Friday 11 August 2023

The Sinking of Boat Week

With Rishi Sunak out of the country, this week was supposed to be "boat week". An opportunity for the Tories to play to their (self-) perceived strengths by beating up on asylum seekers again. It's one of the Prime Minister's priorities, after all. Having been thwarted over the Rwanda plan and there being no signs of the boats ferrying people across the Channel ending, Suella Braverman needed something to burnish her reputation for cynical brutality. The timing of the opening of the government's first floating prison was just the ticket.

Despite the campaigns of opportunist backbenchers, the sensible plan to house asylum seekers in hotels as opposed to detention centres/internment camps has come under pressure from the Tories' press allies. It has allowed for a whipping up of froth about the supposed luxury that greets the "guests", as well as complaints about the money getting shelled out by the "taxpayer". This would be ideal political pickings for the Tories if they weren't the ones overseeing it. Having long decided that posturing is more important than resettling traumatised people fleeing war, drought, and poverty, finding a "solution" that earns them cruelty points was a must.

The employment of the Bibby Stockholm is part of a £1.6bn "migrant barge" scheme. Timing its opening to boat week was, of course, intentional. And, as with so many outrages committed by this Tory government, they wanted publicity for their "tough stance" drummed up by their political opponents. And so the Fire Brigades' Union said the barge was a "potential death trap". There was a Mirror piece reporting how one guy suffering with TB was to be interned there, and NHS Dorset had prepared a plan for infectious outbreaks, which the government completely ignored. But these were the optics the Tories wanted. The more unpleasant life on the barge was painted, the more political credit they accrue from beating down on a long-scapegoated group. And so the concerns were brushed aside and the first inmates boarded the barge.

Unfortunately for the Tories, nasty politics only works if you're seen to be competent implementing it. With Legionella found in the on-board water system, the Home Office was forced to evacuate the inmates. It appears basic checks were not carried out, which leaves the Stockholm's owners on an unwanted legal hook, while making the government look amateurish. It is getting to some, with anonymous anti-Braverman briefings doing the rounds. Not great news for someone with leadership ambitions. It will be weeks before the barge can be used again, and who knows what delays it might cause the rest of the "fleet" as they get checked out.

For anyone hoping this episode will lead to Braverman's sacking or a change in policy, both are incredibly unlikely. Sunak deliberately took Braverman back on precisely so these kinds of schemes can get dreamed up and implemented. With absolutely nothing positive to offer, the Tories are stuck in a rut where they think culture war and racist policies can pull the same populist trick Boris Johnson managed. It should be obvious by now that this was a one-off and the circumstances surrounding it ended when Britain left the EU and Jeremy Corbyn was replaced as Labour leader. No. Sunak, Braverman, and their disgusting attacks on refugees stands and falls together. As it surely will when the election comes.

Image Credit


Phil said...

The poor guy with TB was going to be interned on the barge, not "interred"! (AFAWK.)

David Lindsay said...

Robert Jenrick was so bent that even Boris Johnson had to sack him, and Suella Braverman was reappointed a week after she had had to resign due to a major breach of security. They ordered the painting over of a mural of Mickey Mouse because he was too close to home.

Of course they knew that there was Legionella on the Bibby Stockholm, but they were too stupid to realise that the staff would also be able to catch it. They ignored the Fire Brigades Union because it was left-wing, but the Prison Officers' Association is no less so, it is unburdened by affiliation to what remains of the Labour Party, and the former Prison Officers who are staffing what is supposedly not a prison ship are presumably still in it, but no longer under a ban on industrial action.

Dipper said...

I think the left wing view on this is simply not joined up.

There was a young man from Gambian who had made his way here from France on a dinghy who said he wanted to come to improve his economic position (I paraphrase).

Now, if you approve of people, particularly young men, who are not citizens of the UK being able to come here to 'improve their economic position', then why wouldn't the UK Government simply organise the transportation themselves? We could set up offices in West African and middle eastern countries, advertise 'want a better life - come to the UK' and ship them in. And surely the more we bring in, the better that would be.

Would you be in favour of that? And if not, why would them turning up in a Dinghy in the channel be a sufficient reason to stay?

Dipper said...

1. To be more succinct, you can either believe migrants in the channel have a right to be in the UK, in which case it is not reasonable for them to have to make a dangerous life-threatening trip to exercise that right and we should give assistance at source, or else you don't believe they don't have a right in which case you should support sending them back. Supporting the current situation is not a tenable position.

2. One issue is the extent to which they are refugees. Currently they are allowed to self-id as refugees. this leads into a general issue around self-id, in that we have 'standard' rights, and then for select vulnerable groups namely women and refugees we have additional rights. Allowing people to self-id into these categories is causing mayhem. Self-id is simply not an acceptable way for a legal system to dispense rights.

Anonymous said...

