Tag Archives: Home Secretary

Windrush: Yet again the Tories have lied as British people are being refused citizenship after all

The Empire Windrush arrives in the UK, loaded with immigrants from the Caribbean, in 1948. Little did these people know they would be hounded out of the country by a Tory govenrment that destroyed all the legal proof of their citizenship.

Sajid Javid has proved himself as much a liar and a racist as Theresa May and Amber Rudd before him – and that the Conservative government’s “hostile environment” policy is as vicious as ever.

On Friday, September 21 – at the end of a week in which the news agenda was overloaded with Theresa May’s failure to convince EU representatives of her Brexit plan – Mr Javid quietly put out a press release stating that members of the so-called “Windrush generation” who had committed criminal offences would not be granted UK citizenship, in spite of previous assurances that all Windrush citizens would.

Of course, it is entirely possible that, due to the “hostile environment” policy, some of these people may have committed criminal offences, simply to survive:

Worse still, he added that those who were not granted citizenship would be allowed to stay in the UK only if they could provide proof of residency.

But didn’t the Tories destroy such proof when they took office in 2010? Yes they did.

And just to make matters as bad as possible, Mr Javid said refusals would also be issued to those who had applied for documentation from abroad but been found to be ineligible, as they were not able to provide sufficient evidence that they were settled in the UK before 1 January 1973.

Windrush citizens are supposed to be afforded the same rights as every other British citizen – because they are British citizens, courtesy of the British Nationality Act 1948; they were awarded citizenship after they arrived – so the announcement has led to renewed accusations that they are effectively second-class.

These people had a legal right to come to the UK, so they neither needed nor were given any documents upon entry to the UK, nor following changes in immigration laws in the early 1970s.

It is a betrayal of people who rebuilt the UK after World War II.

Mr Javid said refusal decisions were only taken after “substantial assurance” had taken place and said individuals could request a free review of the decision if they disagree.

But legal experts told The Independent the absence of independent legal advice and a proper appeal route to those refused made it “impossible to know whether these decisions were fair or not”.

Mr Javid’s decision to rescind the citizenship of a whole generation of people who are legally British, on the grounds that they do not have documentation to prove that citizenship because the Tories destroyed it, is as racist now as it was when Theresa May put it into practice and Amber Rudd continued it.

It is all the more shocking from him, though, as he is himself a member of the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

The decision has been met with widespread condemnation, despite the attempt to hide it on a heavy news day:

https://twitter.com/ShehabKhan/status/1043207848627515393

After all the assurances – including those from arch-racist Theresa May that her government would provide restitution to the Windrush people it had wronged, there is only one way to take this:

That’s right. The Windrush citizens – most of whom are probably the salt of the Earth – are being hounded out of the country by the scum of the Earth.

How many more chances are we going to give the Tories to make this scandal worse while lying through their teeth about it?

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Amber Rudd has directly lied to Parliament and the country. The only statement left to her is her resignation

Keep walking, Amber Rudd: Has she even bothered to read the files she’s carrying in this image?

First she said there were no deportation targets, in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

Then she said there were targets after all – she just didn’t know about them.

Now we see that Amber Rudd did know there were targets – she just lied to us all that she didn’t.

(Or she was so derelict in her duty that she signed off on the Home Office report mentioned below without reading it – an unforgivable sin for a secretary of state in the UK government.)

Read:

“Amber Rudd’s insistence that she knew nothing of Home Office targets for immigration removals risks unravelling following the leak of a secret internal document prepared for her and other senior ministers.

“The six-page memo, passed to the Guardian, says the department has set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18” and boasts that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”.

“It adds that progress has been made on a “path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year”.

“The document was prepared by Hugh Ind, the director general of the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement agency, in June last year and copied to Rudd and Brandon Lewis, the then immigration minister, as well as several senior civil servants and special advisers.”

It took Ms Rudd more than eight hours to respond to the leak. She did so with a series of late-night tweets that suggest she is determined to keep going, despite having broken the Ministerial Code in such a serious way that she should have resigned already.

Here they are, together with a few comments on them by notable figures:

Jonathan Ashworth: “Hopeless. For goodness sake just resign.”

David Lammy: “Was it in your ministerial Red Box? Did you sign it off without reading it? If not does your office sign off documents regarding deportation without you reading them? Is deportation insufficiently important? What other documents does your office sign off without you reading them?”

Peter Stefanovic: “If a Labour Home Secretary had failed to read an internal Home Office report linking a rise in violent crime to a fall in police numbers, failed to spot systemic issues in Windrush scandal & was not aware of specific removals targets you would call on them to resign. TIME TO GO!”

