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.  

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Be notified by email of each new post.


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

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 23/04/2018 - 09:21

agov - landing cards info up to 1960 is actually duplicated (you'd expect home secretaries and former home secretaries to know this).  Lists for incoming passengers arriving by sea from 1878 to 1960 are held at the National Archives.   Such lists became less common after 1960 because of the growth in air travel but the info may still be available from shipping lines if they still exist.    Of course, this isn't much help to those who arrived after 1960 or who flew here.  And arriving by ship doesn't guarantee permanent residence although this could surely be proved via National Insurance records, birth/marriage registration, employment records (especially if the employment was with the government as in the case of the former Whitehall chef threatened with deportation).


agov's picture
Tue, 24/04/2018 - 08:56

Yes, I saw later news reports too. Did you see the interview where it was pointed out that landing cards were pretty much irrelevant anyway and only had whatever some official had chosen to scribble on them?

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 24/04/2018 - 10:20

agov - I missed the later reports.  Let's hope the landing cards issue will decrease.  However, I suspect both Labour and Tories will keep yelling about it and ignore the fact that the info up to 1960 is in the National Archives.   Perhaps we could keep a tally of how many times landing card destruction is mentioned in the forthcoming debate and how many point out where the info can easily be found.

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.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 23/04/2018 - 09:38

Assistant whip Mike Freer told the Independent:

”The point I was making in constituency correspondence was that some have deliberately sought to conflate this with measures to counter illegal immigration, which we know is a matter of public concern - and that the decision to destroy landing card documents was taken for the first time in 2009.'

Freer is being disingenuous.  The legislation designed to counter illegal immigration has cast a web which has trapped LEGAL immigrants with a right to be in the UK.  He is using the destruction of landing cards to deflect attention from this.

agov's picture
Wed, 25/04/2018 - 12:19

"legislation designed to counter illegal immigration has cast a web which has trapped LEGAL immigrants with a right to be in the UK"

True. But that would be the point. Very little or nothing to do with landing cards at all despite all the fake outrage about destroying landing card from Labour, which sanctioned the decision to destroy them.

John Bajina's picture
Wed, 25/04/2018 - 19:32

Cutting through the politics. It was reported last week (Fact check Channel 4 News) that when Theresa May was Home Secretary in 2010, her department destroyed thousands of “landing cards”. So Tories actually destroyed them.
If I were a cynic, I would say this was deliberate; so they could deport West Indians indiscriminately in 5-7 years time.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 26/04/2018 - 10:33

John - the info would also be on shipping lists up to 1960 available from National Archives so you could argue that destroying landing cards was just disposing of unnecessary paperwork.  However, proof that someone arrived here doesn't necessarily show residence (they could have returned back and returned to the UK at a much later date).  What is more relevant is evidence such as national insurance record, school attendance, work record etc.  It appears the Home Office hasn't bothered to check (a cynic might say this was deliberate in order to meet net migration targets).   

What is missing from the debate is the fact that it isn't just Home Office action (or inaction) which affects long-term residents with a right to remain.   Employers, landlords, hospitals etc are expected to check whether someone is entitled to work here, live here or access free NHS treatment (ie act as border guards).  But if someone can't prove their right to remain then employers have refused work (even sacked someone), landlords refused tenancies and hospitals refused treatment to people legally here.  This particularly affects non-white people who are more likely to be asked for proof of legal residency.   

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 26/04/2018 - 10:40

John - and we must remember the divisive pupil nationality check which resulted in some schools asking for pupils' passports.  It's now been abandoned but  Schools Week reported:

' December 2016, following a months-long Freedom of Information battle, the Department for Education was forced to admit to Schools Week that it had intended to share the information all along, but had backed down following a backlash from parents and schools.'

'The memorandum of understanding between the DfE and Home Office also revealed that a “strategic aim” of the data-sharing was to create a “hostile environment” for those who “seek to benefit from the abuse of immigration control”.'


Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 26/04/2018 - 10:52

The Times today has an article from David Aaronovitch saying ID cards could have prevented the Windrush scandal.  I've always been vociferously opposed to the introduction of ID cards but he does have a point.


John Bajina's picture
Thu, 26/04/2018 - 12:41

David Aaronovitch is a right wing apologist; I see this article as a pitifully simplistic diversion to distract us from a dreadful situation created by the government he supports.
PS. I am no fan of compulsory carrying of ID cards. Too many overtones of fascism.

agov's picture
Fri, 27/04/2018 - 07:58

"Cutting through the politics - Channel 4 News"


"just disposing of unnecessary paperwork"

As advocated by officials, as the department was moving to new premises.

"ID cards could have prevented the Windrush scandal"

Which was the point Alan Johnson made about this, as his NuLab Government were keen to introduce them at the time.

"Too many overtones of fascism."

Perhaps why NuLab so keen on them.

"David Aaronovitch is a right wing apologist"

Which day of the week would that be?

