Priti Patel’s attitude towards migrants is more proof that the Conservatives’ immigration policy was designed to fail

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Friday 21 August 2020 18:42
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Priti Patel in Dover as Government face criticism over migrant crossing crisis

Once again, Priti Patel has missed the point of immigration as she blames anybody but Britain, and herself, for the chaotic and short-sighted rhetoric she espouses.

The real heartache with the lack of cohesive immigration policy, is all the people still left beleaguered in France seemingly without hope. And of course the needless channel crossings and the deaths of desperate would-be immigrants.

Like many other cabinet ministers, Patel has, in my view, been promoted above her competence level which ultimately endangers those she ought to be aiding.

The hackneyed portrayal Patel regurgitates regarding the plight of migrants lacks empathy for their struggle and smacks of conservative dogma. The whole framework of our immigration policy not only lags behind common decency, it also causes untold misery to people who have suffered extremes.

We have people in Britain who are unable to establish if they are able to stay to study and/or work. Families who are unsure whether they can continue to live together in Britain or be split up and sent back to whence they came, while thousands find it impossible to obtain permits allowing them to travel to Britain to live in peace.

We haven’t changed our immigration policies to ease the flow of immigration into Britain. We have changed it to encourage aggressive attitudes towards immigration, twisting policy to such a confusing degree that all it’s able to offer is snail pace advice and guidance, while demanding huge payments for visas and payments to obtain NHS rights.

This situation I am sure is due to promises given when Conservatives were looking for support in the run up to the Brexit vote. The headlines read that the party would be tough on immigration, only allow low numbers of immigrants into the country, send back those immigrants deemed to be undesirable.

Instead of this attitude, our government ought to design and develop a policy that actually works. But perhaps that’s what the government wants.

This is still a caring and tolerant country with much to commend it. That is why so many displaced people want to live in Britain. If we could decide the criteria for entry and for remaining in Britain it would relieve so much anxiety, stop so many deaths, give us another pool of people willing to work for Britain and reduce the amount of time and effort wasted by police, coast guards and government.

Keith Poole
Basingstoke

Teacher predictions

My daughter has received some GCSE grades very much lower than her mock results and predicted grades in school reports. I am unable to challenge this, so she is left with little choice but to resit them after months off school, and do so while studying for her A-levels. In a neighbouring town, results have been massively overinflated by an academy chain that has seen fantastic results for their students, while my child is deemed less than average.

There should be an appeal process to challenge teacher grades. Children have been incredibly let down by a repeatedly failed system and in some cases have to suffer for it but no one talks about these children, only the massive successes.

Kelly Haslam
Address supplied

Unfortunate timing

What rotten luck that the remarkable improvement in the performance of students completing courses this year over those in 2019 has coincided with the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of exams has robbed us of objective proof that this represents a real advance.

There are even some malicious sceptics who exploit this technicality to question the progress made and who talk instead of “grade inflation”. Sarah Raffray, the headteacher of St Augustine’s Priory, warns us against such “toxic rhetoric” (Letters, 20 August) and calls for it to be halted. She does not specify the means of doing this, but presumably difficult times call for drastic measures.

John Riseley
Harrogate

Exams algorithm

John Rentoul’s article: “How foreseeable was the A-level and GCSE fiasco, really?”, is too kind to the politicians and Gavin Williamson in particular. He acquits him of failing to look further into Ofqual, saying that taking the enquiry to the next stage requires “a sixth sense for trouble and a vivid imagination”. That is not so. Williamson simply accepted assurances that the system would work. He displayed a level of incuriosity about the basis for those assurances which beggars belief. A few simple questions about why the regulator was so sure that its system was sound would have revealed those assurances to be worthless.

Williamson doesn’t appear to have asked what the mechanism was or how it would work in practice. If he had, he would have known that it required students to be failed when they were predicted to pass because of their school’s past record. Nick Gibb, the schools minister, was no better when interviewed repeatedly on radio and television on Thursday. He said that the model was sound and that the failure was in its implementation in the algorithm. Not one interviewer asked him what he meant. The algorithm is simply the mathematical expression of the model. If the algorithm didn’t work, it was because the model was flawed. That wasn’t an implementation failure. It was a failure of common sense in drawing up the model.

No one comes out of this looking anything other than severely tarnished. But the politicians should not be excused on the grounds that they lacked the required insight. What they lacked was an enquiring mind and a modicum of attention to detail. With those basic qualities, this whole mess could and would have been avoided. Individuals who lack those basic skills should not be in government.

Michael Silverleaf
Address supplied

Thai students hold rally outside Education Ministry

Where is the prime minister?

Does anyone really think that Boris Johnson is camping in Scotland with his fiancee in a tent while looking after a three-month-old baby? I’m finding it hard to imagine. Who knows, he could be on a yacht in the Caribbean enjoying the largesse of one of his cronies.

In all seriousness, can you imagine Johnson’s hero, Winston Churchill going missing for days on end in the middle of a crisis? Perhaps in the middle of the Battle of Britain. Or Margaret Thatcher? Thatcher apparently used to only get three to four hours sleep a night because the business of governing was so time consuming. Johnson looks like he is only awake three to four hours a day.

Paul Moore
West Horsley

Vote of no confidence

Does anybody know whether a member of the general public can call for a vote of no confidence in their government?

Asking for a disillusioned and despairing nation.

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

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