The Windrush scandal makes me ashamed to be British

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Wednesday 18 April 2018 17:31
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Theresa May says the decision to destroy Windrush landing cards was taken in 2009 under Labour

In considering the various statements and actions of Theresa May since she became prime minister, I am left with the feeling that she cannot be trusted to do anything that she says she will do.

Whether it is standing up for hard-working families (and singles too, one would hope), Grenfell survivors and those left at risk by useless building regulations, Brexit, those in need of assistance elsewhere in the world, taking action on pensions, business miscreants, revitalising UK business, protecting the Good Friday Agreement, she and our current government seem to fail at providing or doing anything she or they promise.

Now I have to add to that the feeling of shame of our rejection and harsh treatment of people we have welcomed, then abused (in ignorance, perhaps, if that is an excuse).

I have little doubt that the Windrush people are just the tip of an iceberg of cold-hearted bureaucracy that May created while at the Home Office and which Amber Rudd, instead of correcting, has adopted and sustained. Were this a banking crisis, the politicians’ demands for harsh punishment and the establishment of codes of conduct and legislation to prevent the like ever happening again would be strident and continuous.

Instead we have the usual “Whoops, ooh, Betty!” response of Frank Spencer-like politicians saying it was all a misunderstanding and they will not charge the applicants for giving them what they should already have.

We now also know that the reports of mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers are probably every bit as bad as the extreme cases have indicated. The Home Office is not fit for purpose, whether in relation to immigration or prisons.

When you add that to the various idiots we have leading the Brexit departments, and the comedian heading up the Foreign Office, I fear that we are international laughing stocks who are simply too idiotic to have a clue as to handle ourselves domestically, or in a global economy and community.

Blue passport? I will be ashamed to wave it.

Sack them, dishonour them, ban them. Legislate their actions. What’s good for the bankers is good for the politicians.

Whatever next?

Michael Mann
Shrewsbury

Thankfully I have had very few occasions to feel ashamed of my country. But the way people now categorised as “Windrush immigrants” have been treated is utterly disgraceful and indefensible. A seemingly petulant apology by the home secretary is nowhere near adequate.

The citizens affected by this deserve much more and the department responsible for such unfeeling behaviour needs to take stock. Unfortunately this seems yet another example of public employees going for the “lowest hanging fruit”, possibly trying to meet targets, without regard to human decency.

Steve
Lancashire

The treatment of the Windrush generation is disgusting

As a civil servant, I need to challenge the home secretary’s assertion that her department “sometimes loses sight of individuals”. We follow guidance based on legislation that her government has enacted. We work without fear or favour sometimes to our own detriment.

As a mixed-race man who came to the UK on his mother’s passport, I could be in this situation. My father was in the forces and married when posted abroad. God alone knows what they would have made of me being refused the right to remain.

Name and address supplied

Why is the UK taking action over the attack in Syria after remaining silent over other atrocities?

When you take all the innuendos concerning the chemical attack in Douma away, the decision – made on the basis that we have to take military action to show that we in the wise West need to tell Assad to stop using chemical weapons – is sheer madness.

Indeed, if our politicians will risk a nuclear world war between the West and Russia (plus probably backed up by China, as they ordered one of their largest warships into the area just before the West’s missiles reigned down on Syria), they have not the sane intelligence of a normal human, in my humble opinion.

Indeed, by risking this knowing what could possibly happen by lighting a major war fuse like no other, they are not in my mind the people who should be leading this country, as if everything had gone the wrong way, there would have been no people or no nation to see anymore after the event of nuclear armageddon.

The question therefore that has to be asked is what is up with these people – even though we know that 40 so-called Syrian people and children were purportedly bombed with chemicals, for only in madness would you risk starting an unprecedented nuclear world war on the back of this, atrocious as it was.

For in Yemen, according to the UN, thousands a month are being killed and injured and a large number are children.

Therefore a second question has to be solicited is: where is the West’s sense of proportion and why isn’t the West up in arms over the tens of thousands killed in Yemen every month? There appears to be double standards on a colossal scale in the West. Why?

David Hill, CEO, World Innovation Foundation
Huddersfield

Why are the alleged deaths of Syrians at the hands of the Assad regime more worthy than Palestinian deaths or Syrian deaths at the hands of western-backed jihadi terrorists in Syria? Has it got something to do with Western foreign policy objectives?

Why is death by gas more abhorrent, and legitimises a mass bombing campaign, than death by mass bombing? Is it because bombing is the first weapon of choice by the West?

Why isn’t there a red line for US drone strikes against civilians? Why wasn’t the 2008 US airstrike against a wedding party in Afghanistan which killed 47 Afghan civilians (39 women and children) not considered a crossing of a red line? Why, when more than 2,000 Palestinians where killed during Israel’s 2004 incursion into Gaza, was this not considered a crossing of a red line?

Has it got something to do with the West’s geopolitical priorities? Has it got something to do with the West’s boundless hypocrisy and the West’s total disregard for human rights unless the promotion of some human right abuse can further western interests in some way?

Louis Shawcross
Hillsborough

Bombing Syria has no point

While the Brits and French moved in lock step behind the US bombing of the chemical plants in Syria many people are asking what the bombing accomplished?

It’s likely that the “monster” Bashar al-Assad will interpret the strike as permission to continue to slaughter as many of his citizens as long as he does not use chemical weapons.

The flip-flopping Trump also announced his intention of withdrawing US troops from Syria at the same time warning US missiles are “locked and loaded” to deter Assad from further chemical attacks. Remember President Obama was derided for his failure to act when Assad crossed the red line but managed to force him to remove a huge stockpile of chemical weapons?

Massive bombing campaigns rarely change human behaviour as we witnessed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It only allows leaders like Trump to bloviate and claim “mission accomplished”.

Furthermore, an inspection team was arriving to determine what chemicals were used in Douma, Syria, and pinpoint the guilty party – an opportunity squandered.

Tejinder Uberoi
California, USA

What proof do we have of chemical weapons use in Syria?

The Independent’s eminent journalist Robert Fisk has visited Douma and the clinic at the very centre of the alleged chemical weapons attack and found little or no evidence that such an attack ever took place.

Instead he found by speaking to a senior doctor from the clinic an entirety plausible alternative explanation that the people filmed on TV gasping for air and suffering respiratory problems may well have been quite simply suffering from hypoxia from dust created by Assad’s bombs.

Given that the US secretary of defence General Mattis stated publicly a mere two weeks that he had no real evidence that Syria had ever used chemical weapons against its own people might this not be what really happened at Douma?

Mark Holt
Liverpool

Women’s rights should have never been up for debate

As we in Ireland approach the upcoming referendum on the eighth amendment, I keep hearing people refer to the two extreme sides in this debate – pro-choice and anti-choice.

It compels me to ask, when did we decide, as a society, that giving people a choice is extreme? When did we decide that allowing women control of their own bodies is extreme? When did we decide allowing doctors, not the judiciary, to decide healthcare is extreme? When did we decide that trusting women is the extremist point of view?

Lauran Kilmartin
London

A good laugh

Hooray for Jenny Eclair in yesterday’s Indy!

She always cheers me up over breakfast but her article about “miracle anti-aging skin creams” really hit the spot and made me laugh out loud.

Thanks, Jenny.

Joanna French
London

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