It's smirktastic, pop pickers!
Not to be deterred by this failure of the usual sleight of hand, both the Murdoch and Rothermere titles have decided to throw their weight behind the efforts of Priti Patel, inexplicably elevated to the role of Home Secretary, to once again deflect from her own ineptitude and score a few points with the Gammonati by getting them to Look Over There at asylum seekers. As usual, Ms Patel makes less than total sense out of the issue.
The Mail - backed up by the Sun - has led with the speculative headline “PRITI: ASYLUM SEEKERS TO BE SENT OVERSEAS … EXCLUSIVE Radical plan for future Channel migrants”. The accompanying article claims “ASYLUM seekers who cross the Channel illegally [?] to reach Britain face being sent to another country”. There was more.
“Those who come to Britain from a safe country such as France will have their claims deemed ‘inadmissible’”. So the UK is going to re-write international law, too. But do go on. “The Home Secretary wants to change the law so they can then be sent to a third country such as Turkey to await being returned to their home nation or the safe country they arrived from”. This may be news to the Government of, er, Turkey.
And what is the rationale behind this move? The Mail claims it is “to stop people smugglers exploiting desperate migrants and putting their lives at risk”, and not to indulge in yet more attacks on people who are not white and not Christian, honestly. And if you believe that, then you might even believe the drivel served up by the Murdoch Times today.
The allegedly upmarket take tells readers “The Times understands that Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, and the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency, have been discussed by officials. Other islands off the British coast, possibly in Scotland, are said to be under consideration. Third countries have also been considered but have not been named”.
But there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. The idea that the authorities in Gibraltar would even have the space to establish a facility to process asylum seekers is sheer fantasy. Those who sit in the House of Keys would almost certainly give short shrift to the Isle of Man suggestion.
And trying to dump the issue on Scotland - hey, Nicola Sturgeon will welcome the opportunity to tell wavering voters, ahead of all-important elections in May, just what a total and unprincipled shower the Westminster Government can be. Support for independence can only benefit from this latest bout of inept stenography.
By failing to interrogate their sources - and not for the first time - our free and fearless press becomes complicit in Priti Patel’s attempts to gain support by kicking those least able to defend themselves, while still, it seems, not being up to the job.
These stories should have been spiked on sight. That they weren’t is all you need to know.
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