Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the Government’s recent defeat is the unanimous support for the Gurkhas in our Press.
Even the Daily Mail has started a campaign of sorts arguing that the Gurkhas be given the right to stay.
This is the same Daily May of Mail Watch and Daily Quail fame. Websites which have been set up with the aim of discussing and outing the paper’s reactionary and bigoted stance on immigration. As the Daily Quali points out far better than I can that “despite a long running campaign to highlight the horrors of foreign people coming over here” the Mail seems to have changed its tune.
Luckily it seems the discussion of the Gurkas has not taken place within the realms of our poisoned immigration discourse. They are “our lads” fighting for this country. They deserve Justice because they have done as they were told and fought our stupid wars. I do not intend to denigrate the Gurkhas but their need is no more pressing than the millions of refugees out there that desperately need out help.
From a solely Realpolitik point of view I can understand Phil Woolas and our present Government’s position on the Gurkhas. As despicable, hateful, racist, cheap and unfair last week’s ruling was it was exactly the sort of despicable, hateful, racist, cheap and unfair policy that they have been following for the last decade in response to the hateful outpouring of the right wing press and in an attempt to out do the Xenophobia of the Tory Party.
From 1994 to 2009 we have had 5 Acts pass through Parliament, each more restrictive than the last. Sometimes the bogey men are Asylum Seekers, sometimes Illegal Immigrants, sometimes Polish Plumbers but more often than not the Acts were a reaction to a visceral opposition to some unidentifiable “other.” In this atmosphere the idea that a Policy of allowing Gurkhas the right to remain would seem naturally foolish.
The argument that Gurkhas are in a totally different category to previous immigrants is at best misguided and at worse intentionally misleading. The premeire enemy of modern times has been the Asylum Seeker. In reaction to the frenzy whipped up by the tabloid press we have deported people to Zimbabwe, to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Iran, to Pakistan and to Nigeria to be tortured, murdered and raped.The Gurkhas are not the only ones who desperately need our help.
After this battle for the rights of our Gurkhas will the right wing press join the good fight for a fairer world? Have they realised the error of their ways? I think not , their appetite for hypocrisy will no doubt resurface and all will be forgotten…