Yashika, UKIP and us….

It was sadly poignant that the same day that Yashika Bageerathi was deported, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was trouncing Nick Clegg in a televised debate. The two things may seem unconnected – but they’re not, they’re intrinsically linked. Xenophobia rules the roost in the UK right now. The deportation of Yashika – and the death, just two days earlier, of Christine Case, in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre – may look like tragic, individual events but they’re not. They’re what a ‘tough’ immigration policy looks like. Yashika’s case has been highlighted as particularly cruel, but to imagine that it is unique is naïve to say the least. All the hand-wringing over Yashika, important though her case is, misses the point to a great extent. We’ve build this system. These are the consequences.

Pressure has rightly been put on Theresa May and James Brokenshire over Yashika – because they could potentially have intervened – but there’s remarkable political consensus over immigration policy, which is even more depressing than the individual case. Labour’s response to the deportation amounted to ‘keep on going with the same policy but be nicer in her individual case’. The Lib Dems wrung their hands as they always do, but May and Brokenshire are ministers in their government, and this is their policy being brought into action. What’s more, they (almost all) voted through the effectively racist and authoritarian Immigration Bill in December – Labour abstained, which was tantamount to supporting the bill. ‘Toughness’ on immigration is pretty much the norm. Whether the major parties are supporting it ideologically, through fear of UKIP, through fear of the more rabid of the tabloids (the Mail and Express have a particularly poisonous role to play), because they have no principles and believe it to be electorally advantageous, or because they actually believe in this ‘toughness’ in the end doesn’t really matter. It certainly doesn’t matter to Yashika or her family, or to Christine Case, or to the large numbers of others suffering as a result of it.

What is clear is that almost no-one in the political establishment is challenging the ideas that underpin this ‘toughness’ agenda. The idea that immigration is somehow ‘bad’ or damaging. The economic case against immigration is flimsy at best – most of the evidence seems to suggest that immigration is essentially beneficial to the economy. The historical case is equally flimsy – we’re a country of immigrants, the product of wave after wave of immigrants and invasions, from the Celts onwards. The moral case, as exemplified by Yashika and Christine Case, is even worse. And yet no politicians from major parties even dare to challenge the current anti-immigration rhetoric to a serious degree. A few (notably the Lib Dems in a recent policy document) dare talk about the positives, but only with huge caveats and statements about making sure it’s the ‘right kind’ of immigration and so on. Mostly, though, the consensus is clear. Clear, xenophobic, and wrong.

Why is this? Can we shift the blame to supine politicians playing to the tune of the tabloids and the tabloids’ masters? I don’t think so. We’re complicit in this, and deeply. We’ve let it happen – I don’t mean at the detail level, and I know lots of individuals who have spoken up boldly and bravely about it, but as a nation, this seems to be the way we’re going, and what we seem to be accepting – and even applauding, if the enthusiasm for Nigel Farage last night is anything to go by. That is profoundly depressing, and we should be deeply ashamed.

23 thoughts on “Yashika, UKIP and us….

  1. Many thanks if I dare say so Paul for your blog, theme today the growing nastiness in our society. From my increasingly depressing anecdotal experience, I have seen this nastiness being nurtured by the UK press and politicians and developing in people’s mind-sets for some years now. This sea-change more starkly evident to me as I am mostly abroad, only in England (home counties) from time to time to see my mother.
    I think that our ailing society has been given a subtle and growing permission to be nasty (racist), and “we” have been subtly told who to blame. These instructions been taken up with increasing keenness and lack of moral conscience. How many steps to a 1930’s Germany?
    As I said to my Mum (87) who trotted out (making conversation) one of her friend’s complaints that Roms beg outside shops, I replied that when I have seen a Rom begging I have never been bothered if I don’t give something – rather I am VERY bothered about my high street bank who fleeced me of £1600+ in false ppi, and with my life insurance company who have totally screwed my savings after fleecing me with their huge commissions – et al. All these finance industry folk are not begging Roms but nice English “how are you today love?” types – not that all nice English people I know have cheated me out of money mind you.
    The above is not the best sort of argument to get out and I know it, but I find it is the only one that makes all the new-born racists I am encountering stop in their tracks and say – “Oh, you’re right”. But ultimately that’s not fun for them is it? Having permission for an official hate target is much more comfy.

    • Actually if you look closely enough you will find that the international banks, they are not just British anymore, have a large number of non British staff at the top, inclusive of the Bank of England so they are not nice English folk you are complaining about.

  2. Reblogged this on jaynelinney and commented:
    Reblogged because Paul sums up exactly how I feel – ” We’re complicit in this, and deeply. We’ve let it happen – I don’t mean at the detail level, and I know lots of individuals who have spoken up boldly and bravely about it, but as a nation, this seems to be the way we’re going, and what we seem to be accepting – and even applauding, if the enthusiasm for Nigel Farage last night is anything to go by. That is profoundly depressing, and we should be deeply ashamed.” Oh Yes

    • You should be deeply ashamed of Camoron and Clegg the people who are in government not blame someone who isn’t and had no part in the decision making process whatsoever. UKIP policy in fact would not have lead to her deportation if you care to do some reading for yourself instead of listening to conlablibdum propaganda.

      • Perhaps you didn’t read past the first sentence of the blog. I’m not blaming Farage – and neither is Jayne. Farage is primarily a symptom of our xenophobic malaise, not a cause. In this particular case, however, there is a relationship: the Tories’ fear of UKIP makes them have to be ‘tougher’ and ‘tougher’ over immigration, even though many Tories realise that immigration isn’t anything like the problem that’s presented. So, to stop their voters seeping towards UKIP, they get tougher… and the result is things like this. Is UKIP the cause? Not directly, but without being egged on by UKIP, even the Tories might have seen sense.

