Gov't hypocrisy: treatment of Windrush generation disregards British Values

Janet Downs's picture

We hear a lot about ‘British Values’.  They’re something schools are supposed to promote.  Ofsted expects it.   Inspectors must evaluate ‘the effectiveness and impact of the provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’.  This includes:  

‘…acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’

Guidance to schools on promoting British Values says:

A key part of our plan for education is to ensure children become valuable and fully rounded members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance, regardless of background.’

But the actions of the British government show disrespect,  not respect, towards those of a particular ethnic group – the children of immigrants from Commonwealth countries who were invited to the UK to work in transport, industry and public services.

In 1971, all Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were granted indefinite leave to remain.  Yet because of sloppy paperwork at the Home Office, no record was kept of those allowed to stay, the BBC reports.  

This has resulted in harrowing cases of immigrants who were given permision to stay being unable to prove they are here legally.   As illegal immigrants they are not entitled to NHS treatment or welfare and face the prospect of being deported.  But the UK has been their home for decades.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants told the BBC this would likely affect Australian, Canadian, South African, Indian and Pakistan-born citizens who faced the same problem.  Its chief executive, however, noted that immigrants who were white were less likely to be asked to prove they had the right to remain in the UK.

It’s thought this problem will particularly affect children of immigrants from the Caribbean.  These are known as the Windrush generation after the ship which brought West Indian immigrants to the UK to help with post-war reconstruction. 

22 June 2018 will be the 70th anniversary of the arrival of SS Empire Windrush.   Celebrations are being planned including a display at the Chelsea Flower Show which will feature the best 100 pictures sent in by young people commemorating the ship’s arrival.

But it appears the contribution of the Government to the anniversary is to threaten many of the Windrush generation with deportation.

The Government wants schools to promote values which ensure young people will be valuable and fully rounded members of society.   At the same time, the Government is taking action which will cause harm to people who have been valuable and fully rounded members of society.  This is hypocrisy.  Worse, it is inhumane.

A government petition to grant amnesty to those affected has already attracted over 130,000 signatures.  This is enough to ensure a debate in Parliament.    A second petition has been started by 38 Degrees.  

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John Bajina's picture
Tue, 17/04/2018 - 12:23

Without being political I recall the facts that Gove withdrew funding for BME underachieving children. In my view, he did this more to show his Right Wing credentials than the need. In 2012, T May announced 'We’re going to give illegal migrants a really hostile reception’. At the time this was to stop Tory votes haemorrhaging to UKIP, as the Tories believed. Since then, neither May or Amber Rudd or nay other Tory has withdrawn or diluted this rhetoric.
To balance the politics I state clearly, they were not held accountable by the opposition, because LibDems were emasculated and Labour dedicated its energy with near suicidal in-fighting. Only now has Labour woken up to their real responsibility.
All this has directly resulted in the present heartless treatment of Windrush generation and the Gap in achievement between BME and White children (Boys from poor White families excepted).
Finally, I was stunned yesterday to hear Rudd blame the Civil Service for this present inhumanity.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 17/04/2018 - 12:36

John - Government guidance re returning to Jamaica says, '‘Deportation is not a sentence or punishment but a second chance to build a new life and make a meaningful contribution to build the nation.’  I'm sure those who feel threatened by possible deportation will find solace in that statement especially when it's accompanied by advice to adopt a Jamaican accent to avoid unwanted attention.

John Bajina's picture
Wed, 18/04/2018 - 14:09

Thank you Janet,
This is crass beyond belief??? It is insulting and demeaning.
Question also is, what manner of myopic minds think it is sane to think up and put to print this manner of infantile stupidity?
I urge everyone with any routes to the Government, Opposition or MPs to highlight Janet research.
Plus there may be solicitors/lawyers/barristers out there that could take the Government to task.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 18/04/2018 - 15:25

You probably already know the landing cards for the Windrush immigrants have been destroyed.  Labour has accused May who was Home Secretary in 2010 but she says the decision was made under Labour according to tbe BBC.  But the two last Labour Home Secretaries deny knowledge.

agov's picture
Sat, 21/04/2018 - 11:18

agov's picture
Sat, 21/04/2018 - 11:18

John Bajina's picture
Wed, 18/04/2018 - 16:32

Beggars belief. Incredible that some believes she can sprout and throw enough half-truths and confusion to make their case of innocence.
Back to this accusation: Even if Jacqui Smith or Alan Johnson made this decision in 2009, it would not have been to wait till 2017/8 and catch out the Windrush generation in 2017/8, in some despicable distortion of British Values.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 19/04/2018 - 09:55

John - Parliament will debate this on 30 April.  I know there's already been an emergency debate but the scheduled debate might reveal more information.   The Times says, 'A business case to dispose of millions of people’s records was approved by the UK Border Agency in June 2009 with a further “operational” decision to destroy cards taken in October 2010.'  The questions are: who approved the business case in 2009, who make the 'operational' decision to destroy the cards and what other records were cleared for disposal?  This could affect anybody, whether from the Windrush generation or not, who migrated to the UK, remained here but hasn't yet been naturalised.

The Times also reports that the Home Office has been accused of overcharging children of non-UK citizens born in the UK  for citizenship.

John Bajina's picture
Thu, 19/04/2018 - 14:51

Cannot wait.

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