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 02/05/2018 - 09:45

The debate has now taken place - see here.   The heart-felt and moving speech by David Lammy drew applause (the Speaker had to remind MPs that applause wasn't allowed in the House).  But he wasn't the only MP from all parties who gave similar speeches.   Afzal Khan reminded MPs  that 'The scandal is wider than the Government want to admit. It includes those who came from other Commonwealth countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, many African countries and others.'  Catherine West said Cypriots who entered the UK when Cyprus was under British control could also be affected.

No MP mentioned immigrants from Australia, Canada or New Zealand who could be similarly affected.  But as  the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants told the BBC,  immigrants who were white were less likely to be asked to prove they had the right to remain in the UK.  The 'hostile environment', supposedly against illegal immigrants, has sucked in non-white people who are in the UK legally.  




John Bajina's picture
Wed, 02/05/2018 - 11:27

The 'hostile environment' has hit white workers in UK. Yesterday there was piece on TV about a Canadian teacher on contract, in employment in London, who went to visit his parents in Canada is not allowed back into England. Because the Immigration Services says the quota is full. His Headteacher is screaming and I do not have to tell readers here the urgent need for teachers in our schools.
PS. Sorry I cannot find a link to post on this. I am sure someone cleverer than me at rearching the internet will find it.

agov's picture
Thu, 03/05/2018 - 07:16

I suppose it could be argued that Alan Johnson should not have coined the phrase 'hostile environment' in the first place, but as NuLab seemed mostly to focus on creating or worsening problems, at vast expense, rather than solving them, presumably his Government was only trying to con people and never had any intention of actually doing anything about the problem it largely created.
Perhaps people, even Canadians, should bother to read the conditions relating to their permission to work in a foreign country before assuming they can come and go as they please. Possibly more a case of self-inflicted ignorance than anything else.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 03/05/2018 - 10:04

agov - perhaps the officials who refused entry for the Canadian teacher should have bothered to check his/her Visa.  Canadians, like all Commonwealth citizens wanting to work in the UK today, need a Visa.  Commonwealth citizens can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa if they can prove on of their grandparents was born in the UK or  Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) if aged between 18-30.  However, if the teacher had no Visa then the employer would have acted illegally in employing such a teacher.

agov's picture
Sat, 05/05/2018 - 11:49

"perhaps the officials who refused entry for the Canadian teacher should have bothered to check his/her Visa"

Alternatively, perhaps they did. Perhaps that's why they refused re-entry. Perhaps this -

is true.

Perhaps, in this case of which we have scant details and of which there seems to be no trace on the net, he had already worked for more than two years or five years. Who knows.

Perhaps the school should sue him for damages as he is presumably in breach of contract, possibly because he isn't particularly good at basic skills.

John Bajina's picture
Thu, 03/05/2018 - 11:20

Agov, you are right. I too think Alan Johnson & NuLab should not have tried to ride on the tail of populist xenophobia at the time. Instead, educated the public on the truth of the matter. If they had done this, the Daily Mail/Express would have crucified them at the alter of Fake Patriotism. However, NuLab should have known what Corbyn shows us now - there really is no profit in corruption and immorality of any kind.
If by 'at vast expense' you mean at the expense of public morality, I agree. If you mean national debt, I would not agree, because this was due to (more immorality) by the Bankers this time.
Afraid I am not a fan of 'finer print' on contracts. A contract in civilised societies should always be simply, clear and honest. In this case it was/should be 'We have severe shortage of teachers....we need you...come and help for 1/2/3/10 years. Thank you'.
Lastly Agov, I ask you to consider how we are being perceived in the eyes of the Commonwealth. I am not a flag waving fake patriot. However, I do know a lot of Commonwealth look up to UK as a moral, just, political and roll model. Consider for a moment what we are exporting with all the ducking and diving just to get expulsion figures up.

agov's picture
Sat, 05/05/2018 - 11:53

"populist xenophobia"

Yes, that whole tedious implementing the law stuff is so not a feature of what passes for the Left these days.

"the truth"

As defined by you?

"Fake Patriotism"

Should we gather you don't do any kind of it?

"Corbyn shows us now"

Would that be the huge triumph he had on Thursday? This one? -

"the Bankers"

So why didn't NuLab follow Iceland's example and prosecute them instead of rewarding them with vast amounts of money so they were fully ready to do the same thing again? Not to mention those boring everyday things like the vast PFI debt they racked up having been elected to end that thing they had so criticized prior to 1997?

"I am not a fan of 'finer print' on contracts"

No doubt this is from your legal training.

"come and help for"

And you know it wasn't because?

"we are being perceived"

Exactly when was it you conducted this scientifically valid survey of Commonwealth opinion?

"Commonwealth look up to UK"

The distant memory of TUC speeches circa 1970s.

"what we are exporting"

Those role models who overstay their visa entitlement without ever having having known it existed?

John Bajina's picture
Sat, 05/05/2018 - 15:11

Wow! Pretty robust political reposte. A bit formulaic, but updated formulaic which is a lot better than most lazy, right wing politicians manage.

agov's picture
Sun, 06/05/2018 - 10:01


So unlike, say, this -

'this was due to (more immorality) by the Bankers'

Add new comment

Already a member? Click here to log in before you comment. Or register with us.