Wednesday 5 August 2015

Cutting to the chase?

The other thing to be said about Monday night's Newsnight is that James Clayton's report on the failed asylum seeker from the Gambia focused on a woman who Newsnight had made a central figure in one of its news reports a couple of years ago. (I remember seeing that).

And now she's here in the UK. And Newsnight went for a catch-up.

The woman in question had been the village 'cutter' - i.e. a practitioner of Female Genital Mutilation - in Gambia. Her family claims she was forced to carry it out. She claims she fled here to escape doing so. The British authorities have rejected her appeal to stay.

James Clayton's report emphasised the less-than-entirely-uncomfortable conditions she is now staying in while appealing her rejection decision, and tied her hardship to new government legislation. Her complaints about her treatment (as a result of that legislation) appeared in the programme's opening headlines too and were elaborated later too. 

Susceptible types on Twitter were duly moved and took to bemoaning the inhumanity of modern Britian as a result, lauding the lady as someone who fled and fought against FGM (many of them seemingly misunderstanding the story). Her statement that if she's sent back she'll be forced to 'cut' again wasn't challenged - either by Twitter or Newsnight. (She could go back and not cut, or move to somewhere else in Gambia, couldn't she?) 

The following studio discussion between Conservative SPAD Shaun Bailey and Labour SPAD Sonia Sodha was balanced enough though, with Shaun playing the part of the calm, compassionate Conservative and Sonia breathlessly emoting from the Left and tying the FGM lady from Gambia's story to the general point that the migrants beating at our borders are fleeing conflicts (even though Gambia isn't in a state of conflict at the moment - which no one pointed out to her).


  1. As a British Ex-Pat who lives in Gambia, I have never heard of anyone being forced to carry out FGM. There are plenty ( all women, it is not a man's job ) who will do it and make a good living out of it. This woman's claims are ludicrous. Did they say how she travelled to UK ?

    1. No, they just said "she managed to escape to the UK and claimed asylum". And that was that.

    2. Not a very penetrating interview , then !!!!

    3. Presumably, like all those people in BBC reports from Calais, she waw magically teleported via a Stargate or similar advanced technology straight from her home town.

    4. DP, LOL ! I have never heard of Gambian women going to Europe by " the back way" so she must have got a UK visa and gone by air. Cost of Gambian passport, visa, and one way flight is about £1000. Average monthly income there is about £50. Even "cutters" don't earn that much ! So who sponsored her ?

    5. I know several Gambian families affected by people trying to get to Europe the back way. They are all economic migrants. If the BBC would like to come to Gambia and do some fearless investigative journalism , I could be their guide. Alas, the facts would not fit in with BBC propaganda !

    6. Grant, is that a hint that she might have been sponsored by Gambian families in the UK in need of her services? That would be par for the course for BBC reporting. Rule #1.

  2. The "conflict" bit is funny. Gambia is the safest country in West Africa, well for most people. It has its own immigration problems with people fleeing conflict in other countries coming to Gambia for safety !


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