The demonisation of Gary Lineker – for pointing out something that should be obvious and uncontroversial – is disgraceful and the Tories doing it should be shunned.
The European Convention on Human Rights was set up in the early 1950s, and Suella Braverman’s filthy little Illegal Immigration Bill spits on it.
She admits it:
— Judy Hamilton (@secretspartacus) March 8, 2023
The United Nations has also stated that the Bill undermines the “very purpose” of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which “explicitly recognises that refugees may be compelled to enter a country of asylum irregularly.” The statement added: “International law does not require that refugees claim asylum in the first country they reach.”
That convention was introduced in recognition of the failure of neighbouring countries to help refugees from Nazi Germany when they needed it.
In Parliament, Braverman referred to her Bill removing “foreign national rapists, drug dealers and murderers” – and was reprimanded by Labour’s John McDonnell for “inflammatory language” that was putting asylum-seekers and those who represent them “at risk”.
In response to earlier such shenanigans, former footballer and TV presenter Gary Lineker tweeted that the language in which Braverman’s plan was set out was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”. He has a point, it seems.
This is what @GaryLineker tweeted. His controversial comment was about the Govts language – but that’s not how it’s being reported.
I don’t agree with his comparison but I absolutely defend his right to say it. pic.twitter.com/rzgeF6JsKd
— Anna Soubry (@Anna_Soubry) March 8, 2023
But of course he faced a backlash. Braverman herself called his words “unhelpful”:
'It's unhelpful to compare our measures to 1930s Germany'
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) March 8, 2023
But of course Mr Lineker wasn’t trying to help her; he thinks her law is rotten. Notice that she appealed to “the British people”, claiming that her law was in line what the people want. Isn’t that exactly the kind of rhetoric that the Nazis used?
This is staggering. Let’s not beat around the bush. It is about denying the humanity of asylum seekers, and that is a dangerous, slippery path towards the politics of fascism. Sometimes that word just has to be used. https://t.co/0VxbcYWyqp
— Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy) March 7, 2023
Dehumanising people was exactly what the Nazis did, of course.
And – of course – Braverman cynically inflated the figures on the number of people allegedly trying to come to the UK:
Is there a problem with people illegally crossing the Channel? Yes
Are 100 million people trying to come here? Of course not. The Home Secretary should be utterly ashamed of herself for resorting to the language of extremists https://t.co/32VSvflUzb
— Gavin Barwell (@GavinBarwell) March 7, 2023
This 100m figure is – I would guess – a ref to the UN’s calculation that 100m are fleeing conflict and disaster. But most do not cross a border. 55 million are “internally displaced” – eg Syrians who fled from Aleppo to Idlib. The idea they are all coming to UK is absurd. https://t.co/RrMG9PwADi
— David Miliband (@DMiliband) March 7, 2023
The media debate is big on emotion and small on detail, with other claims added in to boost the failing Tory rhetoric.
For example, on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Susannah Reid had to torpedo a claim that all asylum claims should be refused (75 per cent are valid) and that civil servants were inclined to grant all asylum claims for an easy life (there’s no evidence to support that at all):
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) March 8, 2023
The United Nations has provided valuable insight on the facts here. Its refugee agency, the UNHCR, has stated that Home Office data indicates that the “vast majority” of small-boat migrants would be granted refugee protection if the UK considered their claims.
“Branding refugees as undeserving based on mode of arrival distorts these fundamental facts,” the agency added, calling on the government to consider its own “concrete and actionable proposals” as a way to reduce the demand for small-boat crossings.
Underlying all this is the fact that the so-called “war on immigrants” has been manufactured by the Tories in order to give people a bogeyman to fear and revile.
The reason people are coming across to the UK in small boats is simply that Boris Johnson turned his back on the UK’s former “returns” agreement with the European Union, that allowed a Labour government to return 60,000 people in its last year in office. That’s more than the most recently-recorded number of people coming in. Watch:
Jeez. The Home office video of Suella Braverman saying “Enough is enough. We must stop the boats” is almost at 2 million views. Lets make sure the public know it was her Government which created this situation by sharing this as widely as possible https://t.co/kceiWvtn8o
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) March 7, 2023
Labour has, at least, recognised that there is an easy way to solve the issue of people crossing the Channel in small boats:
Labour would deal with the Tory-made small boats crisis by:
– Negotiating returns deal with EU
– Cracking down on criminal gangs by boosting police and security forces
– Having well managed safe & legal routes
– Clearing the asylum backlog@UKLabour pic.twitter.com/fgaiKpmwn3
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) March 7, 2023
Mr Lineker faces a “frank conversation” with his BBC bosses about his criticism of the government, which the Corporation – under its Tory-supporting, Tory-appointed chairman – is claiming contradicts its impartiality rules.
But of course, he was tweeting in a personal capacity.
I am reminded of Rachel Riley’s vigorous campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
Her right to do this was not publicly disputed by her employer, the broadcaster Channel 4.
Isn’t it incongruous that she was allowed to undermine a left-winger’s election campaign but Mr Lineker is being reprimanded for passing a reasonable comment on a right-winger’s attack on refugees?
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