The irony of the Windrush saga, the momentum of the press and publicity that has unfolded over the last few weeks, can only be said to be part of God’s plan, that is if you are a believer. Here we are in the year of 75th anniversary of HMT Windrush reaching the shores of the UK in 1947, with the first cohort of economic migrants from Jamaica; a celebration that may have only reached those who were informed, but for the political controversy at the treatment of the children of the now oft-repeated group now known as the ‘Windrush Generation’. As a result of the umpteenth legislative immigration act since 1947, those being:-
- The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962
- The Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968
- The Immigration Act 1971
- The British Nationality Act 1981
- The Immigration Act 1986
- The Immigration Act 1988
- The British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1990
- The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996
- The Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997
- The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002
- The Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004
- The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006
- The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009
- The Immigration Act 2014
- The Immigration Act 2016
It has now become abundantly clear that all that immigration policy has ever been about is to control the numbers of people of colour on this apparently sacred land called the United Kingdom or sometimes known as Great Britain. It seems that the political class have got caught out again, serving their own interests. This sorry affair has been building up for a few years with news stories of Jamaican born, but living in the UK being published in the Guardian and posted on facebook, going viral amongst, the UK’s black community, which culminated with now the what will become the famous address by Rt. Hon David Lammy MP in parliament giving the Home Secretary Amber Rudd a dressing down at the treatment of 1,000’s of cases of displaced UK citizens unable to demonstrate proof of citizenship, because Home Office administrative errors such as destroying landing cards which would have evidenced their status. David Lammy for once does not mince his words, and in his moment the black community, could only be proud that he was their to condemn the hostile environment and far right rhetoric of this immigration policy.
So how did we get here? A well known edict in politics is about ensuring that you as a party are electable, having a sense of where public opinion is, especially those who you know are going to use their vote. It is well known in political circles that how you position your party’s manifesto on immigration policy can make all the difference. Hence the reason why the Labour, themselves sought to position themselves a little bit more right of centre in latter years knowing that the conservatives always had the trump card of scaring the electorate, that Labour would let everybody in without any sanctions. For the most recent example all we need to do is reflect on the country’s response to Brexit and Europe, to get an understanding of how people in the UK relate to difference.
In reality this is really more black and white than we care admit. Ever since the fateful emergence of a black community in the post war era, on a political level there has been a delicate posturing about the blatantly obvious. That being that discrimination exists, and the inevitable reality that racial discrimination is likely persist in some shape or form in the UK for the foreseeable future, especially where there is a power dynamic in terms of access to resources.
However in the political sphere, it could be said that those given the responsibility of governance and the many challenges that are incumbent on those who have that privilege, are accountable in terms of providing leadership that displays a clear understanding of what is equitable and just.