Ms Rudd has her supporters. They are the usual suspects:

Here’s an interesting point, though – if Ms Rudd resigns, or is removed by her prime minister, she’ll have a chance to supplant Theresa May:

Interesting thought – and one to which we may return on Monday, or shortly thereafter, depending on what Ms Rudd says in her statement… if she lasts that long.

The Labour Party appears to be split (as usual) on the subject. Diane Abbott – the Shadow Home Secretary – tweeted: “1.3.c of the Ministerial code: “Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.””

Sadly another branch of the Parliamentary Labour Party – the part that, I don’t know, joins a lying fellow member to form what is essentially a lynch mob for a fellow party member who has done nothing wrong but happens to be a member of an ethnic minority – had something else to say.

Miserable. Labour – the Labour that represents the interests of the whole of the UK rather than its members’ selfishness – has no common ground with anybody in the Conservative government. Not a single one of them. And those of us who know that had some hard words for Mr Woodcock and his ilk:

Fortunately Mr Woodcock belongs to an incresingly sidelined and irrelevant gang.

And Ms Rudd’s day is over. Whether she realises that today, tomorrow, on Monday or any time after that, won’t make muuch of a difference.

Amber Rudd is breaking the law to put asylum seeker in danger

The Home Office [Image: Scott Barbour/Getty Images].

This is not the first time Home Secretary Amber Rudd has decided she is above the law.

She has also ignored repeated court orders requiring her to release from detention an asylum-seeker from Chad, in Africa, who has been the victim of torture.

It seems clear this woman is not fit to hold office. The latest order, declaring her to be in contempt of court, should be followed with prosecution.

Put her in the dock and then put her in jail – as an example to all Tories that the law applies to them as well as the plebs. OR DOES IT?

An asylum seeker is holed up in a hotel room in Kabul in fear for his life after the home secretary breached a high court order not to remove him from the UK and instead put him on a plane back to Afghanistan.

Samim Bigzad, 23, says he is a prime target for the Taliban because he worked in construction for the Afghan government and American companies before he sought sanctuary in the UK.

Two high court judges have made separate orders calling for Bigzad to be brought back to the UK as a matter of urgency. The second states that the home secretary, Amber Rudd, is in contempt of court for breaching the first order not to remove Bigzad.

Source: Home secretary ignores court order and sends asylum seeker to Kabul | UK news | The Guardian


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Incompetent: Minister responsible for cyber-security falls victim to email hoaxer

Amber Rudd, pictured speaking this month at a global internet forum to tackle terrorism, was fooled by an email hoaxer [Image: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images].

How can Home Secretary Amber Rudd – the minister responsible for cyber security – continue in her job after falling victim to an email hoaxer?

Ms Rudd was lucky not to have given away any sensitive private information – beyond the fact that she is taking a holiday soon – before the “prankster”, who uses the name “Sinon Reborn” gave the game away.

But she chose to take part in an exchange on a personal email account, rather than the government’s more secure system. Why?

It is also notable that the hoaxer posed as the new Downing Street communications chief, former BBC bigwig Robbie Gibb.

Serious questions need to be asked about this. Ms Rudd’s decisions – to respond to a hoax email address, and to use her personal email account rather than the government’s system – represent a serious security risk.

This is a person with one of the most responsible jobs in the government.

Former US Secretary of State (equivalent to the UK’s Foreign Secretary) Hillary Clinton was investigated by the FBI – twice – after it was revealed that she relied on a personal email account for all her electronic correspondence.

Current US President Donald Trump beat her in last year’s Presidential election because he said she was “guilty as hell” of breaking the rules regarding government emails.

Democrats blamed the way that investigation was handled for Mrs Clinton’s loss of the election.

Now our Home Secretary is found to have been behaving in the same way – and giving out information to a hoaxer.

No doubt this will be treated as a joke and brushed under the carpet.

But who will be on the receiving end of her secrets next time?

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, has apparently fallen victim to an email hoaxer who has previously tricked members of Donald Trump’s inner circle and the governor of the Bank of England.

The hoaxer posed as a senior Downing Street aide and managed to hold an email conversation with the home secretary on her personal email account. Rudd revealed she was working with her special adviser Mohammed Hussein on a series of announcements to be made in August before realising she was corresponding with a hoaxer.

The self-styled “email prankster”, who uses the moniker Sinon Reborn, set up an email address in the name of Robbie Gibb, Theresa May’s recently appointed communications chief, using the free email service GMX. He emailed Rudd’s publicly available parliamentary email address and she replied using a separate personal email account.

