He doesn't want to open the door of welcome ...
The EU has responded accordingly: “All refugees from Ukraine are welcome, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised. ‘Everyone who has to flee Putin's bombs will be welcomed with open arms’”. Ukrainian citizens can visit EU member states for up to 90 days anyway; the Union is already ensuring that those fleeing the conflict can remain for longer. But here in the UK, all is rather different.
The Government of alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his coterie of ineptitude wants to be seen to be tough on migration, if not tough on the causes of migration. So it was that yesterday, Benidorm Holiday Rep Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Commons that she was “widening the definition” of “immediate family” to allow a further 100,000 refugees to come to the UK. But then a problem entered.
Mark Easton of the BBC had the bad news for so many relatives of Ukrainians living in the UK: “Asked today if Ukrainian pensioner refugee Valentina Rumyantsyeva could come to London on the Eurostar having been turned back on Saturday, the Home Secretary said 'yes'. But [The Home Office] has since told me she is still not eligible to join her daughter”.
This morning, Easton added “Someone from [The Home Office] contacted Ukrainian refugee Valentina in Paris after my piece last night promising she would get a visa to the UK. Still nothing in writing. But on what basis? The current rules mean she remains ineligible. Compassion or desperate PR?” At that stage, the opposition was unimpressed.
The charge was led by Yvette Cooper: as Paul Waugh of the i Paper told, she “today asked [Priti Patel] if her visa policy would mean an elderly Ukrainian woman stuck at Gare du Nord could now join her daughter in the UK. ‘Yes’ replied the Home Secretary. But she really meant ‘No’”. Which sounds like Ms Patel may have misled the Commons.
So, after all that, and a disastrous interview of Dominic Raab - frighteningly, he is Bozo’s deputy - by ITV this morning, what would a sensible, principled and empathetic opposition have done, after 40 Tory MPs urged their party to follow the EU’s lead? What would the Labour Party of old have done? What would Nietzsche have done?
... and, sadly, it seems that neither does he
Sadly, as the Independent has reported, “Speaking on Monday evening the opposition party's international development spokesperson was asked about demand but would only say the process for applying to come to the UK should be ‘simplified’. Preet Kaur Gill said the UK's visa website needed to be improved and that ‘only those people that have family members in the United Kingdom’ wanted to come to Britain”.
Is there so much political capital to be gained by being intolerant? Is this what the UK has now become? A country where there is cross-party support for turning away refugees?
The lurch to the right continues, unhindered by humanity. Shame on the Labour Party.
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