THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 27th April 2018


FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE WEST INDIANS…

by Daphne Liddle

WAY BACK in the late 1960s the newly formed National Front stomped through our streets waving Union Jacks and shouting racist abuse with the main stated purpose of “sending them back”. They meant the forced repatriation of thousands of immigrants from Commonwealth countries who had come here at the Government’s invitation to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.

In 2014, as Home Secretary, May introduced a policy of hostility to illegal immigration as part of the Tories’ effort to woo voters in the run-up the 2015 general election and UKIP was trying to steal anti-immigration votes from the Tories.

The policy was to turn the whole population into border police. Employers and landlords were obliged to check the immigration status of employees and tenants who might be illegal immigrants — with threats of jail if they unknowingly employed or housed an illegal immigrant. Clinics, colleges, libraries and all manner of public services were obliged to do the same. The generation who had come entirely legally with their parents and were granted by law in 1973 permanent leave to stay, were suddenly being asked to produce documentation to prove they were not illegal immigrants. And the standard of proof was tough — documents were required to prove they had lived here during each year since they came. NHS and National Insurance records were not accepted. And no documents meant they suddenly became illegal immigrants.

They were evicted from their council homes, sacked from their jobs and denied NHS treatment. Some cases started to hit the headlines but the Government ignored them. May refused to intervene on behalf of one man who had been denied life-saving cancer treatment “until he could produce the right documents”.

To add insult to injury, May, as Home Secretary in 2010, had supervised the destruction of archived landing passes that could have proved when these people arrived. She had ensnared them more efficiently than Enoch Powell ever could.

But May was forced into retreat and humiliating apologies when the heads of state of Commonwealth countries demanded a meeting about the numbers of elderly, bereft people being dumped on their welfare systems.

Even now, when May and her Home Secretary Amber Rudd have made apologies and set up a taskforce to deal with the situation, May is talking about granting these people citizenship — when it was she who illegally stripped it from them.

In 2014 a handful of Labour MPs, including Diane Abbott, David Lammy, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, warned Parliament of the consequences of May’s racist Bill and voted against it. To their eternal shame the rest of the Labour MPs obeyed the whip and abstained.

As Weyman Bennett from Stand Up To Racism said: “This is not an office mistake, the reason why we’re here is because people like Theresa May are racist. Amber Rudd is a racist. It’s not unwitting racism, its institutional racism.” Guardian journalist Gary Younge said: “I have a concern that the Windrush Generation is the new national treasure and that we will be separated as the worthy immigrants.

“That suggests there are unworthy immigrants for whom this hostility is okay. I don’t want to live in a country that is hostile to immigrants, I don’t want to live in a country that’s hostile to refugees. “We need to stand with the Windrush Generation, but also make sure that nobody has illusions that it stops with them.” Tony Benn once said that we should take note of how the Government treats immigrants because that is how they would like to treat the rest of us if they could get away with it