All smirk and no action
As with Vietnam, as with Syria, as with Libya, as with Iraq: hundreds of thousands will be displaced, fleeing summary and perhaps fatal retribution. Those hundreds of thousands will soon be on the move, perhaps to neighbouring countries, as with the Syrians decanted into Jordanian refugee camps; perhaps to the borders and shores of Europe.
So, given the UK had a military presence in Afghanistan for the thick end of 20 years, there have already been calls for the country to grant asylum to some of those fleeing the advance of the Taliban. In an interconnected world, it is no longer possible to kick off a war halfway around the globe and then bodyswerve responsibility for the consequences.
But that, as journalist Daniel Trilling has discovered, is exactly what Benidorm holiday rep Home Secretary Priti Patel intends to do. “Senior military sources say the Home Office is reluctant to give many of these people asylum because of the message it will send to other refugees”. She appears happy to leave the Afghans to their fate.
Why would she do that? Ah well. That stance is driven by two interlinked factors: One, the need to be tough on immigration, an appeal to fear and hatred intended to keep the Tories’ poll numbers up, and Two, the sure and certain knowledge that former Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage will be on her case if she wavers.
This, of course, implies that those voters who returned alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to Downing Street in December 2019 are mostly racist bigots who can be dog-whistled by Talking Tough Against Forrins. That’s the condescending, snobbish and elitist attitude that the Tories and their pals like to pin on the left.
While those on the left actually want to show a little humanity, exemplified by Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana: “[Priti Patel’s] sheer cruelty & inhumanity is astonishing, especially given Britain’s key role in creating this crisis”. Philip Lee, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, added “This attitude of Britain, that we can't help thousands of people in dire need, because someone whom we deem does not deserve that help might ‘slip through the net’, is a sickness”. Pundits and journalists in London and elsewhere agreed.
Ian Dunt from the i Paper responded “A sickening, disgraceful form of reasoning from a government department in a state of total moral disrepair”. Liam Thorp, political editor of the Liverpool Echo, added. “So the home office is going to betray people in desperate need of safety - because of a situation this country helped to cause - as it might encourage more people in desperate need of safety to come here. Shameful and morally bankrupt”.
We now face the prospect of our Government sitting on its hands while those to whom it might have extended a helping hand are abandoned to the summary justice meted out by the Taliban - just so the Tories can keep their poll ratings up. That’s not good enough.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at