The stupid – it’s Byrne’s!
So our fine Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne is going to launch an “international marketing campaign” in order to attract more immigrants. Does anyone now remember that David Blunkett launched a propaganda campaign to put immigrants off, emphasising fine British institutions like rain and railway disruption? Clearly Byrne doesn’t.
But perhaps he’s hoping to target the right kind of immigrants – ones who are decent, hardworking (like the others aren’t), more middle class. Those fabled Indian coders. Blunkers’ films aimed at horrifying people fleeing from Zimbabwe or the DRC enough that they would choose amputations rather than face the horror of Britain. Enough with the sick irony, anyway. It is a curious feature of immigration politics that a powerful ratchet is at work. The last time the Home Office was bellowing for more control, it was because of Poles. Before that, Bogus Asylum Seekers. Now, as predicted at the time, the farmers who employed them can no longer find them, because wages in Poland have shot up. The permanent crisis, though, is by definition permanent-whatever happens, the process is never reversed.
Apparently we’re going to be sharing information on “travellers of interest” with the United States, so that’s yet another exercise in real-time interworking between the US and the core executive. Remember that the Identity Cards Act gives the government powers to share the content of the NIR, including its audit trail of every time the card is checked, with essentially anyone it wants to. Byrne is mad keen on surveillance cards, too. He apparently thinks they will be like the railways in the 19th century, because they will protect us “from Internet fraud”. Let’s be clear – stupid people will continue to open dodgy e-mails from Furadu@bacralys.pornohosting.ru, just they will soon tap their ID card number in the field provided, and then the fraudster will have their ID card number and quite possibly enough information to go about preparing a perfect fake card.
Further, foreign policy is going to be used to create an “offshore border”. Meanwhile, we apparently need
to adopt a strategic objective of bringing in people with the right skills, and ensuring the country is easy to visit legally.
So, the growing biometric state will establish outposts around the world to harass possible travellers, whilst also making it easy for them to visit. Right. And did you know we had a special envoy for deportations? Yup. It’s Lord Triesman – the former general secretary of the Labour Party.
I was amused to see that he’d been wheeled out to sign a treaty with the French regarding French police powers at the new Eurostar terminal. Back when the corresponding document with regard to Waterloo was signed, the British side was a little perturbed when the French asked for a steel ringbolt to be concreted into the wall of their station, for God knows what purpose. I’m not sure if they got what they wanted, but it’s almost painfully nostalgic to think that we used to be the ones who didn’t want to chain up prisoners.