  3. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I was one of those who took part in the Guardian/ICM survey immediately after the debate, and said that Farage won it. However, I went on to say that it did not change my opinion; I will not be voting for UKIP in any elections and I find many of Farage’s policies nauseating. He won the debate because Clegg was appallingly bad – unconvincing and patronising.
    Meanwhile, cases like Yashika’s are happening right now, because people are buying into a concocted lie that immigration is causing our problems. People need to wake up, take a look around and realise that attention is being diverted away from the people who really caused our problems.
    Is that really so hard to do?

  4. I find your position difficult to understand, you admit that Farage trounced someone who purports to know all there is to know about the eussr, but that wsn’t because Farage was right but because Glegg wasn’t knowledgable enough.

    You seem to be saying it is UKIP’s fault this deportation took place, and yet they did not make the decision they did not make the law on which this decision was made, in fact UKIP had precisely nothing to do with it.

    You claim UKIP is xenophobic because like the vast majority of nations in the real world, that is outside the eussr, they want to have control of our own borders and to be able to decide who is allowed to enter and stay in the country, and yet you clearly haven’t read the real UKIP stance on immigration, which does not say no one should be admitted despite what the media claim, it says that genuine political asylum seekers, and those who add to the British society are welcome, Yashika would actually not have been deported under UKIP policies so why is it UKIP rather than the parties responsible for this action that you have chosen to blame?

    • I’m not blaming UKIP or Farage – read the whole blog. I’m mostly lamenting the way in which so many people in this country have become more xenophobic. The rise of UKIP is one result of this, the ‘tough’ immigration policy another. Of course UKIP aren’t to blame. They don’t have any MPs – but the Tories are running scared of UKIP, so design their policies to appeal to those of their voters likely to defect. The result is xenophobic policies based on lies, misinformation and prejudice.

      On the other hand, anyone who has paid attention to the scaremongering tactics of UKIP over Romania and Bulgaria – and in particular, anyone with more than a passing knowledge of either of those countries – would find it very hard not to describe UKIP as xenophobic.

  5. Maybe you would like to post the letter from The Guardian’s columns today, purportedly from a working class East London resident of over 60 years standing, who puts forward a point view not normally seen in these blogs. I can only presume that you would dismiss that point of view because he’s old and he doesn’t understand WHAT he should be thinking in his twilight years. Clegg (and many other stupid British politicians) decry those who have the temerity to think that life in Britain was never, ever better than it is today. I can hear Clegg now: “There never WAS a golden age!” He and his corrupt fellows at Westminster (and Labour are far, far from being innocent in these matters) have brought Britain the desolate landscape that it now endures. I was desperately sad to have attended a Stop The War Coalition meeting in London last night (a 200 mile round trip) when, far from being united in a worthy cause, many attendees threw tantrums; walked out harrumphing like Old Colonels when their beliefs appeared to be challenged; or laughed out loud at inappropriate moments in pathetic attempts to draw attention to themselves. They did the memory of the War dead no service at all. Rather than creating a calming, unified and dignified atmosphere in discussion over a matter that, after all, can’t be changed 100 years on, the worst offenders almost provided a template for the bickering that begets conflict.

    • What on earth makes you think that I support anything that Clegg says? The man’s a spineless, inconsistent, careerist fool, in my opinion. And I wouldn’t dismiss anyone’s view – but I would be willing to argue with it….

  6. I have sent a letter to the French Ambassador in Mauritius, with a copy to Cameron, May, Ed Milliband, Yvette Cooper, The Labour Party. See if I get any responses! Yashika should be brought home to her family and friends!

    • Rather than write letters why don’t you go to Mauritius. Go to the villages and towns where people are on meagher incomes but respect their values and environment and would never contemplate the actions of Yashika family. My family came from poor backgrounds went to local schools and further education in Mauritius before applying for migration to the UK and to the US. They proved the system does work and hard work does work. Who are these asylum seekers from Mauritius why didn’t authorities help them in Mauritius. Yashika mother English is so bad there are a lot of English speakers she must have had help from a bogus immigration lawyer here and a family member she couldn’t have done this on her own. Why should Yashika be treated differently from her peers? This behaviour is diabolical they have turned their back on their country a country which would help them and they could live well because they like the UK.

  7. I agree hole heartedly with the decision to deport Yashika and don’t see this as Xenophobia. Xenophobia might be on the increase but this is not an example of this. I’m horrified by this story and Id imagine the Mauritian community in the UK would be as-well from having Mauritius depicted as an unsafe place. In addition seeing this mother and daughter claim asylum because of “abusive relatives.” This is diabolical misuse of the asylum system which reflects poorly on both Mauritius in dealing with this case domestically and other genuine applications for asylum in the UK. If the family had conceded to the decision to deport the government may have been in a position to allow Yashika to finish her A Levels but in the penultimate days there was a protest and media focus with the mother pleading for her to remain in the UK. Yashikas behaviour isn’t normal for someone who is born and raised in Mauritius and who came to the UK on an asylum application that had yet to be granted where is the acceptance to understand the situation youre in and that there are alternatives. I am pretty sure that she will study effectively in Mauritius and get her A Levels next year. A lot of people do resit their exams and she has a reason to resit her exams. The government followed the law reasonably and made the right decision. I don’t know anyone who would behave like her returning to her home country and not believing she can get on with her studies and where is her father? Yashika story is of a bogus asylum application to be in the UK to further her studies with her family, If her mother had any responsibility she would be on the first flight home to look after her children, I am ashamed to be Asian and Mauritian when I see this.

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