For the last few days the Home Office has been tweeting boastfully about the number of arrests that have been made by officers of the UKBA of ‘suspected’ illegal immigrants in London boroughs. The underlying message this sends is chilling to say the least. They give no information about where these unfortunate people are being held, or under what conditions. Have they had access to legal representation? We don’t know. How long will they be held for? We have no idea.
As this Home Office experiment was about to launch the Sun did a poll of its readers asking if they supported the ‘migrant vans’. From the results, seen here, it would seem that even rampantly right wing Sun readers are not overwhelmingly in favour of this latest demonstration of Tory bigotry. And when I checked out the (huge) response on Twitter, last night, to the Home Office’s boasts of arrests NOT A SINGLE ONE expressed support; in fact the overall message to the Home Office can be summed up as ” This is disgusting. Not in my name, please”.
Then this morning, by a strange coincidence, I came across the following blog post reporting on a comparable situation in Greece, which although more extreme than what’s going on here, made me wonder nonetheless just how close we were to scenes like it….
Operation Zeus in August last year marked the start of an ugly reminder of a European past that we thought we had long buried. Nearly 60 years after the end of the Second European War, migrants were round up from the streets of Greece and shoved unceremoniously…
I was watching the live parliamentary debate on the Queen’s Speech yesterday (13th May) which was dramatically interrupted by Sir Gerald Kaufman bursting in and insisting on speaking, saying he had something of “vital importance” to report.
In an emotive and angry three minute speech he announced the plight of one of his constituents at the hands of the UKBA. I was unable to catch the name of this man.
Kaufman stated that this man – who was living in his Gorton, Manchester constituency with his wife and two children – had come to see him a few weeks ago because he’d been contacted by the UKBA and he was worried. Kaufman then said that on that very morning (13th May) the man had phoned him in great distress, saying he and his children had just been arrested in Manchester by UKBA and taken to Heathrow. The whereabouts of his wife were unknown. The man had been told he was to be deported with his children at 10pm that night.
Kaufman told the House that he’d come to the Commons directly from speaking to the Minister for Immigration who had told him he was entirely happy with the situation. Kaufman, clearly very angry and emotional, shouted “This is a kidnapping!” He pointed out that no formal channels had been gone through.
Was this a summary deportation without due process? Are people being rounded up without the opportunity for legal representation or time to appeal a decision? Who made this decision?
Perhaps more worrying than the above, if that’s possible, is the total LACK of media coverage.I expected to see headlines in the press and on TV this morning but there’s nothing.This drama took place on a live BBC TV programme yet their 24 hour news programme appears to have ignored it. The top headlines seems to be Angelina Joline’s double mastectomy and constant rehashing of the Tories’ EU referendum row.
What is going on? Am I living in a parallel universe? Welcome to Parallel Britain where the desperate poor are driven to suicide by government cuts to benefits and the UKBA behave like Nazis whilst we’re all politically anaesthetised by Fox style ‘news’.