The “relative ease” with which the 39-year old website designer from south Manchester claims to have tricked Rudd is likely to be embarrassing for the home secretary, who has overall responsibility for cyber security.

One computer security expert warned that external email systems, such as Microsoft Outlook, which Rudd used with the hoaxer, are more vulnerable to intrusion than government email accounts.

When Rudd realised she was not talking to Gibb, she ended the correspondence, but not before she had talked about plans for “positive announcements” and a forthcoming holiday.

The anonymous hoaxer told the Guardian he decided to see if he could fool UK government ministers when he spotted that the prime minister had hired Gibb, a senior BBC journalist, to run Downing Street’s communications. He set up [email protected] and sent emails to publicly available addresses for Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Rudd, saying it was “great to be on board and that I’d be talking to them at some stage and that if they’d got any questions, my door is always open”.

Only the home secretary replied.

Source: Amber Rudd latest to fall victim to email hoaxer using fake account | Politics | The Guardian


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Mockery of May and the Mail: Worst crisis since when?

The Fail on Sunday has fallen foul of its readers yet again, with a headline that begged for ridicule the moment it was released into the community. Here it is:

150426worstcrisis1

The worst crisis since when?

The Flail seems to be suffering from selective amnesia. As many commenters – especially on Twitter – have pointed out, the worst crisis since the abdication was probably World War II. Does anybody remember that little scuffle?

But then, what can you expect from the Mail? The abdication involved a Nazi sympathiser (Edward VIII) and at the time, the newspaper was run by a Nazi sympathiser too.

Edward VIII met Hitler - and was one of the few people who were delighted to do so.

Edward VIII met Hitler – and was one of the few people who were delighted to do so.

And what exactly was this “worst crisis”? It was the threat of a Labour/SNP deal that, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband’s categorical assurances, will not happen.

The good people on Twitter saw through the headline immediately – of course – and set about undermining it with extreme vigour. There followed a series of candidates for ‘worst crisis’ – some in pictures. See for yourself:

There's no hot dinner, and you're the one who has to tell Clarkson #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication (Ian Fraser).

There’s no hot dinner, and you’re the one who has to tell Clarkson #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication (Ian Fraser).

How about this one?

Left the wean [child] with Nicola Sturgeon #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication (LynoSNP2016).

Left the wean [child] with Nicola Sturgeon #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication (LynoSNP2016).

Or this one, from screenwriter, novelist and recent Doctor Who scriptwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce?

Button Moon exposed as cruel hoax! There's no such place!!! :-0 #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication

Button Moon exposed as cruel hoax! There’s no such place!!! :-0 #WorstCrisisSinceTheAbdication

John Prescott got in on the act: “I had to eat fish and chips without vinegar tonight .”

Shona MacLeod offered: “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again .”

There was this, from Lawrence McNeill: “ pubs run out of Beer 

And of course this, from ‘Mr Ethical’: “Worst crisis since Daily Mail supported Hitler. .”

The Guardian‘s Patrick Wintour made a serious point: “Home Secretary should be entitled to display her ignorance of history but not to question the legitimacy of a free and fair election in UK.”

Let’s give cartoonist Gary Baker the last word – on a serious point: “It’s a good job Theresa May hasn’t got serious things to sort like child abuse claims otherwise her talk of ‘abdication’ would seem puerile.”

Yes indeed. What is happening about the Director of Public Prosecutions and Lord Janner – and why is the Home Secretary wasting everybody’s time on this instead?

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Tories and the police – it’s like an acrimonious divorce

Confrontational: Theresa May has made an enemy of the police. They'll be taking solace from the thought that one day they might be asked to arrest her. [Image: Daily Telegraph]

Confrontational: Theresa May has made an enemy of the police. They’ll be taking solace from the thought that one day they might be asked to arrest her. [Image: Daily Telegraph]

Does anybody remember when the police were the Conservatives’ best friends? This was back in the days of the Thatcher government, when she needed them as political weapons against the unions.

She gave them generous pay and pension deals, let them move out of the communities they policed (providing a certain amount of anonymity – people no longer knew their local Bobby personally), and put them in patrol cars rather than on the beat. In return, she was able to rely on their loyalty.

The same cannot be said today. Current Home Secretary Theresa May wants you to think the police service is out of control.

In fact, it isn’t. The problem for Ms May, whose position on human rights makes it clear that she wants to be able to use the force as a tool of repression, is that our constables have found better ways of upholding the law.

This is why May’s tough talk on reforming the police rings hollow. She wants to break the power of the Police Federation, our constabularies’ trade union – but her attack is on terms which it is already working to reform.