Dipper - they don't "self id" as refugees you sanctamonious prick. That's why there is a backlog of 170,000 people (people, like you & me) waiting for a decision to be made as to whether they will be granted refugee status or not.
Ps you are more likely to become a refugee than a millionaire.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to anyone here that Dipper's "joined up" thinking seems to skip right over a few inconvenient facts.

One of the bigger elephants with which he shares his squalid little room is this one. Even if you accept that these desperate migrants shouldn't be here, "sending them back" in any morally defensible fashion relies on "back" (wherever that is) being willing to accept them, AND reasonably expected not to persecute them. In practice it very often turns out to be hard to fulfill these conditions, as those inconvenient courts keep reminding us.

Anyone who wants us to solve this by leaving the UNCHR, or by stopping the courts from enforcing it, had better make a moral case for why we should give the government carte blanche to send vulnerable people against their will to countries where they may be in great danger. If that case isn't made, then others will quite reasonably assume that the people who are against the UNCHR are simply devoid of publicly defensible morals.

Furthermore, one of the leading factors placing these people in danger in large parts of the world is their sexuality; and if anyone doesn't want them to be allowed to "self-id" THAT, then let's hear loud and clear exactly how the objectors think that it should be determined...

As our blogger rightly points out, literally everything that the government is doing about this issue is pure theatre, nothing but deliberately grotesque optics, attempting to woo the votes of people who are morally and/or intellectually stunted. People like Dipper, presumably. They made a show of bribing Rwanda to allow us to dump a completely insignificant number of people there; which wouldn't have dented the problem even if any of that dumping had gone through. They built an uninhabitable floating tower block; which even if they had been competent enough to make it habitable, would also be capable of housing an insignificant number, again failing to dent the problem. They are simply not serious, and it's very obvious to anyone with at least two wits to rub together. If they were serious, then they would have spent the cost of that barge on constructing a similar amount of far more practical housing on land. But then it might not have looked enough like a prison, and it wouldn't have appealed to cretins like Dipper, which is clearly their actual aim.

Dipper said...

Your friendly Sanctimonious Prick of a Tory Cretin here.

How does one go from being a Labour Party member to being a servant supporter of the 'right-wing' of the Tory Party? Easy. Take left-wing views on humanity, and add two principles. Firstly, People respond strongly to incentives, particularly financial ones, hence every decision that has consequences creates an incentive which will produce changes in behaviour, and Secondly, Nothing is Free. Every political decision you make has financial consequences and those consequences need to be funded, which leads straight back to the first principle. When you add those principles to your politics it stops people behaving politically like they are ten years old and every day is their birthday, and starts to make people take responsibility for outcomes.

And so to the 'comments'

they don't "self id" as refugees lots of them do exactly that. It's part of the joining instructions on their journey. Destroy your ID, claim you are a refugee, are a child, are a modern slave, are gay and live in a country that persecutes gay people, and the British state will not expel you. This is manifestly true.

'"sending them back" in any morally defensible fashion relies on "back" (wherever that is) being willing to accept them' This is a massive incentive, which inevitably produces a massive demand. Literally everyone on the planet can gain entry by following these simple instructions - piss off your country, come here and say that because you've pissed off your country you cannot go back, and you won't be sent back.

'one of the leading factors placing these people in danger in large parts of the world is their sexuality' I believe that same-sex marriage has been a great development and the widespread acceptance of homosexuality has been one of the great achievements of our age. I think that Uganda, should not have laws against same-sex sexual activity or relationships. But I don't have a vote in Uganda. Following independence for the British Empire they are now free to decide their own policies, and they don;t need our permission. Presumably you agree that they should have that right? That is, after all, what independence means. Rewarding people for breaking the law seems to me a very dubious policy. And of course it creates an incentive. I'm an extremely straight heterosexual person with absolutely no interest in same-sex sexual activity, but even I could be persuaded to participate in such activity if I thought it would get me a ticket to a richer nation.

"literally everything that the government is doing about this issue is pure theatre" well yes. As Farage et al repeatedly point out.

"They built an uninhabitable floating tower block" they rent a well furnished-block that had previously been used to house oil-rig workers.

And when we have finished debating all this we are left with the fundamental question of whether a nation can control its own borders, and if it cannot control its borders, to what extent is it actually a nation? On a simple personal level, if you cannot decide who lives in your flat/house whatever, is it actually your flat/house? And if this nation has no means of actually deciding who lives here and who doesn't where does that leave the current population? And if the Equality Act is interpreted to mean that any non-native person has superior rights to the native population, where does that leave the native population?

Simple, obvious questions which will get absolutely no answers on here.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the tedious hypocrisy of Dipper braying self-importantly that his "simple, obvious questions" - which appear to be nothing of the sort, being merely a sort of half-assed manifesto - will get no answers on here, whilst he himself offers nothing but lazy straw man responses to criticisms of said manifesto, will also fail to be at all surprising to anyone who has encountered him before.

