AT WEDNESDAY’S Prime Minister’s Question Time, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd to resign – the only problem with this is that he didn’t demand not just her resignation but that of Theresa May and indeed for the entire Tory government to resign or be kicked out.
The outrage committed by the Tories against the Windrush generation, the thousands of people from the Caribbean welcomed into Britain after the war to rebuild the country and who have every legal right to British citizenship, is not just a crime that can be laid against the door of Rudd alone.
It goes back at least as far as the Tory 2014 Immigration Act, with its ‘deport first, appeal later’ basis, and the creation of a ‘climate of fear’ for every immigrant worker regardless of the legality of their status.
This status was made almost impossible to prove for the Windrush generation when a decision was taken by the Tory Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May, to destroy their disembarkation cards dating back to the ’50s and ’60s, a vital database for establishing their legal right to citizenship after the 1971 Immigration Act gave people who had already moved to Britain the indefinite right to remain.
The Tories were warned at the time of the consequences of this destruction but deliberately ignored all the warnings from Home Office staff just as they ignored the warning given four years ago in a Home Office memo that May’s hostile environment ‘would provoke discrimination’.
This led to people like Albert Thomson, who has lived in the UK for 44 years working and paying taxes, being denied cancer treatment unless he paid up £54,000! Countless others have lost their jobs and been denied benefits because they didn’t have the documentation demanded by the Home Office.
They have suffered years of agony trying to ‘prove’ that they are legally entitled to live in the country. Yesterday, it was reported that in the short time since a Windrush hotline was set up it had taken 3,800 calls and this was only the beginning.
The number of people wrongly detained or deported is not known, according to evidence Rudd gave to the Commons home affairs committee that questioned her yesterday – they don’t even bother to keep records.
This outrage is not some accident caused by overenthusiastic Home Office staff – it was the deliberate outcome of a deliberate policy pushed by Cameron when he was PM, enthusiastically pursued by Home Secretary Theresa May, who argued that it should be toughened up even more, and carried forward by Rudd, who similarly demanded even more vicious tightening of immigration attacks.
In an attempt to wriggle out of all responsibility, the Tories are simply reduced to lying through their teeth. May lied to Parliament when she stated last week that the boarding cards had been destroyed in 2009 when a Labour government was in power – she was immediately contradicted by the Home Office and those who actually carried out the destruction.
Rudd lied this week when she categorically denied to MPs that the Home Office set strict local targets for deportation that had to be met. Yesterday, she was forced to admit to the committee that strict local targets had indeed been set after Home Office documents revealed she had lied. Despite all this, Rudd insisted to the committee that she would not be resigning because she’s ‘the best person’ to fix Home Office problems!
Rudd is being kept in place for the time being probably because the Tories see her as a necessary shield for May – if she goes, May is right in the firing line and if May is forced out, this entire minority Tory government collapses.
Given that the Tories are desperate to cling on to power to carry on with their attacks not just on immigrant workers but against the entire working class, the question of the hour is the working class intervening to bring them down. This means demanding the TUC call a general strike to kick out May and the rest and go forward to a workers government and a socialist society that will welcome all workers from across the world.