Send the buggers back,
send the buggers back.
These aren't the ones I wanted, son,
so I'm sending them straight back
I said I wanted white ones,
but they've send us bloody black
I'm going to put the lid back on
and send the buggers back
Tory MP David Davis, who has been brought back from the wilderness by Theresa May to become Secretary Of State For Leaving The European Union, is not a political ingénue. Like the author of the well-known Half A Shilling song Send The Buggers Back, which is ostensibly about a pair of shoes but echoes 1960s and 1970s racist ideology in order to ridicule it, he knew what he was telling the Mail On Sunday recently.
The headlines on Simon Walters’ piece say it all: “We'll send EU migrant 'surge' back: Brexit Minister David Davis says he may send home Europeans who rush to get in before we leave Brussels … New Brexit chief says EU migrants who come to Britain could be sent home … David Davis vowed to take a tough line as man in charge of negotiations … Warning of a pre-Brexit surge made by May days before she became PM”.
That was not so much a dog-whistle, more a fanfare for xenophobia. Davis was being crudely populist. But he was also showing signs of ignorance and delusion, something which is clearly not restricted to the right-leaning part of the Pundit Establishment. “Mr Davis said he was determined to win a 'generous settlement' for EU migrants already here and for Britons living in EU countries such as Spain and France” Walters tells.
He wishes. The reality of his position will become all too clear in the coming months, as will the response to “he said the Government may act if forecasts of a 'surge' in new EU migrants coming to Britain before it quits the EU proved accurate”. That’s most creative of him. As Britain would still be an EU member state at the time, he couldn’t prevent anyone moving here, and nor could he easily impose a different regime on them after leaving.
How would he do this? “We may have to say that the right to indefinite leave to remain protection only applies before a certain date”. Not while we’re an EU member state, we can’t. But do go on. “Mr Davis dismissed claims from EU chiefs that they will refuse to negotiate before Britain signs Article 50 … He said: 'We don't have to do any negotiations, just find out where their interests are. It's not the same thing. When we sign up [to Article 50] we will know the shape of deal’”. This is real Ron Hopeful stuff.
Especially as, right now, we have no trade negotiators on hand. That’s right, none. And we are likely to need hundreds, if not thousands, of them to meet the kinds of timescales that are being talked about. That means when you read “Davis expects the UK to invoke Article 50 by the end of the year and be out of the EU altogether by 2019”, it’s code for “he hasn’t got a clue”. David Davis is about to embark on a serious learning experience.
But in the meantime, he does know that if he just tells the press he’s going to Send The Buggers Back, they will be on his side. It’s politics Jim, but not as we know it.