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Immigration: just fobbing the public off

Trying to keep track of the Government's latest policy on asylum-seekers is like swatting at a quickly moving fly. It changes position with quite bewildering speed and regularity. As these words are typed into our computer, a newspaper report lies on the table by the side. It contains a headline saying: "Blair plans U-turn on EU's new migrants." In the text below it says:-

'Tony Blair is ready to perform a hurried U-turn on "benefit tourism" and growing concern over the expected flow of Eastern Europeans to Britain later this year.

'Downing Street is working on last-minute moves to discourage thousands moving from the former Soviet bloc once their countries join the EU on May 1st.

'Ministers are determined not to budge on their decision - unlike most other governments in Europe - to give working rights to migrants from the ten new EU states.

'Instead, they are set to unveil measures which will give migrants the right to work, but make them wait longer before they are entitled to benefits.

'Welfare payments may also only be made to those who have found permanent work and paid taxes.'

This report comes from the Daily Mail of the 17th February. For all we know, the policy may have changed completely by the time this issue reaches the reader. Where immigration rules are concerned, Mr. Blair is just running around day-to-day like a headless chicken as one emergency overtakes another. He is watching the newspapers constantly to see the way public opinion is responding. If there is another sign that the natives are getting restless, another policy 'initiative' is announced, and it will deserve to be taken with just about the same seriousness as the previous one. Tony is making up policies on the hoof, without really thinking anything through at all.

Just suppose we take this latest scheme at face value. Immigrants land here and cannot immediately be found work - or alternatively refuse offers of work. What is to be be done with them? According to the Blair formula they will be denied benefits. So if they are without means they will starve! Can you see this Labour Government allowing that to happen? Can you see such a government sending them back on the next boat to wherever they come from? Let's 'get real', as they say. They are going to be housed and fed, and so this means they will be receiving benefits, whether in cash or kind. Stop pulling our legs, Tony!

National police force just another gimmick

With public unrest about the crime wave reaching new levels of intensity, with millions despairing of the authorities' ability or willingness to get a grip of the criminals, it was announced last month that the Home Office is planning a new national police force based on the pattern of the FBI in America. Its assignment will be to specialise in crime investigations of a nationwide character which are beyond the capacities of the present forces, organised on a county and regional basis.

There may well be an argument for such a force; we would like to hear the opinions of a selection of experienced senior police officers before coming to any firm conclusions on such a matter. Ever since Sir Robert Peel introduced policing to Britain in 1829, our country has managed with purely local forces, which, of course, have always liaised and co-operated with each other when appropriate. It seems now, however, that this is not enough. The sheer scale of organised crime is said to warrant the introduction of a new force with new powers. Well, maybe.

But the big question that has to be asked is: will this, under present conditions, really make any difference? The essential reason why crime-fighting is failing in Britain is not its localised nature; it is that one government after another is simply refusing to allow the police to tackle crime and criminals properly. Political correctness rules everywhere. Chief constables are being appointed in one area after another who are selected, not on proven competence and record, but because they are perceived to have the 'right' attitudes on a wide range of issues, such as race, sexism and 'gay' people. They are required to be officers imbued with equal concern for the rights of the criminal as for those of the victims of crime. They must favour 'softly softly' methods of law enforcement. They must ensure that the forces under them carry out 'equal-opportunities' programmes with regard to recruitment and promotion (which, in effect, mean unequal opportunities, since they involve minorities being given special preference, irrespective of merit).

Just supposing the projected national police force is formed, it will be completely useless if its operations are governed by the same rules of liberalism and political correctness; and that is virtually certain to be the case if this Government has anything to do with it. The whole thing will just become one more hugely expensive bureaucracy, offering lucrative employment to largely superfluous people. As an organisation for fighting real crime it will be 90 per cent ineffective.

But of course, in the meantime its announcement will enable Blair & Co. to kid a few more people among the long-suffering public that the Government is really 'doing' something about the crime epidemic.

'Probably' guilty!

