Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled the Government’s ‘Rwanda policy’ unlawful.
Many Conservative MPs are now looking to blame anything and anyone for their own latest cock-up. You can only hope that, eventually, the penny might drop for some of them: not only is the policy unworkable, extortionately expensive and cruel, it has now been confirmed as against the law.
Instead of doing the basics and processing the claims of asylum seekers in a fair and timely manner, the Conservatives have wasted years pursuing their Rwanda pipe dream.
The Government’s incompetence is the cause of the huge backlog of claims and is why the Government had to take over hotels – like the Novotel in Ipswich – right across the country at a cost of £8 million a day. The amount of taxpayers’ money the Conservatives have wasted on Rwanda is even more unbelievable: £140 million.
On top of this they have never stopped to think about whether their policy would work, even if they got to implement it. Their thinking appears to be that it will “deter” people from coming to Britain because they know they will be sent to Rwanda. But the Conservatives were only ever planning to send a few hundred people to Rwanda, while the asylum backlog stands at well over 100,000. It simply doesn’t add up.
This is what happens when you have a weak Conservative government, no longer concerned about governing in the interests of the country, just trying to paper over the cracks with eye-wateringly expensive gimmicks.
This mess is compounded by the fact they are saddled with a group of MPs who are prone to having a tantrum and screaming into the void, rather than putting forward a serious plan.
Threatening to rip up laws and ignoring reality won’t solve deeply complex and challenging problems. Repeatedly shouting ‘all options must be on the table’ without being able to coherently or logically explain what those options even are, or how you are going to achieve them, is not a strategy.
There is no simple solution or single policy to solve the issue of channel crossings, and any politician who tells you that is either lying to you or lying to themselves.
Policy-making is hard. To do it effectively, it requires real knowledge and graft, traits that today’s Conservative Party has seemingly abandoned in favour of knee-jerk populism.
Their obsession with headline-grabbing political stunts – which they then fail to deliver – has given criminal gangs a licence to operate, undermined border security, allowed channel crossings to multiply unchecked and put lives at risk.
We can’t go on with this endless cycle of government by gimmick. After years of chaos under the Conservatives, a Labour government would restore security, competency and fairness to our asylum system with a comprehensive, far-reaching plan:
- Go after criminal gangs through a new Cross-Border Police Unit and forge deeper security cooperation with Europe
- Clear the backlog and end hotel use by recruiting new staff and speeding up safe returns with a new Returns Unit, saving the taxpayer billions
- Establish new agreements with France and other countries on returns and family reunions
- Reform resettlement routes to stop people being exploited by gangs
- Tackle humanitarian crises at source, helping refugees in their region
Substance rather than soundbites should be the basis for any government, but I fear our country is going to suffer from the Conservative circus for at least another year as Rishi Sunak drags out his remaining time in office. While it might be another 12 months, the Labour Party is intent on forming a serious, competent government once again.