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Immigrants built Britain. Now their Conservative children are disowning them
There are few people who have done more work for recent Conservative immigration policy while not actually being in government than Sajid Javid’s father. In fact, he’s doing two jobs at once. The first is to advertise that the Tories are now the party of social mobility: Javid senior was a bus driver. The second is to be invoked constantly as a defence against charges of Conservative racism and Islamophobia – as a Muslim man, born in Pakistan, who migrated to the UK in the 1960s.

Once this brownwashing is complete, Javid senior plays one final role, with a biblical twist – he is to then be denied by his own son. The route that brought him here – paving the way to his son’s spectacular rise through the City and the government — has been blocked. Under new migration policies, Javid senior would not have been allowed in.
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In this regard, it is consistent with Conservative attitudes toward class, work and race. Under the new immigration rules, there is no use for Javid senior — but his son, who made millions at Deutsche Bank, where he constructed precarious collateralised loan obligations using emerging market government debt, is absolutely welcome.
by:NesrineMalik  from:CommentIsFree  immigration  race  hypocrisy  SajidJavid  PritiPatel 
3 days ago by owenblacker
Tories ignored expert flood advice and courted austerity. Behold the results
The warnings in the Pitt review have proved correct, yet that expertise was ignored by Conservative governments – just as they ignored the opinions of a majority of macroeconomists over austerity, and the opinions of a majority of trade experts on Brexit. There is an obvious pattern here. Tory governments are more interested in policy-based evidence than in evidence-based policies. Why?

Part of the answer lies in the failure of the broadcast media, with only a few honourable exceptions, to hold Conservative governments to account. I have not seen any television reports on the recent flooding that have mentioned austerity – let alone the Pitt review.
by:SimonWrenLewis  from:CommentIsFree  austerity  politics  journalism  geo:UnitedKingdom 
4 days ago by owenblacker
The new Tory immigration system won’t work – except at the ballot box
Johnson’s plan is a political initiative masquerading as an economic one. Britain’s departure from the EU and its rejection of EU freedom of movement mean that new immigration rules are needed. But the governing approach in the new plan is to impress the voting public rather than to solve labour market issues that face businesses and domestic or overseas workers. The practical side takes second place to the message. Home secretary Priti Patel talked on Wednesday as though the new system would at last enfranchise 8 million UK workers to get the jobs that foreigners had been filling until now. This is total nonsense. The economically inactive are overwhelmingly students, retired or long-term sick. But it’s the immigration revolution headlines that matter.
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The Johnson government’s approach to immigration is of a piece with its general approach to Brexit. The idea that the interests of business are the government’s priority, or that the modern Tory party can any longer be seen as the party of business, are largely for the birds. That internal battle was fought and lost in the Brexit battles of the last parliament. The Tory party has become a nationalist party, sustained by the tabloid press, rather than a class party sustained by traditional business interests.
by:MartinKettle  from:CommentIsFree  Conservatives  immigration  BorisJohnson  PritiPatel  nationalism 
7 days ago by owenblacker
The government has learned its Windrush lesson — it can deport who it likes
For people on the receiving end of that toughness, what they experience is cruelty. This isn’t peripheral to how the UK immigration system functions; it is central to it. It is in detention centres, rat-infested asylum accommodation run by private contractors, dispersal schemes, immigration fees. But it also spans this country’s history, from the deeply antisemitic Aliens Act 1905 to the unequivocally racist Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968. “This is not a glitch in the system”, wrote Gary Younge in these pages about the Windrush scandal. “It is the system.”
by:MayaGoodfellow  from:CommentIsFree  immigration  race  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom  deportation 
15 days ago by owenblacker
Two years after Windrush, we’re deporting people who’ve only known Britain as home
Like Tayjay, many of those scheduled to be deported on tomorrow’s charter flight to Jamaica are more British than they are Jamaican. It is impossible to get a complete picture of who will be in the final 50, as there is no transparency from the Home Office, but I know of at least five people who arrived in the UK as children as young as two, five, seven and 11. I know of one man who was born in the UK to a Windrush generation mum. Six detainees had indefinite leave to remain in the UK – and a number of them could have received British citizenship as children but were unable to afford the high fees.

If this flight goes ahead, at least 41 British children will be deprived of their fathers. What problems will this create in their own lives? And who exactly is splitting up families supposed to help?

