The disgraceful treatment of the Windrush generation is not some aberration that has been thrown up from the bowels of the Home Office, as some seem to think. It is symptomatic of the anti-migrant attitude that has grown over recent years. The “hostile environment” policy of the Home Office typifies the attitude to migrants, particularly since the Brexit vote. And the country is already beginning to reap what it has sown, with fewer and fewer migrants prepared to take their chances in that hostile environment. The UK will pay the price, with its ageing population and creaking public services that are in the main kept going by migrant labour. If this continues, the only ones getting their country back will be the fascists.
Windrush citizens’ treatment exemplifies Kafka’s nightmare, in which one is judged by the Home Office in terms of classification, hierarchy and deferment of responsibility. One’s complaint reveals that the “necessary documents” are lost or claims to long-term citizenship officiously, bureaucratically challenged; every “expert” is inexpert at satisfying justice. Officials are pompous and pedantic and what we presume to be a “rational process” is irrational, racist and pointless. It’s there in Kafka’s The Trial.
Keep up the good work, Shappi
Shappi Korsandi’s brilliant article on immigration and racism in Britain is one of the strongest I have ever read on the subject. It shines a bright, clear light on the evil involved and deserves to be published far and wide in the fight against the wicked treatment being meted out to people who, as far as I am concerned, are decent, upright, hardworking, British people.
Opelo Kgari’s story is harrowing, but not unique
I have just read Opelo Kgari’s harrowing account of the Home Office’s attempt to deport her. I don’t know the details of the case for her removal so I can’t comment on that. However, what concerns me is her treatment at the hands of her “captors”. What right does anyone have to bodily search someone else when no crime has been committed or even suspected, especially when the search leaves the victim feeling robbed of her dignity? And what right does anyone have to take away someone else’s legally acquired mobile phone (or other personal property) and prevent that person from talking to whoever she wants to? Why could Opelo not spend her time in transit talking to her friends?
Even if Opelo’s mother brought her to the UK illegally, as a child she was not guilty of doing anything wrong. The Home Office should ensure her human rights are not breached. Sadly, we know Opelo and her mother are far from unique in their experience of attempted deportation.
Time for Prince Charles to pay for his gaffes
The former footballer and now standup comedian Paul Gascoigne was fined £1,000 for joking to a black security officer, “smile please, because I can’t see you”. When a black woman told Prince Charles she was from Manchester, he replied, “You don’t look like it”. Can we look forward to the Prince’s collar being felt by the local plod with a view to a suitable fine being imposed on his royal not-so-highness?
The pension gap for women like me is wider than you think
As a woman born in October 1953, I agreed to pay full NI contributions for 40 years in order to qualify for a full state pension at age 60. I have kept my side of the bargain; in fact I have paid 43 years of full NI contributions.
I am now aged 64 and will finally be able to claim my pension from July this year. I now discover that I will not get a full state pension after all. Amid all the other changes to rules which have been retrospectively applied was one I missed.
I have two occupational pensions from my working life which did honour our agreement and, combined with my husband’s pension, enabled me to retire at 62. This means that I have not paid NI contributions since 2015. The changes to the rules in 2016 say that only 30 of my 43 years count and as I haven’t paid contributions from 2016 onwards I no longer qualify for a full state pension. I can buy extra years’ of contributions but my 13 years of overpayment don’t qualify.
I understand that the country cannot afford to pay pensions at the current rate but to penalise people who are of the generation that have worked hard all their lives is callous and mean.