Cruelty Was Always The Point

The UK government’s descent into self-serving hardline politics

On The UK Governments Increasingly Barbaric Stance on Immigration

The UK government has gone into overdrive with short-sighted nonsense as of late. First, as I wrote for The New Climate publication less than a week ago, Sunak and co targeted and backtracked on their own green policies, essentially turning to hopes and prayers that this whole climate crisis will magically sort itself out:

And now, in front of a Thatcher-founded right-wing Washington think-tank, home secretary Suella Braverman will argue that discrimination and “credible” or “plausible fear” is not a good enough reason to grant asylum to LGBTQ+ people or women. She will also argue that the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention is not “fit for our modern age.”

Unsurprisingly, much like Sunak’s climate u-turn, Braverman’s speech has drawn fierce backlash, with Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council saying:

“A world where the UK and other western nations pull up the drawbridge and turn their backs on those who have been tortured, persecuted and faced terror because of their gender, sexuality or any other reason, is a world which turns its back on a belief in shared humanity and shared rights,”

Opposition party Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper also released a statement on the speech:

"The home secretary has given up on fixing the Tories’ asylum chaos at home so now she’s resorting to grandstanding abroad and looking for anyone else to blame. On her watch, dangerous boat crossings are up, the backlog of undecided cases is at a record high, returns are down by 70% and the taxpayer is now spending an astronomical £8 million a day on hotels - all because the Conservatives have time and again offered cheap gimmicks instead of getting a proper grip.

Thankfully, Braverman has no hope of rewriting the post-WW2 treaty designed to protect refugees from being returned or expelled from a country against their will if they fear for their lives or freedom. But that’s not what Braverman is trying to achieve here. Instead, it’s the latest in a desperate attempt at survival for the Tory government that foresees election defeat next year. By positioning themselves as the extreme anti-green, anti-immigration, anti-empathy party, they hope to inspire hardliners and the kind of people who read the Daily Mail and say things like “I’m not racist, but…”

Of course, the government already has a decent track record of defying human rights and treating asylum seekers as sub-human if that’s the sort of thing you’re after in leadership. Take their illegal immigration bill that denies slavery protections:

Coupled with that bill are the ludicrous attempts to send asylum seekers to Rwanda:

Then there’s the legionnaire-invested, dystopian prison that is the Bibby Stockholm barge “project,” which has been described as an act of “performative cruelty:”

Alongside these policies is all the general vile and heartless pettiness you can handle. Take MP Roderick Jenrick ordering cartoon murals at a children’s asylum seeker center to be painted over a few months back. According to Jenrick, the murals designed to bring a tiny bit of joy into the lives of traumatized children were too welcoming and sent the “wrong message”:

If it seems cruel, it’s important to remember that that’s the whole point when it comes to a government only interested in self-preservation at all costs. And unfortunately, cruelty, climate denial, and bigotry will still win you votes in this “green and fair land”. I can only hope that it doesn’t win them enough votes and that the treaties Conservatives are so keen to rip up will keep their inhumanity in check until the next election.

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