proposal is a massive PR stunt designed to distract the public’s attention away from the fact that the Conservatives are the most pro-immigration party in British history. They won’t admit to this publicly – because they still rely on the votes of one or two people with qualms about rapid societal change – so it’s always someone else’s fault.

Previously they had the useful excuse that high levels of immigration were an unavoidable – if regrettable – feature of being an EU member state. We’d really love to have lower levels of immigration but Brussels won’t let us I’m afraid! Then we left the EU and Boris Johnson installed the most liberal immigration system this country has ever seen – permitting numbers far surpassing the peaks seen under Blair. So now Brussels has been replaced with “the blob” and European human rights law. We’d really love to have lower levels of immigration but the court won’t let us I’m afraid!

Does anybody actually believe for a second that Sunak wants to put a single migrant on a plane to Rwanda? Downing Street will be delighted with the court’s decision because it plays into their risible narrative that the prime minister is courageously fighting to deport illegal migrants against all the forces of the state – a narrative that glosses over the minor point that the Tories have controlled this state for thirteen long years.

If Sunak was really determined to pursue the Rwanda policy, he would’ve done something about the laws which are supposedly blocking the scheme. These are laws that the Tory Party has decided to keep on the statute book for over a decade – or in some cases introduced themselves. The European Convention on Human Rights, another useful excuse, is also something from which the government could easily decide to withdraw if they had the slightest will to do so.

Tories love talking about “the law” as if it’s some external, uncontrollable phenomenon

Tories love talking about “the law” as if it’s some external, uncontrollable phenomenon that looms over Britain, preventing them from enacting their true desires. That won’t do. Practically by definition, the law is something under government control. The evidence is there for everyone to see – the Tories believe that historically unprecedented levels of mass migration is the only way to prop up an economy they’re partly responsible for ruining.

The mask slips when they leave office and don’t have to lie for votes any longer. Former Chancellor Philip Hammond said recently that the country should relax its immigration rules even more — the biggest migration numbers in history aren’t enough for him. This is what the Conservatives believe.

After all, even if they do fulfil their “dream” and manage to send a few refugees to Rwanda, what would be the point? Sunak has promised to halt the flow of illegal migration across the Channel, but hasn’t suggested for a moment he’s prepared to consider the much bigger problem of legal migration that’s spiralled as a direct result of Tory policy. Even if the government were somehow able to relocate ten thousand migrants to Rwanda a year — an impossibly big number that would never be achieved — that would still be less than two percent of the net annual total. Is it really worth the hassle? It’s like trying to empty a river with a sieve.

Anybody who’s concerned about the levels of immigration this country is experiencing shouldn’t take the Rwanda bait. It’s nothing more than a ploy designed to try and cover up the Conservatives’ record on immigration — which is one of deceit, deception, and abysmal failure. More importantly, those in favour of lower migration numbers should make sure they don’t vote Tory under any circumstances at the next election. Enough is enough.

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