Saturday, April 23, 2005

Howard's Mind Flips

Michael Howard, it seems, wants to say that his father came not from "refugee stock" but from "immigrant stock". Let us leave the point that the very phrase suggests a genetic superiority of one over the other, and move on. As one says.

Howard initiated the Great Asylum Cry back in the mid-90s when he attempted to legislate that those persons whose applications had been rejected, who could not work anyway, would receive no state benefits and hence no food. The courts shot him down, but the aim was achieved. Murdoch liked it. Howard did, of course, not mention that he had placed a hiring freeze on the Immigration Service. Nor did he mention that, once the most secure border in history was gone and there was a race war in the Balkans, a few more refugees might perhaps not have been the least probable development.

No, a national hate campaign began against the Economic Migrants who were posing as refugees. (A point to anyone who remembers the term Economic Migrant - where did that get to?) They were Spongers. They were, illogically, Bogus Asylum Seekers, not that anyone ever suggested they were not seeking asylum.

More recently, Tony Blair's answer to this was to make a show of Murdoch-mandated toughness whilst quietly issuing a lot of work permits. In a sense, it was a rational workaround. Importantly, you could now be an Economic Migrant honestly - but the BAS hate campaign went on.

Not so long ago, Michael Howard harped on his father's flight from a fascist Romania to the UK. Now, his dad had quite clearly a well-founded fear of persecution: the legal test of refugee status. The Hechts went on to make good. But tonight, Mr. Michael Howard denied them. They were not refugees, he said. They came to do a job!

Or, in other words, they were Bogus Asylum Seekers. What on earth is wrong with the man?

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