‘Shop your neighbour’ immigration ploy a diversion from bigger issues: war, NHS & mass protest as Occupy London gears up

The government’s new crackdown on immigration, announced today, is a clever attempt to divert attention from other, more important, issues. The cunning “new approach with tough limits” is launched just two days after the big anti-war demo in Trafalgar Square and just one day after the protests and “die-in” on Westminster Bridge over the threat to privatise the NHS.

The government doesn’t like that sort of thing. It made that clear at the weekend when it sent the police to arrest six Catholic peace campaigners for blocking the road outside Downing Street. A friend of mine was watching and said he was surprised by the “aggressive” attitude of the police, who circled the small group in question and closed in on them in a “menacing” fashion. “They could have simply asked them to move out of the road and they would have done – there was no need to get aggressive about it,” he said. He theorised that the cops were practising this new circling routine to add it to their kettling skills for next weekend (October 15), when the Occupy London protest begins. Occupy London is the young cousin of the American Occupy Wall Street protest, which has now been going for several weeks. London will be the latest city to join the worldwide Occupy movement, which has now spread to hundreds of major cities. The protestors are angry at the influence of big business in government and the wrecking of our economy by the banking system, tax dodgers and corporate greed. Details: www.facebook.com/occupylondon, or Twitter @occupylsx

The threat of a protest movement that’s increasingly mainstream in its appeal and its participation is scaring our government something rotten: hence the neat diversionary tactic in the shape of the new immigration policy. No doubt the hope is that the ploy will find adherents among the half-witted who think, by a curious logic, that our economic woes and their joblessness have been caused by immigration.

The new scheme includes revising the citizenship test to include questions on British history. It’s ironic that our recent history – one of aggressive invasions and violent “intervention” in pursuit of oil revenues – has helped create much of the destruction and displacement of populations that causes immigration. I’d hazard a guess there won’t be any Qs on that in the new test though.

I’d love to see a random selection of home-grown Brits having to take the citizenship test. I know I’d have to think twice about how to answer these questions, and I’ve lived here all my life.

What are the powers of the devolved administrations? What ceremonial duties does the Queen have? Where is proportional representation used? What is a credit union? What responsibilities do self-employed people have? What are the limits on working hours and times for children?

But it’s not all about fun quizzes: there’s a nastier side to the new immigration policy. Cameron has announced a new “grass up your neighbour” strategy. “I want everyone to help by reporting suspected illegal immigrants to the UK via Crime Stoppers,” he Tweeted today. “We’ve got to be so much better at finding illegal immigrants and getting them out of our country”.

This policy of kicking the weakest when they’re down is about finding a minority to pick on, to divert attention away from that other minority that have been getting a richly-deserved kicking – the government’s chums in big business and finance.

Cameron opined: “We need the right people for our economy here and those who will help make our country, stronger, richer and more secure.”

Quite right. But don’t pick on immigrants: focus on the tax-dodgers, war-mongers and greedy financial institutions. Let’s get them out of the country first.

Pic credit: Stop the War Coalition, www.stopwar.org


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