Suella Braverman’s “stop the boats” policy is performative, poisonous politics

As her speech continued yesterday, it became increasingly caustic (Image: PA)

Yesterday’s statement by the Minister of the Interior As Suella Braverman introduces the government’s new illegal migration bill in the House of Commons, she needs to highlight what it really is: a nasty, divisive and morally repugnant attack on the values ​​of this country.

I will only pick out a few elements of her speech, but rest assured that all politics must be questioned.

“Britain must always support the world’s most vulnerable,” Braverman said at the beginning of her speech, praising Britain’s refugee records.

However, figures from 2021 show that we have granted asylum to far fewer people than other European countries such as Germany and France, with 17 other European countries granting more asylum applications per capita than the UK.

Braverman then announced plans to limit the number of refugees allowed through safe and legal routes, which seems like an odd way of showing support for the “vulnerable” – and a cruel irony given the relatively small number of people who have actually been granted asylum here through these routes at the moment.

Despite claiming that we are “sheltering” Afghans, the latest available information as of January 2023 shows that literally zero Afghans have arrived in the UK via track 3 of the government’s ACRS resettlement scheme.

The Home Secretary accused me of “false indignation” when I challenged her for the shameful lack of safe and legal roads. But there is nothing false in denouncing that it will detain and deport asylum seekers for not using these routes, and then in one breath limit the number of refugees who can use them.

As her speech continued yesterday, it became more and more caustic. ‘The vast majority [of illegal migrants who came into the UK via small boats] they were grown men under the age of 40, wealthy enough to pay criminal gangs thousands of pounds a toll,” she argued.

But guess what, adult men can be refugees too – in fact, men are often the first targets – they can and are victims of trauma, torture and sexual violence. The narrative that male asylum seekers are somehow not dangerous or in need of protection is false and dangerous.

This baseless rhetoric of “us and them” is disgusting and divisive

This was followed by a statement by the home secretary that “by some estimates, there are 100 million people worldwide who could qualify for protection under our current regulations.”

He surely knows that this is a blatant misrepresentation designed to spread fear among the population – even though the UN estimates that 100 million people have been displaced from their homes, the vast majority remain in their own country.

The dehumanizing language continued, talking about “waves of illegal migrants crossing our borders” and “criminals breaking into the UK every day”.

It’s baseless “them and us” rhetoric – it’s sickening and divisive and should have no role in any serious political discussion.

But what was equally revealing about Braverman’s speech was what she didn’t say. “I will not go into all the legal intricacies of the act today,” she said. “The best legal minds in the country were – and still are – involved in its development.”

Why shouldn’t it address these complexities in the groundbreaking introduction of this bill?

Perhaps the “best legal minds in the country” simply cannot publicly justify this disgraceful bill.

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“We cannot issue a final compliance statement under Art. 19 sec. 1 lit. b) of the Human Rights Act,” she continued, “it would seem to be tantamount to confirming that, in its current form, this Act violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

Let’s be clear – this is not a credible bill, because it will not work. As with the government’s 43 previous failed attempts to tackle the Channel crossing, Rishi Sunak needs to know that this latest effort will make no difference – it’s performative, poisonous politics at its worst.

That’s because one of the most effective ways to stop people from putting their lives at risk in the English Channel is to establish comprehensive safe and legal routes now.

Refugee Council data shows that the number of resettlements is 75% lower than in 2019, and the number of visas issued for family reunification is 40% lower than before the pandemic.

Thousands of Iranians crossed the canal but only nine were resettled in the UK between January and September 2022.

For Sunak, it’s a purely political maneuver.

It is using Labour’s disappointing refusal to take a firm moral stance on the issue and is seeking the support of agitating Red Wall supporters concerned about the Tories’ poor poll results, all in a transparent attempt to bolster its own position ahead of its next term. weekday elections.

Braverman said in her statement: “My parents found security and opportunity in this country decades ago, for which my family is eternally grateful.”

She admits that her parents needed this chance, but apparently refuses to accept that refugees simply want the same thing.

And that’s why I’m telling Suella Braverman that we can’t accept her bill. Let’s make it clear that this is a truly grotesque and unworkable plan – and it needs to be stopped.

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