For those non-Brits who mostly follow me, a word of explanation.
Great Britain has a ministry called the Home Office, that generally mirrors the American Department of Homeland Security, an equally odious government office. Each is mainly concerned with keeping migrants the hell out of the country and ruining people’s lives as efficiently as possible.
The Brit Home Office.
The Home Office is generally considered the graveyard of political life for ministers, although it produced a recent Prime Minister in Theresa May and (who knows?) may produce another when Boris finally slides out the door of Downing Street. But the current minister is another woman, artfully named Priti Patel and, although her grim attendance to grim duties have somewhat diminished her prettiness, she herself is the child of immigrants, in this case from East India. Had her parents been subject to the skills test she promotes, Priti might still be languishing in East India and it’s a cogent argument whether Britain would be the better for it.
Immigration is among the major responsibilities of the Home Office and the Windrush scandal is among its primary and most controversial achievements. The Windrush scandal was a 2018 British political scandal concerning people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation and, in at least 83 cases, wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Windrush was the name of the ship in which they were deported, but that’s an entirely different story that still strikes fear in the hearts of minorities in Britain.
Now Priti Patel (East India) and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid (Pakistan) are backing new immigration rules that would have barred their own ‘unskilled’ parents from the UK.
The new policies effectively close Britain’s borders to all those classed as unskilled workers, as well as those who cannot speak English at a certain level.
When Javid was asked, in 2018, if he was sad about supporting laws that would have barred his own father, he replied that he was “very optimistic about our future because … we will remain the global-outlook nation that welcomes people from across the world.” Just not people like his father, who raised his thankless son by driving a bus.
Last week Priti Patel was a little more blunt when she conceded that her parents, Indians from east Africa, would no longer be welcome. “This is the point,” she said. “We are changing our immigration policy to one that’s fit for purpose for our economy, based on skills.” The country no longer needs her parents’ skills. “Sorry, Dad and Mom, you’re no longer fit for purpose.”
As founders and owners of a successful chain of newsagents across London and the south-east, it’s not clear what dire economic need her parents’ admission to the UK would have fulfilled at the time. They simply came, did a job well, and bore children who became so well-integrated and influential that they used their power to change the very laws that allowed their own existence in the first place. Javid and Patel should be grateful that the world doesn’t work like the picture of Marty McFly’s family in Back to the Future, or they would currently be fading from existence, having eliminated the conditions of their own birth.
A splendid example of “I’m in, now fuck the rest of you.”
But let us get back to skills and points. Their parents were not “skilled” and therefore would not have scored the requisite number of points needed under the new regime to gain entry into the country. But I am sure that Javid and Patel have neither the desire or temperament to drive a bus or run a newsagents – or to do any of the other jobs they are consigning to the “unskilled” bin with these new rules. As for who will do them? no doubt Boris’s national leveling down will no doubt fill the gap. Or was that leveling up? I (and many others) are somewhat confused by his intent.
Yet that is the stated purpose of this new skills apartheid: it creates an arbitrary way of sifting people into “good migrants” and “bad migrants,” so that an overtly punitive regime can become even more cruel. There is no good economic justification for it, only a political one. Alighting on “skills” as the arbiter of who is worth admitting is a clever way to give a neutral technocratic veneer to what is fundamentally ideological.
Have patience, the soon-to-come environmental immigration will make all such laws moot.
Case in point, Bangladesh is a nation of eighty million people, the whole kit-and-caboodle only a couple feet above sea-level. We are about to see sea-levels rise somewhere between three and six feet. Those eighty million are not going to give a rat’s ass about the immigration laws of India or Myanmar, nor are they going to stand in place and drown.
They’re bloody-well leaving for higher ground and similar circumstances will bring those fleeing impossible heat, desertification of agricultural lands and declining aquifers across national borders without so much as a by-your-leave or tip of the hat.
So Priti and Javid represent what I choose to call the ‘New Middle Ministers.’
They have obligingly turned their back on precedent, disowned their forebears and given way to current political expedience. There’s a very good chance that when Boris finally gets oozed out, Parliament may turn to Priti Patel as a ‘placeholder’ Prime Minister, the better known names being too wise to take the wheel of a sinking ship.
Theresa May was one such placeholder and yet the vicar’s daughter brought Britain the ‘promise fulfilled’ of BREXIT. Priti may well bring us machine-guns on the beaches before her time is up. Because it’s coming to that across the world and it’s the business of a leader to lead. Forget your parentage, Priti, your public statement says you already have. They’re of no use to you now and a smart politician throws overboard those who are no longer of use.
Machine-guns are coming, don’t doubt it. We are currently at the early stages of getting comfortable with allowing migrants at sea to drown by the tens of thousands. Sharpens the resolve, that. Machine-guns are more efficient for the hundreds of thousands soon to come and, who knows what when hundreds of thousands turn to millions? That’ll be an import BREXIT didn’t anticipate.
Politicians worldwide, bathed in the comfort of their temporary power, see the world in terms of the coming election. They personally know no bus driver or newsagent, give no thought to how the homeless survive winter temperatures and are blind to the slide of the middle-class into poverty.
In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see—Isaiah 29:18
Sleep well, Priti Patel has your best interests at heart. One can only speculate about how well her parents sleep.