Tag Archives: Home Office

When Prime Ministers Make Promises

On 14th April 2011, David Cameron made a promise:

So, taking all this into account, I believe controlling immigration and bringing it down is of vital importance to the future of our country.
That’s why during the election campaign, Conservatives made a clear commitment to the British people…
…that we would aim to reduce net migration to the levels we saw in the 1980s and 1990s.
Now we are in government, we are on track to meet that aim.

Nick Clegg thinks that the problem with that promise was that it was undeliverable:

“I said to David Cameron he shouldn’t make the commitment because it was inevitable he was going to break it because you can’t control the net figure… We said we were not going to do it as a coalition government. It is very embarrassing for the Conservatives. They made a huge amount of fanfare about it and they were warned by me and others ‘Don’t do this, it doesn’t make any sense’.”

(If you are a white UK-born LibDem supporter, however, the Conservative/LibDem government responsible for this is “The best UK Government of my lifetime”, so there.)

Labour think they’ll pick up votes by pledging to have more controls on immigration. Labour's anti immigration mug

(Though in fairness, Diane Abbott condemned the mug as “shameful” and the pledge as a problem, for which she was predictably condemned in the not-at-all racist Spectator. (There’s just something about Diane Abbott they don’t like.))
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Filed under In The Media, Racism

FGM

“In my next Friday prayers, I will make a sermon against FGM to let people know the harms that is associated to it. That will be my duty,” said Imam Ayuba Jaiteh of Tujereng village.

He further promised: “Also in other social gatherings, such as naming ceremonies, I will talk against FGM.”

According to the Home Office, up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 may be at risk of female genital mutilation. Since March 2004, it has not only been illegal to mutilate a little girl’s genitals in the UK (the first law against FGM in Britain was passed in the 1980s) it is also illegal to take a girl out of the UK to mutilate her genitals in another country. Anyone who does so can in principle be prosecuted and jailed for up to 14 years.

But there have been no prosecutions in the UK. Not because girls have not been mutilated, but because – according to Newsnight’s report last night – no effort has been made to prevent it:

[Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a French campaigner against FGM] walks me over to the Eurostar platform to tell me the story of two little girls who were about to board the train headed for St. Pancras to be mutilated in the UK.

“It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for the Saturday.

“A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey.”

The parents were cautioned. Had they gone ahead with the mutilations and been found out, they would have been imprisoned for up to 13 years.

“We simply will not tolerate this practice,” Isabelle explains.

Does she think many French children have been cut in the UK?

“Yes, because you do not care,” she says.

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Filed under Human Rights, Justice, Racism, Women

Lost your cat? Lab cage.

When I read Michelle Thew’s article I thought she was exaggerating:

The Home Office proposes for the first time to allow stray pets to be caught and used for experiments, for “environmental” or scientific reasons. This was despite unanimous submissions by animal welfare groups supported by many research establishments that the change was both unnecessary and unwelcome. No proposals are made for ensuring that an attempt be made to rehome lost pets rather than subject them to laboratory testing.

But she’s not.
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Filed under Cats, Sustainable Politics

Against the US National Defense Authorization Act

On 31st December 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. He claims to have done so because the Act was primarily setting a budget: the provisions added by Congress to the Act were verbally opposed by Obama before he signed the Act. But regardless of the signing President’s reservations, they now exist in US law.

This Act allows the US authorities to imprison civilians, without charge or trial, anywhere in the world:

The bill also contains provisions making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations. It also restricts the transfers of cleared detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries for resettlement or repatriation, making it more difficult to close Guantanamo, as President Obama pledged to do in one of his first acts in office. (ACLU)

Allowing people to be taken from the UK for indefinite detention without trial is probably already unlawful according to current UK extradition law. Regardless of how much the US promise they’ll treat their prisoners well.

The ACLU says:

The provisions – which were negotiated by a small group of members of Congress, in secret, and without proper congressional review – are inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution. Fundamental American values and fundamental freedoms are on the line.

Extradition is a matter for the Home Office. We cannot ask the UK government to make a legal ruling on another country’s law. We can ask, via epetition, for a clear statement by the House of Commons that there is no support in the British government for allowing the US to remove anyone from the UK under the provisions of this Act – British citizen, legal resident, not even a migrant labourer here illegally or an asylum-seeker whose legal status is undetermined. No one should be sent into indefinite detention without trial.

I suggest the wording of the epetition should be as follows:

Against Indefinite Imprisonment

Responsible Department: Home Office

Following the signing into US law of an Act giving US authorities legal power to imprison civilians indefinitely anywhere in the world, the Home Office should publish a clear statement that they will immediately require the transfer to British custody of any British citizen or legal resident of the UK who is imprisoned anywhere in the world under these powers of detention, and that no one within the UK will be transferred into US custody under the authorisation of this Act.

First draft. I’m very happy to take suggestions, comments, and revisions, but feel that it’s important for getting people to sign it that the epetition text remain as brief as possible. It’s impossible to add clarifying links.

The demand should be within what’s legally possible for a UK government department to do – it’s no use asking them to censure the US government for passing the law or to demand that they campaign against the passing the law.

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Filed under American, European politics, Justice