Every single one of the men has already served the sentence the judge deemed appropriate for their crime. Each has endured additional time in immigration detention centres. And now these men will receive a third punishment – complete ostracisation from their communities – which in some cases could become a death sentence. The Guardian revealed that at least five people had been killed after being deported to Jamaica since the Windrush scandal was exposed.
by:DavidLammy  from:CommentIsFree  race  immigration  geo:UnitedKingdom  colonialism  HomeOffice 
16 days ago by owenblacker
Stop the new deportation flights to Jamaica. They shouldn’t be happening.
The situation is that many are still facing Windrush-related issues, that neither the results of the Windrush compensation scheme consultation nor the consultation into “lessons learned” have been published. The government says dozens of people are awaiting decisions from the Windrush taskforce, although that might be an underestimate. It is shocking that the government is planning to deport at least 50 people in such a heartless, cruel and brutal way, tearing people away from their families, many of whom have been in the UK since they were small children, have no family ties in Jamaica and will be destitute and isolated.

Among those due to be deported this week is Twane Morgan. He was detained a couple of weeks ago while signing in with the Home Office. He has been held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre in London ever since. Morgan is one of a number of Commonwealth soldiers who have served in the British army to be caught up in this. He should be exempt from removal; those who have served in the army are entitled to become British citizens. Morgan enrolled in the army in his early 20s and served two tours in Afghanistan. He was medically discharged after three years with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He received no aftercare, was denied NHS services, was deemed to be an overstayer and developed bipolar disorder. It was not until 2017, 10 years after he was discharged, that he was able to see a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him as having complex trauma PTSD.
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Of those booked on the flight we know of one who was actually born in the UK but whose mother is from the Windrush generation. There is one who has been in the UK for 41 years and arrived at the age of four. Eleven had indefinite leave to remain in the UK already before they were targeted for deportation. Many of them have never visited Jamaica since leaving and have nobody there. One young blind man has been told that he can be cared for by his elderly grandmother, despite her having medical evidence to the contrary. More than 40 children will be separated from a deported parent. Again people are being told by the British government that they can parent their children by Skype.
by:ZitaHolbourne  from:CommentIsFree  race  immigration  HomeOffice  deportation  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom 
20 days ago by owenblacker
Facial recognition cameras will put us all in an identity parade
Yet, while the deployment seems small-scale and “targeted”, the technology is inherently indiscriminate. Live facial recognition of the kind the Met is deploying detects all faces on video footage and then compares the faces against watchlists. That’s why some have compared it to a virtual identity parade. When you walk past such a facial recognition camera, you are effectively standing in a lineup, with other pedestrians, alongside those suspected of crimes. Given that the system inevitably processes the biometric data of everyone, live facial recognition has the potential to fundamentally change the power relationship between people and the police – and even alter the very meaning of public space.
by:FrederikeKaltheuner  from:CommentIsFree  biometrics  FacialRecognition  police  MetPolice  geo:UnitedKingdom 
4 weeks ago by owenblacker
Without the BBC we could be facing a post-truth dystopia
We have seen that danger in Britain, not least in a Brexit referendum campaign in which contempt for the facts was a central feature, but we have not sunk as deep. Part of the explanation lies with the BBC. For all its flaws, it still serves to hold the ring, to demarcate a clearing in the forest of claim and counter-claim, where certain facts can be established. Once the BBC declares something to be a matter of fact, rather than partisan dispute, that itself becomes a fact, around which politicians and public figures have to negotiate.

You could see that in the MMR crisis, in which the BBC eventually made clear the scientific consensus had declared vaccines safe. Or its stance on the climate emergency, now the broadcaster has decided it need not pretend this is an issue to be debated between two equally respectable sides.

To be sure, the BBC took too long to get there, falling into the trap of both sides-ism, just as it gets other things wrong. One former BBC News executive witheringly describes a BBC worldview that is remainer-ish on Europe and status quo-ish on domestic policy, which “meant it never got Brexit in 2016 or Boris in 2019”. Things are likely to get worse with next week’s cuts, which will further reduce BBC News, says that ex-bigwig, while investment “goes into questionable extensions of the BBC brand”. Meanwhile, trust in BBC journalism is falling.
by:JonathanFreedland  from:CommentIsFree  BBC  journalism  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom 
4 weeks ago by owenblacker
What my attacker’s conviction taught me about taking on the far right
While our criminal justice system disproportionately locks up poor people suffering mental distress, or gives black men life-destroying jail terms for nonviolent drug offences, then perhaps there is little to mourn from a homophobic fascist being incarcerated. But again, what will be achieved?