But that is not the only gimmick the Government has up its sleeve in the law-and order department. Last month Home Secretary Blunkett revealed a scheme designed, supposedly, to make it easier to bring terrorists to book. The idea is that prosecutions could be made before acts of terrorism had been committed - merely on the supposition that they may be in the planning process; trials would take place in secret; advance notice of prosecution evidence could be denied to defendants; and the burden of proof for conviction could be reduced from "beyond reasonable doubt" to "on the balance of probabilities."

One wonders whether the Government really is serious about these proposals. They involve chucking centuries of British legal habit and tradition out of the window. They are proposals which would be mouth-watering to would-be tyrants of the Joseph Stalin pedigree. Their potential for abuse is so obvious and so enormous that it is incredible that even people in this present Labour Government could give them two minutes' thought.

And there is a hidden sting. At the moment the scheme is being talked about merely as a means of nailing would-be suicide bombers and the like. But would it stop there? A logical next step would be to extend it to virtually anyone whose politics are not acceptable to the powers that be and who might be considered a potential 'terrorist' for that reason. A secret court could decide that "on the balance of probabilities" such a person had opinions liable to lead them, later if not sooner, to acts of terrorism. Now whom might they have in mind?

Army discipline slipping

The British Army at almost all times in history, even when it has not had greatly competent commanders, has been known for its high level of discipline. But now this tradition is being seriously undermined. Not only have the tentacles of political correctness obtained a grip on the armed services over the past few years but now there is an additional problem making for lower disciplinary standards: the increasing dependence of the army on foreign soldiers.

With the native British birthrate in decline, there are fewer young men and women around to form a pool from which armed forces personnel can be recruited. Apart from this, the entire youth culture, nurtured by New Labour in particular but all the mainstream parties to some extent, has downgraded the value of military traditions and hence the appeal of military life. Also, the appalling physical standards that are to be found among so many young people today, the result of a scaling down of school sports, mean that many youngsters, even if they want to join the forces, have to be rejected as unfit.

The Government's answer? Recruit foreigners! After all, race no longer matters. Nationality is old hat. The forces are not for defending Britain but for global 'peacekeeping'. So what does it matter where the recruits come from? All this is current 'Cool Britannia' thinking.

But the scheme seems to be misfiring. According to a report in the Daily Mail on February 16th:-

'The Army is facing serious discipline problems with thousands of foreign soldiers drafted in to fill gaps in the ranks, the Daily Mail can reveal.

'British commanders are struggling to cope with troops who refuse to take orders from countrymen from different tribal groups - and with 'idle' recruits.

'The problems are said to be most acute among Fijian soldiers who have flocked to join the Army.'

An Army spokesman was quoted as saying:-

'The Army was so desperate for people it wasn't thought through. Now a lot of Fijians have developed what the Army would call 'attitude problems', and it's causing real disruption.'

Well, as indicated earlier, this Government thinks virtually nothing through, so it is no surprise that it has failed to think through the consequences of depending on Fijians and other foreigners to man our armed services. The solution, of course, is to change the home environment on which the forces depend for both the quality and quantity of recruits. But there is no chance of this without a revolution in the politics of this country.

Thinking for themselves?

"The teaching of religious education in schools should be renamed spiritual education, with children being taught more about atheism and less about the life of Jesus and the Ten Commandments, according to the Government's favourite think-tank." Thus began a report in the Sunday Telegraph on February 15th. The report went on to say that what was being proposed was that...

'The lessons should be widened to include "non-religious belief systems" and for equal weight to be given to agnosticism and humanism as is given to Christianity. Children should also be taught about cults such as the Baha'i...'

But here's the really choice bit. Among the recommendations are that "children should be taught to question the plausibility of events and teachings in the Bible," and that "pupils would be actively encouraged to question the religious beliefs they bring with them into the classroom, so they are genuinely free to adopt whatever position on religious matters they judge to be best supported by the evidence."

Now that really is an interesting idea! It opens up all sorts of possibilities. If pupils in schools are going to be encouraged to 'question' conventional beliefs, would this apply to other areas of dogma such as, for instance, the presumption that all races are equal and that Britain benefits from 'diversity'? Then what about the official teachings on the 'holocaust'? Should our youngsters be free to adopt whatever position they judge to be best supported by the evidence? Somehow we do not think this kind of free-thinking is quite what the think-tankers have in mind!

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