She has demanded that the Federation must act on the 36 recommendations of the Normington Report on Police Federation Reform in what appears to be a bid to make it seem controversial.

But the report was commissioned by the Federation itself, not by the Home Office. It acknowledges problems with the organisation that may affect the wider role of the police and makes 36 recommendations for reform – whether the Home Secretary demands it or not.

One is left with the feeling that Ms May is desperate to make an impression. She has been very keen to point out that crime has fallen since she became Home Secretary – but this is part of a trend since Labour took office in the mid-1990s. Labour brought in neighbourhood policing, police community support officers, antisocial behaviour laws, improved technology and (more controversially) the DNA database. These resulted from Labour politicians working together with the police, not imposing ideas on them from above; they brought the police back into the community.

Theresa May’s work includes her time-wasting vanity project to elect ‘police and crime commissioners’, and her time-wasting project to replace the Serious Organised Crime Agency with the almost-identical National Crime Agency.

She has taken a leaf from the Liberal Democrat book by claiming credit for changes that had nothing to do with her, suggesting that police reform only began when she became Home Secretary in 2010.

Is it this attitude to history that informs Michael Gove’s attempts to revise our attitude towards the First World War, as was reported widely a few months ago? If so, it is an approach that is doomed to failure and derision, as Mr Gove learned to his cost. Ms May deserves no better.

There is much that is wrong with the police service – and most of that is due to interference from Conservative governments.

Thankfully, with the service and the Police Federation already working to resolve these issues, all Ms May can do is grumble from the sidelines where she belongs.

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Failings over race earn Theresa May a figurative rap on the knuckles – twice!

Bad taste in the mouth, Theresa? Not nearly as bad as the flavour that faced British citizens, wrongly accused of being illegal immigrants because of your race vans.

Bad taste in the mouth, Theresa? Not nearly as bad as the flavour that faced British citizens, wrongly accused of being illegal immigrants because of your race vans.

Anyone with an ounce of brain in their head knew the Home Office was going to be banned from using its advertising vans again – the ones telling illegal immigrants to “go home”, in the language of “knuckle-dragging racists”, as Owen Jones so memorably phrased it.

That is, anyone except everyone working at the Home Office, including the Secretary of State – Theresa May.

The Advertising Standards Authority ordered the Home Secretary not to put the vans on the streets again, saying the phrase “go home” was indeed a reminder of a racist slogan and “clearly carries baggage”.

The authority also said the posters on the vans referred to inaccurate arrest statistics, claiming there had been 106 arrests in the area in the past week. The ASA said this was misleading as it did not relate to accurate arrest statistics for the specific areas where people would have seen the vans.

They were out in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow – areas the Home Office believe many illegal immigrants live and work.

The report stated: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the Home Office to ensure that in future they held adequate substantiation for their advertising claims and that qualifications were presented clearly.”

130804xenophobia

The ASA had received 224 complaints about the vans from individuals, campaign groups, legal academics and the Labour peer Lord Lipsey, who is from Vox Political‘s home constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire, we’re proud to say.

But in an impressive display of tightrope-walking the ASA said the van campaign was not offensive or irresponsible. While the “Go home” slogan had been used in the past to attack immigrants, its report said, the Home Office was now using it in a different context.

Oh! Well, that makes it perfectly acceptable, doesn’t it? Never mind the possibility that nobody seeing those vans in the street was ever likely to consider such a nuance, it was “unlikely to incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multi-cultural communities” because the intention was different!

What about the message implied by these vans – a message that was clearly pointed out by commentators at the time – that Conservative-leaning voters should treat with hatred, suspicion and contempt anybody who is not a white, Anglo-Saxon protestant?

What about the way they encouraged suspicion that another person may be an illegal immigrant?

What about the way the Home Office Twitter account spent the week-long pilot period in which the vans were traipsing round London tweeting messages about the number of illegal immigrants it wanted us to believe had been detected or turned themselves in? Can we believe those figures, if the number on the vans themselves was fake?

What about the photographs transmitted by the same Twitter account, of suspects who had been arrested, before they had been charged? Does anybody remember if any of these people were the white Anglo Saxons mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago?

What about the spot-checks at railway stations, where anybody who was not clearly white could be stopped by immigration officers wearing stab vests who demanded to see identification proving they were in the UK legally? How galling was it for British citizens – people who were born and raised in this country – to be faced by a flak-jacketed fiend who (it is claimed) became unreasonably aggressive when challenged over their right to behave in this manner without direct cause for suspicion?