The Ministry of Justice boasts of multiple programmes that help deradicalise prisoners — they are “tailored towards each individual”, a spokesperson claims. Yet as Chris Daw a barrister and writer on criminal justice issues, tells me: “In broad terms, the whole of the prison system is a complete failure when it comes to deradicalisation.”

Whether extremists are locked away for months, years or decades, Daw says, they are not deradicalised: often it’s quite the reverse, as they associate with people sharing views similar to their own
by:OwenJones  from:CommentIsFree  fascism  geo:UnitedKingdom  justice 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
If defending life on Earth is extremist, we must own that label
The police have always protected established power against those who challenge it, regardless of the nature of that challenge. And they have long sought to criminalise peaceful dissent. Part of the reason is ideological: illiberal and undemocratic attitudes infest policing in this country. Part of it is empire-building: if police units can convince the government and the media of imminent threats that only they can contain, they can argue for more funding.

But there’s another reason, which is arguably even more dangerous: the nexus of state and corporate power. All over the world, corporate lobbyists seek to brand opponents of their industries as extremists and terrorists, and some governments and police forces are prepared to listen.
by:GeorgeMonbiot  from:CommentIsFree  police  dissent  ClimateChange  ExtinctionRebellion  PritiPatel  Prevent 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
Nul points for Britain in the EU revision bong contest
Why, even in their moment of triumph, do the Brexiters need this self-pitying narrative? It is another episode in the blame game that has been implicit from the start of the Brexit saga. Brexit is inherently anticlimactic. This is not just because the botched process of negotiating withdrawal has turned the gush of liberation into a dribble, with Independence Days (29 March; 31 October) coming and going like a millenarian preacher’s predictions for the end of the world. It is not just because the special memorial 50p coins had to be melted down. It is because the act of liberation itself is fundamentally spurious.

Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch. Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom. How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.
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The divisions and anxieties created by Brexit will not end on 31 January, but even if they did, it would be a peculiar mode of national rejoicing: a prime minister celebrating the fact that the pain he is primarily responsible for inflicting is going away.
by:FintanOToole  from:CommentIsFree  Brexit  politics  MarkFrancois  BorisJohnson  stupid 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
There’s a reason why the royals are demonised. But you won’t read all about it.
But trust in [journalists converting the royals] is further compromised by the fact that none of the major players filtering this story for our consumption is exactly a disinterested bystander. All three of the major newspaper groups most obsessed with Harry and Meghan are themselves being sued by the couple for assorted breaches of privacy and copyright. There is, to any reasonable eyes, a glaring conflict of interest that, for the most part, goes undeclared.

For some years now – largely unreported – two chancery court judges have been dealing with literally hundreds of cases of phone hacking against MGN Ltd and News Group, the owners, respectively, of the Daily Mirror and the Sun (as well as the defunct News of the World).

The two publishers are, between them, forking out eye-watering sums to avoid any cases going to trial in open court. Because the newspaper industry lobbied so forcefully to scrap the second part of the Leveson inquiry, which had been due to shine a light on such matters, we can only surmise what is going on.
by:AlanRusbridger  from:CommentIsFree  PrinceHarry  MeghanMarkle  journalism  geo:UnitedKingdom  DailyMail  DailyMirror  TheSun 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
The left can’t sit out the ‘culture wars’. It must learn to fight them better
This preciousness was evident in Lisa Nandy’s latest Labour leadership election campaign speech, in which she criticised Labour under Jeremy Corbyn for letting Brexit become a “false culture war”. Nandy believes that Labour should have somehow stayed above the fray. But to declare that the Brexit culture war is “false”, to believe that it is a choice whether or not to engage in it, seems naïve. It’s like being in a real war, coming under enemy fire and suffering heavy casualties, but refusing to retaliate because you don’t agree with the premise of the offensive. Wars are either happening or they are not.

And the culture wars are happening. If anything, what’s “false” is the idea that one can treat them as a sort of political artefact that can be picked up and played with or discarded in order to pursue the things that really matter. If anything, Labour did not spar enough.

Underlying the disdain for culture wars is the mistaken belief that they are happening somewhere else, away from the serious business of high politics. But just as military conflict is a continuation of politics by other means, so are culture wars. The “false” tussles to which Nandy was referring played out on the ground, affecting people’s lives.
by:NesrineMalik  from:CommentIsFree  LisaNandy  Brexit  PoliticalCorrectness  censorship  Conservatives  politics  geo:UnitedKingdom 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
The trespass trap: this new law could make us strangers in our own land
But when you examine the proposals more closely, you begin to realise that they don’t stop at the persecution of travelling peoples. The way the questions are framed could enable the government to go much further than the official purpose of the consultation, potentially launching one of the most severe restrictions on general freedom in the modern era.

