This morning there is a vile tweet doing the rounds as ill-advisedly put out by the BBC. It’s another of those Question Time moments when a member of the studio audience spouts inflammatory nonsense.
I don’t intend to give more details, as the woman going off on one about immigrants deserves no further prominence.
Her ill-informed words chimed with the government announcement about immigration controls. You’ll have spotted how Boris Johnson likes to chunter “Australian points-based system” as if reciting some sort of Harry Potter spell. He campaigned by slogan, and now he governs by slogan.
“We got Brexit done and put on a tea towel” has been replaced by this less catchy catechism. Incidentally, you can play at being Boris Johnson by endlessly repeating meaningless blather, as suggested below…
“Yes, people, our sky will be made of blue cheese. We will turn the sky into blue cheese. We will have a Stilton sunrise, come what may, do or die. Come what may. I believe the people want us to get on with some fantastic blue-cheesy things for this country. Do or die. Our sky will be made of blue cheese. We will fight them at the cheese counter…”
Pardon the distraction, but sometimes it’s tempting to give into distraction altogether.
The required 70 points sounds tough, but such a system is open to being manipulated, as helpfully pointed out by Stephen Bush of the New Statesman the other day, who said that governments tinker and tinker often with the point-scoring requirements.
There are so many displeasing aspects to all this, not least the bullying tone of Home Secretary Priti Patel, who insisted that banning low-paid foreign workers from entering the country was no problem as there are 8.5m economically inactive people in this country.
Turns out this ridiculous figure included students, those lucky enough to have retired before 65 (13%), carers and the sick, among others. That figure is an invention and a nonsense, but Patel clearly missed a trick, as she forgot about all those inconsiderately dead people cluttering up graveyards who could otherwise be put to more productive use.
There is an obvious question for the Home Secretary on this matter, and luckily Nick Ferrari of LBC was on hand to oblige. He asked Patel if such a points-based system would have prevented her parents from coming to this country from Uganda (and prevented his own family from moving here, too).
She initially denied this, blustered and said: “This isn’t about my background or my parents”, but then admitted that may be the case.
As they spoke, Ferrari remarked: “But it’s interesting, isn’t it? I don’t think I’d be here and I sense you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be sitting in my studio and you wouldn’t be Home Secretary in one of the biggest offices in the land, under your system.”
The Times has a sobering splash this morning, claiming that an unpublished report on the Home Office’s “hostile environment policy” that led to the Windrush scandal has been toned down after concluding that the department was “institutionally racist”.
The term reportedly appeared in an earlier draft of the Windrush review into the treatment of people from the Caribbean, but then apparently disappeared from later versions.
The Home Office told the Times that it had not yet seen the final report, which you can believe if you wish to.
Setting a salary cap and attempting to stop “low-skilled workers” will certainly create problems for those businesses that rely on such workers. But it’s also horribly restrictive and frankly depressing.
Can we really say that someone’s potential lies in how much they earn at a certain point; can we limit all human possibility and the richness of society to an arbitrary figure set to appease racist women mouthing off on Question Time and designed mostly to give an impression of toughness?
Anyway, here to cheer you up is the cover of the present edition of Private Eye.