Letter: Orwellian Bill

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The Government's Immigration and Asylum Bill has been called many things, but only now has it deserved the epithet "Orwellian".

Your report "Rebels on Asylum Bill win concessions from Straw" (9 June) explains how, in a Bill which slashes welfare support to asylum-seekers, the Home Secretary has said he will "increase" the proposed basic cash payment to adults from pounds 1 a day to pounds 1.43 a day, in order to head off a revolt from Labour backbenchers.

When, in 1984, Big Brother announces that the chocolate ration will be raised to 20 grams a week, Winston Smith reflects: "And only yesterday, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to 20 grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only 24 hours? Yes, they swallowed it."

The question is, will Labour MPs swallow it?

MARK LATTIMER

Communications Director

Amnesty International

London EC1

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