The consultation is everything such exercises are not supposed to be. It is confusing and heavily slanted. It is pitched in such a way that, however you might answer the questions, you are forced to agree with a profoundly illiberal idea.

For example, the first question asks: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that knowingly entering land without the landowner’s permission should only be made a criminal offence if it is for the purpose of residing on it?”It’s a perfect trap. If you agree, you consent to the curtailment of the traditional rights and lives of Roma and Travellers. If you disagree, you consent to the criminalisation of something much wider, which, throughout English history has been a civil matter: trespass on land.
by:GeorgeMonbiot  from:CommentIsFree  trespass  geo:UnitedKingdom  Roma  Gypsies 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming — and save the planet
Research by the thinktank RethinkX suggests that proteins from precision fermentation will be around 10 times cheaper than animal protein by 2035. The result, it says, will be the near-complete collapse of the livestock industry. The new food economy will “replace an extravagantly inefficient system that requires enormous quantities of inputs and produces huge amounts of waste with one that is precise, targeted, and tractable”. Using tiny areas of land, with a massively reduced requirement for water and nutrients, it “presents the greatest opportunity for environmental restoration in human history”.

Not only will food be cheaper, it will also be healthier. Because farmfree foods will be built up from simple ingredients, rather than broken down from complex ones, allergens, hard fats and other unhealthy components can be screened out. Meat will still be meat, though it will be grown in factories on collagen scaffolds, rather than in the bodies of animals. Starch will still be starch, fats will still be fats. But food is likely to be better, cheaper and much less damaging to the living planet.
by:GeorgeMonbiot  from:CommentIsFree  food  farming 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
Facebook’s refusal to fact-check political ads is reckless
Bosworth started his missive by explaining why Facebook would not use its own tools and practices to decide the outcome of the next election, even if that meant the election of a lying candidate. Facebook will, it seems, only put its thumb on the scale for a candidate or campaign when paid to do so, as a vehicle for targeted advertising.

Bosworth’s memo provided an early smokescreen for an announcement later in the week that Facebook was holding fast to its policy of not fact-checking or removing untruthful statements in political advertising. For those concerned about the fairness of elections, this was a disappointing response. Even a very low bar for claims would be better than no bar and, much more importantly, an agreement to stop using the targeting methods which segment voters on an individual level would limit the vast opportunities to run dishonest campaigns.
by:EmilyBell  from:CommentIsFree  Facebook  politics  propaganda  USElection2020 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
Harry and Meghan were meant to embody post-racial Britain. So much for that.
Everything that could have predicted the pair’s joint decision to step back as senior royals can be directly traced back through all the sensationalist and derogatory headlines written about Markle. She couldn’t even enjoy avocados without being framed as a drought- and murder-fuelling traitor, set on bringing down the monarchy. Harry, to his credit, has been by her side every step of the way, challenging traditions by demanding an end to the tabloids’ abuse of her, which sadly had little impact. If anything, it gave the news cycle more to talk about — but his actions were nonetheless commendable.
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News outlets speculated on everything from whether the wedding would end prejudice against mixed-race relationships, to whether it would boost business for black female entrepreneurs. But it didn’t take long for the tabloid onslaught, or for Markle’s mere existence to become a tokenistic rhetorical device for those who claimed our country didn’t have a problem with race. How could we possibly be racist if we have a black princess? As a successful, mixed-race woman from California, Markle became the media’s new punchbag, and her family weren’t spared media intrusions either. The contrast in treatment towards each of her divorced parents, however, was glaring: dog-whistles for her black mother, and sympathy for her white father.
by:AmnaSaleem  from:CommentIsFree  MeghanMarkle  race  journalism  monarchy 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
Australia is built on lies, so why would we be surprised about lies about climate change?
Early within the bushfire season we saw efforts to pretend it wasn’t really that bad, and that it was just those damn inner-city elites complaining, as they always do (it wasn’t). As things got worse, we were told it still really wasn’t that bad and that it definitely had nothing to do with climate change (it does). Then we were told it is that bad, but it was all the Greens’ fault (it wasn’t). Then we were told the government is giving everything the fire services have requested (they haven’t).

Then finally we have been told the Coalition government has never denied climate change and its links to fires (they have, and do), just as various Coalition members went on air telling us that there was no such thing as climate change.