What about the fact that the Home Office undermined its own arguments by being unable to reveal the different ethnicities of the people who were stopped – information that was vital in determining whether they had been breaking the law?

What about the fact that all of this effort was hugely out of proportion when considering the number of illegal immigrants it was likely to net? Forget forced labourers who are brought into the country but kept hidden by criminal organisations – these are not responsible for what happened to them and their cases are likely to be part of criminal investigations into the people holding them captive. Who does that leave?

And what about the possibility that this was not about illegal immigrants at all, but a sop to all those people – many of them Daily Mail readers, we expect – who believe that immigration of any kind is out of control? These are people who need to get to grips with the facts. As reported by this blog and others back in August, the UK has a lower immigrant population than almost any ‘developed’ nation; they are assessed via a points-based system, only seven per cent are asylum-seekers and only a third of asylum claims are accepted. They do not have access to most of the benefits available to UK citizens and what they do receive are nowhere near the same value. They are one-third less likely to claim those benefits, meagre as they are, than UK citizens.

The Unite union has been seeking legal advice over this matter, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has also been investigating this. It will be interesting to see what they say.

But a rap on the knuckles over bad information is a good start. Naughty, naughty, Theresa May!

On the same day, the Home Secretary – along with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – faced questions from two Lords committees on the UK’s 2014 opt-out from EU police and criminal justice measures, as part of a reopened inquiry.

If this opt-out is exercised, the Coalition government has listed 35 measures that it would seek to rejoin, and it is these that prompted the Lords to reopen their inquiries.

Parliament’s own website said they were likely to face questions on how they defined the national interest in selecting the 35 measures the UK would seek to rejoin, and whether the changes will break the UK’s obligations to European arrest treaties.

And there were questions to be answered on whether non-participation on measures dealing with xenophobia and racism (the issues at the heart of the matter with the advertising vans) sent an “unfortunate” signal to other EU member states that the UK, under a Conservative-led government, no longer regards those issues as important.

Fortunately for Theresa May, these proceedings do not appear to have been made public.

Internet surveillance plan will extend – not create – a communications ‘police state’

Nobody should be looking forward to having Big Brother watching us through our monitors, but he’s already reading our mail and listening to our phone calls.

Government monitoring of our mail and phone messages has been going on for years, and Theresa May’s plan to monitor every UK citizen’s online activity is merely an extension of this.

It’s still an unwarranted invasion of our privacy, but when has any government ever let that stop it?

According to the BBC, the current government’s plans mean service providers will have to store details of internet use in the UK for a year, to allow police and intelligence services to access it.

It will include for the first time details of messages sent on social media, webmail, voice calls over the internet and gaming in addition to emails and phone calls.

The data includes the time, duration, originator and recipient of a communication and the location of the device from which it is made.

Hold on, did I say “for the first time” details of messages on social media?

What about the police who called on a female disability activist last week, in her home at midnight, in relation to comments she’d posted on Facebook about the Department for Work and Pensions’ cuts?

According to her account on the Pride’s Purge blog, “They told me they had come to investigate criminal activity that I was involved in on Facebook… They said complaints had been made about posts I’d made on Facebook about the Jobcentre.”

(All right, I know what you’re going to say – those posts were publicly-accessible. The point is that the police are already using social media to target people – in this case, an innocent woman)

According to Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, the planned legislation is “absolutely vital” in “proving associations” between criminals, and it was often possible to penetrate the top of a criminal gang by linking “foot soldiers” to those running operations.

Is this in the same way the police were able to use the postal service to target terrorist gangs? Because I’ve got a story about that.

It concerns a young man who was enjoying a play-by-mail game with other like-minded people. A war game, as it happens. They all had codenames, and made their moves by writing letters and putting them in the post (this was, clearly, before the internet).

One day, said young fellow arrived home from work (or wherever) to find his street cordoned off and a ring of armed police around it.

“What’s going on?” he asked a burly uniformed man who was armed to the teeth.

“Oh you can’t come through,” he was told. “We’ve identified a terrorist group in one of these houses and we have to get them out.”

“But I live on this street,” said our hero, innocently. “Which house is it?”

The constable told him.

“But that’s my house!” he said.

And suddenly all the guns were pointing at him.

They had reacted to a message he had sent, innocently, as part of the game. They’d had no reason to open the letter, but had done it anyway and, despite the fact that it was perfectly clear that it was part of a game, over-reacted.

What was the message?

“Ajax to Achilles: Bomb Liverpool!”

Expect further cock-ups of similar nature, pretty much as soon as the current proposals become law.