There was an astonishing interview on the Today Programme just after the eight o’clock news. In the studio with John Humphrys were Michael Gove and Diane Abbott. If you didn’t hear it, you should listen here. Go on.
The topic was immigration and in particular those contentious targets. You know, the targets that led to a small fleet of innovative “go-home” buses intended to generate a hostile atmosphere for illegal immigrants, who would obviously take one look and immediately flock to the airport in droves or drive to the airport in flocks.
John Humphrys was super-indignant and incredulous that the Home Secretary hadn’t seen the memo and/or didn’t know about the targets, especially after the Guardian had got hold of some damning evidence or other. He was so incensed that he started speaking in that staccato way of his, where each word is enunciated separately as if someone had scattered full-stop-confetti over his head. But Michael Gove wasn’t having any of it.
“John, John! You’re making yourself an instrument of a highly partisan campaign against a highly effective Home Secretary.”
Way to go! And it was followed shortly after by:
“John, John, in your desire to maintain the prosecutorial stance in the service of a partisan agenda..”
“You’ve gotta withdraw that!” said John, helplessly. Realising he had to let it go, he said, “I’ll let it go”.
I had almost forgotten that Diane Abbott was there, so quietly and patiently had she been waiting.
All she wanted to do was relate the tragic cases of Windrush grannies who have been herded into deportation camps in droves. (or driven in herds) Humph must have been conscious that he’d better grill the shadow Home Secretary as fiercely as he’d tried to grill the Gover, otherwise, that immaculate impartiality of his, which he had reminded us of moments earlier, might be called into question.
However, he couldn’t quite raise the same passion with Diane and resorted to telling her to concentrate on the targets rather than describing some non-specific Windrush cases in an emotive fashion. She accused the government of deliberately confusing illegal immigrants with the Windrush generation. Deliberately! It really was an astonishing interview for oh so many reasons.
However, the bottom line is, and I’m straying from the astonishing interview now, but I think I need to ask… where can we see some facts? Like, for example, are there any statistics on erroneously deported individuals? What became of them? Can they be compensated? How about the people that were not deported but erroneously disenfranchised and prevented from working, driving and being treated on the NHS. Are there any statistics on these cases, and can they be compensated or is it now too late?
I think we need some idea of the scale of the problem rather than hearing Diane Abbott emoting and hurling out innuendos. That’s one thing. Then there’s the matter of how difficult was it for the Windrush people to regularise their status? Because obviously, some have done so.
This whole business is far too reminiscent of a parallel scenario, where the pro-Palestinian movement is generally far more concerned with attacking Israel than helping the Palestinians. The politicised agenda we have here means that Labour seems far more concerned with calling for Amber Rudd’s resignation than actually helping the people they say they’re concerned about.
Almost on cue, moments after that interview, John Humphrys spoke to a very satisfied customer. A member of the Windrush generation who had received his certification and was a very happy bunny.
The Labour Party is mired in antisemitism. One would think they’d be embarrassed about calling for a symbolic resignation when the bleeding obvious applies to their own leadership a thousand times over.