I am not surprised by politicians showing such contempt, not just for the nation, its environment and its citizenry, but for reality itself – because that is the basis of how this country was formed. It has served countless politicians exceptionally well in the past.

Australia was founded on the lie that this country was terra nullius. It was founded on the lie that white men are the superior species. It was founded on the lie that the country was previously “unsettled” and that importing animals, plants, pests and unsustainable farming practices was how best to “settle” this “wild” land. It was founded on the lie that this is a “lucky country” and the land of a “fair go for all”.

Within my lifetime, I have seen the same lies play out to justify the Northern Territory intervention, to attack land rights, to justify inaction on climate change, to deny the stolen generations ever happened, to dehumanise and delegitimise the plights of Indigenous peoples, the unemployed, the entire “left”-leaning population.
by:LukePearson  from:CommentIsFree  AboriginalPeoples  geo:Australia  ClimateChange 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
Greta Thunberg: At Davos we will tell world leaders to abandon the fossil fuel economy
since the 2015 Paris agreement, 33 major global banks have collectively poured $1.9tn (£1.5tn) into fossil fuels, according to Rainforest Action’s report. The IMF concluded that in 2017 alone, the world spent $5.2tn subsidising fossil fuels. This has to stop.

The world of finance has a responsibility to the planet, the people and all other species living on it. In fact, it ought to be in every company and stakeholder’s interest to make sure the planet they live on will thrive. But history has not shown the corporate world’s willingness to hold themselves accountable. So it falls on us, the children, to do that. We call upon the world’s leaders to stop investing in the fossil fuel economy that is at the very heart of this planetary crisis. Instead, they should invest their money in existing sustainable technologies, research and in restoring nature. Short-term profit should not trump long-term stability of life.
by:GretaThunberg  by:JeanHinchliffe  byLDanielleFerreiraDeAssis  by:JoelEnriquePeñaPanichine  by:RobinJullian  by:LuisaNeubauer  by:LicipriyaKangujam  by:DavidWicker  by:JuliaHaddad  by:OladosuAdenike  by:IqbalBadruddin  by:ArshakMakichyan  by:HollyGillibrand  by:AlejandroMartínez  by:IsabelleAxelsson  by:SophiaAxelsson  by:EllJarl  by:MinaPohankova  by:LinusDolder  by:VanessaNakate  by:TokataIronEyes  from:CommentIsFree  ClimateChange  neoliberalism  capitalism 
6 weeks ago by owenblacker
The union survived this decade. But only just
Labour campaigned against independence in the Scottish referendum basically on the grounds that the working class on both sides of the border had a common history and shared objectives: class, then, rather than nation. As Douglas Alexander, then the cleverest of the post-Blair-Brown generation of Scottish MPs, told me at the time, referring ironically to “the inherently progressive quality” of the Scottish aristocracy: “The reason we have a national health service is not because of … the Duke of Argyll, [but] because a Welshman, Aneurin Bevan, secured the votes of working people across these islands in the cause of a progressive ideal.”

This was true, but it ignored the uncomfortable fact that the duke and Alexander were now on the same, unionist side; and that the SNP, particularly its deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, now framed independence as the most pragmatic route to social justice rather than the best means of preserving and encouraging national identity. No longer could it be labelled a party of “Tartan Tories”. Labour support among the urban underprivileged, particularly in the party’s old strongholds in the western Lowlands, such as Coatbridge, began to collapse.

That the unionists won the referendum was little thanks to places such as these, each with their equivalents, just as brimming with disenchantment, in the English Midlands, south Wales and the English north. David Cameron’s too-quick reaction to victory, promising counterbalancing English reforms to those the unionist side had promised Scotland, had its consequences in the SNP’s near total victory – 56 seats out of 59 – in the general election of 2015. But how was deindustrialised England to find its cure or get its revenge? The answer came soon enough, in the form of Brexit and Nigel Farage. In 2014, Alexander had rooted the appeal of both Salmond and Farage in their easy blame of “the other” – Brussels in Farage’s case, and London/austerity/the Tories/Westminster (“choose your descriptor,” said Alexander) in Salmond’s.

Another similarity, not easily predicted, was how the fantastical version of English history embraced by English nationalism would equal and then overtake the Caledonian delusions that the SNP was beginning to shed. It had lain dormant inside the fog of British history since Empire Day was last celebrated, but now sprang angrily to life. There had been claymores in the north; there would be Spitfires in the south.
by:IanJack  from:CommentIsFree  geo:Scotland  geo:UnitedKingdom  politics  SNP 
7 weeks ago by owenblacker

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