The UK’s Windrush Immigrant Scandal

Photo by EU2017EE Estonian Presidency | CC BY 2.0

The late Syed Hussein Alatas (1928-2007), a multi-faceted social theorist and Malaysia’s most distinguished intellectual, coined the Malay neologism “jadong” to describe a certain type of politician.

“Jadong” is a concatenation of the parts of three words– “jahat” (wicked or evil) + bodoh (stupid) + sombong (arrogant).  The English equivalent of “jadong” would be “evistuarr”, that is, evil + stupid + arrogant.

“Evistuarr” perfectly describes the UK prime minister Theresa May.

May’s most recently disclosed piece of skullduggery was her policy while Home Secretary (i.e. interior minister) in 2014 of creating a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, while at the same time introducing targets for reducing immigration.

Ensnared in this heartless policy is the so-called “Windrush generation”.    The steamer Windrush arrived in London in 1948, bringing several hundred workers and their families from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, as a response to the UK’s post-war labour shortages.

Coming from British colonies that had not achieved independence, many of the Windrush generation believed they were British citizens by right.

In 2010, landing cards belonging to Windrush migrants were destroyed by the Home Office, so they now had no official proof of their legal arrival in London. Those Windrush migrants visiting the Home Office to clarify their status were carted off summarily to detention centres as part of the Tory “hostile environment” policy.

In a well-publicized recent case, the son of a Windrush migrant was presented with a bill of GBP 54,000 ($74,000) for his cancer treatment because he could not prove to his London hospital that he was a UK citizen.

There was public outrage at these disclosures, and the Tory government was soon on the back foot with the typical prevarication and bluster it resorts to on such occasions.

The home secretary at the time of these disclosures, Amber Rudd– better known in social media as Amber Rudd(erless)—denied she had prior knowledge of the targets that were part of the “hostile environment” policy.  A leaked memo from her department showed that this was simply not true, and it was clear that Rudd(erless) had misled parliament in issuing this denial.

Another person who was bound to have knowledge of all the above was of course Theresa May.  She had after all been the architect of the “hostile environment” policy!

Rudder(less) resigned her ministerial position, primarily to shield her evistuarr boss.

The Tories tried to staunch the bleeding ensuing from the Windrush scandal by saying the “hostile environment” policy would be discarded straightaway, that the Windrush migrants and their children  would be granted immediate citizenship, and that they would be compensated for any hardship they had incurred.

The Tories are however not to be trusted on any aspect of immigration.

This was made clear by events after the resignation of Rudd(erless).

The Labour opposition just tabled a parliamentary motion to make available to the public official documents relating to the Windrush scandal when evistuarr May was home secretary.  In the vote on this motion the Tories enforced a party-line vote on their MPs and were able to defeat Labour’s motion with their parliamentary majority.

So, the Windrush cover-up will continue.

Replacing the maladroit Rudd(erless) is Sajid Javid, an ex-banker and fan of Ayn Rand who calls himself a “second-generation immigrant”.

Someone needs to send Javid a dictionary that, hopefully, will inform him that an immigrant can by definition only be “first generation” — someone born in the UK, like Javid, is not an immigrant of any kind, whether it be of a second or a hundredth generation.

Javid is descended from an immigrant, like I happen to be from people who arrived in the British Isles in the late 1600s, but alas for Javid no one is ever a “second generation immigrant”.

Javid’s claim to be an “immigrant” of whatever generation is merely symbolic in its likely outcomes, since guess what?  He voted for the “hostile environment” policy in 2014!  His parliamentary voting records also reveals the following:

Voting against banning detention for pregnant immigrants as well as the extension of deportation powers.

Voting to make it an offence to rent to those without a right to rent and for migrant status checks when opening a bank account.

Voting to restrict legal support for failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

Voting to establish criminal offences for renting a property, driving, and working, while disqualified from doing so due to immigration status.

Voting to repeal the Human Rights Act.

Javid’s father came to England from Pakistan with hardly any money and became a bus driver.  Under Tory immigration policy he would never have been let in, though his upwardly mobile son is not fazed by this–  the son is on record as saying that immigration should be based on the migrant’s skills.

Javid, of whom I’ve written before in CounterPunch, is a shady character who was managing director of Deutsche Bank before he entered politics.

Deutsche Bank’s corporate rap sheetwhile he was involved with DB is pages long.  A wheeze Javid got up to in DB was to devise an offshore tax avoidance scheme where he could channel his ample bonuses.

When asked by journalists about this, Javid hastens away with an alacrity that would do Usain Bolt proud in an Olympic race.  He’s of course denied culpability for all DB malfeasance when he was on its board of directors.

Javid has also voted 16 times in parliament against a tax on bankers’ bonuses, which, as expected, are out of all proportion to what is earned by ordinary Brits.

Javid is a landlord, and has voted against proposed legislation making it illegal for landlords to rent property that is unfit for human habitation.  He also voted to reduce the disability benefit.

When appointed to take over from Rudd(erless), Javid said the hugely discredited policy of a “hostile environment” (remember, he voted for it) for immigrants would be replaced immediately by a “compliant environment”.

Umm. “Compliant environment” happens to be code that every UK right-winger understands when it comes to restricting immigration and making things hard for legal immigrants.

Further evidence of where Javid actually stands on the Windrush scandal came early—he voted for the cover-up of Home Office documents on the Windrush generation during evistuarr May’s time as Home Secretary.

I don’t know whether Javid is a fan of The Who, but if he is, he’d be familiar with this lyric from one of their famous songs: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

Given this “second-generation” immigrant’s viperish parliamentary voting record, the old racist evistuarr Tory boss is always going to run the show when it comes to immigration.

More articles by:

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina.  He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.


June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
Michael Welton
Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing
Peter Bolton
The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce
Ramzy Baroud
‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance
Louis Proyect
The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?
Binoy Kampmark
Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful
Norman Solomon
Clueless and Shameless: Joe Biden, Staggering Frontrunner
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem
Lawrence Davidson
On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”
Mel Gurtov
Impeach Trump
Rajan Menon
America’s Suicide Epidemic: It’s Hitting Trump’s Base Hard
Dan Bacher
Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill
Ralph Nader
Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting