HHumanity is not the strong point of the Ministry of the Interior. But then, communication either. Last week, Richard Harrington, the minister for refugees, was asked by broadcaster LBC whether the government had any plans to relocate refugees to Rwanda. He answered with an unequivocal no. He had no idea where such an idea could come from. No one at the Ministry of the Interior had discussed this with him. It was a non-story; the scaremongering tactics of paranoid liberals trying to discredit Priti Patel. Not that the Home Secretary needs help. She never fails to discredit herself.
Cue 10 days later and Boris Johnson was in a shed in Lydd, Kent, to announce what he had tried to convince a few bored service staff and a handful of skeptical hacks was Butlin’s new outpost in Kigali . A refugee pleasure palace over 5,000 miles away. In a country where the problem was well out of sight of British eyes. God forbid that Britons should have to meet desperate people fleeing war and persecution.
Some had thought the timing was a bit too convenient. After days of bad headlines about the Prime Minister’s own criminality, a chance to get things done with a policy that would rage with Tory Red Wall voters ahead of May’s local elections and piss off just about everyone with a moral conscience. It was so cynical. Especially since the Kigali hostel could sit empty for years as civil rights lawyers sue the government for acting illegally. Potemkin’s Pleasuredome.
But the reality was that it was more like killing two birds with one stone. Of course, it was fine to talk about something other than Partygate, but the Convict and Patel had sincerely worked on the deranged plan for months, despite officials’ best efforts to dissuade them, and were finally ready to put their stupidity and cruelty on sight. And no one had yet thought to let Lord Harrington know.
Johnson started with the usual waffle. The things he has to say to himself every morning so he can drag himself out of bed and look in the mirror. Somehow he has to find a way to convince himself that he is a decent man. Not a lying narcissist who would do and say anything to get him through the day relatively unscathed. So he mumbled something about the great story of Britain’s openness and generosity to refugees.
Uh, hello. We only took 9,000 children in the Kindertransport. And only made a big fuss about it because we didn’t take any adult Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. And then we had hardly planned to take in any Afghan refugees last year after the American withdrawal and had to hastily recruit a few thousand interpreters and other key workers at the last moment. And even then, we seemed more interested in getting pets out of the country rather than people who feared for their lives. So not so great. A quick reality check. The UK is the fifth or sixth largest economy and hosts only 0.2% of the world’s refugees.
Then the Convict got down to business. He wanted to stop the human trafficking business. But he didn’t want to do it by making it easier to seek asylum in the country. Right now, the refugees are stuck in a catch-22. They can only apply for asylum once they are in the UK, but the only way to get there is illegally. Johnson didn’t want to talk about it. What he proposed was that any asylum seeker – including visa-free Ukrainians – who reached the UK without being turned back and drowned while crossing the English Channel would be stopped by the military and given a one-way ticket. simple for Rwanda. Where they could rot while their demands were processed. And if they were cold, wet and scared, so much the better. Teach them not to come to the UK.
Then things got surreal. First, the convict tried to portray Rwanda as some sort of tropical human rights paradise. Regardless of the fact that it was a dictatorship that the UK had condemned for human rights abuses. Then he tried to pretend that the program would be a good deal. Ignoring the fact that some Tory MPs had felt that it would be cheaper to house all the refugees at the Ritz. But he saved the best for last. This was necessary because he strongly believed in the rule of law. From the one who has shown him spectacular contempt since he became Prime Minister. Keep those fixed penalty notices coming.
Johnson continued the bullshit when it came to questions. He simply repeated that he probably treated refugees too kindly. Britain is said to be overwhelmed with asylum seekers desperate to be interned in Rwanda. Maybe he should try to make the new regime more punitive.
As for his own criminality, he simply smiled and tugged at the toddler’s haircut. If it was the same, he wouldn’t be answering questions next week. He takes the whole country for mugs. We have a criminal at No 10 and he refuses to explain himself. The conservative wankocracy in overdive, He also said that Rishi Sunak was safe in his job. So that means it’s fried. Rishi must wish to have the self-esteem to quit.
About an hour later we disappeared through the mirror. Here we had Patel, as vicious as she was stupid, in Kigali. In the 1960s, her parents had fled Uganda. Now she was offering to send terrified refugees to a neighboring country whose own citizens are seeking refuge elsewhere. Priti Vacant looked a little glum as she read all of the show’s positives, but cheered when she remembered they were all lies and the refugees would eventually be bumped into a hostel . It was her life’s work and she could die happy.