Home secretary Sajid Javid has rushed back from his £900 a night holiday home in South Africa in order to boost his Tory leadership credentials for the time when Theresa May bows to the inevitable and resigns. On the face of it, Javid has returned for wholly principled reasons, but this is politics for goodness sake. He’s done nothing in his office that he couldn’t have done via a video conference. However, appearances are everything, aren’t they?
It clearly wasn’t enough for the middle aged people debating the subject in the queue to get to the till in Morrisons today. I had to bite my tongue when I heard them loudly complaining about these “bloody immigrants” who should be “left to drown” or “sent back to where they’ve come from”, which presumably means Iran since that’s where the latest group of desperate people are from. And then it was that old chestnut: “we should be looking after our own first”.
It’s that phrase about “our own” that makes my blood boil. My experience is that almost everyone who says that does literally nothing to help “our own”. They talk a good game and blame foreign people for the country’s ills, often by procuring homes and claiming vast amounts in benefits to which “our own” don’t have access. That this doesn’t happen is neither here nor there. Someone down the pub said it did and it’s on the internet. It must be true.
Indulging in my own whataboutery, I have still seen no “serious incident” declared by Theresa May’s wretched government when it comes to the vast numbers of families who have nowhere to live or the million people using food banks. Or, for that matter, the homeless and the rough sleepers. In fact, in the news bulletin I just heard there was no reference to any of the above issues, apart from 40-odd desperate people risking their lives to find somewhere better to live.
Worse than that, the radio interviewer asked why was it that these migrants were all heading to Britain? Why did they not stop in the first ‘safe’ country? The fact of the matter is that they did. Some 40,000 Iranians who have escaped their backward and oppressive theocracy have arrived and remained in Serbia. The question itself was skewed.
But there are votes in migration, particularly when opposing it, cracking down on it, telling lies about it. Javid is back at his desk and not on safari because he wants to be the next prime minister. The son of a Pakistani bus driver wants to sound tough on foreigners. Irony is dead.