And, as memorably stated by somebody else who went viral a few years ago by saying it... There's not much point in calling right wingers out on hypocrisy, because if they possessed a rich enough emotional inner life to feel guilt from hypocrisy, then they wouldn't be right wing. Hence why I don't bother addressing this comment to Dipper himself. It is interesting to note in passing his open admission to believing that all people are motivated mainly by self-interest; an extremely naive point of view in both biological and social terms, and one that I assume he arrived at by careful study of his reflection in the mirror. This is presumably also why he appears not to see any worth in trying to portray himself as having publicly defensible morals. You don't normally see politicians - even shyster weasels like Farage, who make only the most minimal attempt to hide the debased variety of people that they are trying to appeal to - fronting up with that kind of image! One might guess that perhaps morals, of one sort or another, are actually important to most people...?

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's worth also wearily pointing out a couple more room-filling elephants that Dipper has ignored for his own intellectually dishonest convenience.

The fact that nobody, apart from Dipper's contemptible fellow travellers, are suggesting that the Equality Act grants "immigrants" superior rights to "natives". It would be nice to see them try to lay out in full exactly what that view is based upon; but we'd be lucky to get that, because most of them seem to at least dimly understand that if they made that case in full detail, then it would wind up pointing the finger at very different (and much less vulnerable) villains than the easy scapegoats which they would prefer to frame. They have sufficient cunning to recognise that their argument depends on the gullibility of the listener for its credibility, and therefore needs to be kept in soundbite form.

The fact that the arrival of illegal immigrants is barely related at all to a nation's "ability to control its borders". If Russian jets come knocking, then the UK is quite capable of sending them packing. But Russian jets can and will turn around and go home when faced with operational air defences. Desperate people turning up in sinking dinghies is a very different case. Despite national borders almost always being vast in relation to the nation's physical resources (and ours certainly being so), our coastal stewards do nonetheless usually know of the arrival of these boats, which then raises another question that Dipper won't answer openly (like others of his species, he appears to possess at least this much cunning): since you can't make them turn around and go home, and you know that they wouldn't make it there anyway, do you let them in, or do you murder them...? If Dipper wants cold blooded murder, then let's hear him come out and say that.

I may or may not bother later with his other "simple, obviously leading questions". I have other things to do. Suffice to say that they can be addressed in similar fashion.

Dipper said...

So we've reached the point where lefties stop arguing because they have no more arguments and go into a kind of high-status pompous whine ...

it is interesting to note in passing his open admission to believing that all people are motivated mainly by self-interest oh all those people in dinghies in the channel are for my benefit! RMT strikers are striking for higher pay not for themselves but for the greater good!

Acting in your own self-interest is a good thing. It means people's motivations can be understood and negotiations about power and relationships can be had. It is when people act in what they regard as other people's best interests that the trouble starts.

nobody, apart from Dipper's contemptible fellow travellers, are suggesting that the Equality Act grants "immigrants" superior rights to "natives" that's exactly what it does time after time. Both my sons were unable to apply for particular internship schemes because they were restricted to women and people of colour. So that's a clear example that occurs multiple times every year. You know this. Ask any young white man. Refugees get priority housing, so if you grant self-id, then anyone can come here, claim refugee status, and get priority housing.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, the tiresome whine of a mosquito is just what Dipper's latest contribution brings to mind.

Still making simplistic soundbite arguments in the hope of influencing angry, barely-literate simpletons. I know that's not what really brings him here - the attention is what does that; he'd have far superior moron-hunting prospects elsewhere. Still wilfully ignoring the inconvenient and frustrating complexities of the real world, and betraying no awareness that he is even capable of realising that he is doing this. Still lacking either intent or capability - or both - to get into something that might qualify as a constructive discussion, rather than as merely a warning to others.

"Nobody can deal with my arguments", he complains! Only in his head, and because he apparently can't read. He seems to understand enough of English text to work out that the general tone of a reply is that of an ideological opponent, and enough to pick out individual phrases or sentences that he can construct some kind of indignant response to, even if the response completely ignores the context. Studying his perceptual world seems like it might bear fruit - in the same way that one might study how mosquitos work, in order to design mosquito repellent and/or methods of reducing their numbers.

New information, in his latest reply, appears to be an increase in the likelihood that his perceptual world includes a well-thumbed copy of Rand's Greatest Hits. Probably just thumbed, rather than actually read; but it seems like he may have picked up the gist of one of philosophy's lowest lights from other people who have read it.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Chat GPT show me a response that sounds authoritative but conveys no information whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Chat GPT, show me someone who hasn't read the rest of the "discussion", if it could be glorified as such.

Maybe Dipper can hope to bag a moron or two here after all.