Blogs by Don Flynn
The tone of reporting on immigration shifted over the course of this weekend as the media took stock of Pope Francis’s visit to refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. In the company of the heads of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics caused ripples of shock by declaring before media onlookers that before the thousands now penned into so-called ‘hotspots’ on the island became refugees they had also been people.
The sense that the European Union is badly floundering in its response to the refugee crisis on its south eastern border was increased last week as the authorities charged with acting on its behalf began to implement the much-criticised deportation deal with Turkey.
By the end of the week it was reported that a total of 326 people had been returned from Greece to Turkey since the deportations started on Monday 4 April. The deportees were said to be men from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who the authorities believed had no claim for asylum.
There’s a moment of real poignancy in the 1980s’s film comedy ‘Withnail and I’ when the hippy drug-dealer Danny gives his views on our collective failure to make good on all that was promised in the 60s:
The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black.
The failings of one generation are destined to become the challenges for the next. Unfortunately the one that followed the Swinging Sixties proved just as inept. And the task of sorting the mess out, if it is ever going to be done, is falling to the set of people we are learning to call the ‘millennials.’
If you take a map of almost anywhere in the UK and plot into all the evidence of immigration raids on business premises which UKVI helpfully provides two things emerge very clearly.
The first of these is the tendency for this enforcement activity to cluster in and around neighbourhoods where ethnic minorities are densest. The second comes from looking at the names of the businesses which have had civil penalty fines imposes on them. In the vast majority of cases the fact of their ethnicity is the critical factor.
Archbishop Justin Welby has fallen some way below the usual standard of adroitness expected of clerics when intervening in areas of political controversy.
His widely reported comments to Parliament’s The House magazine seem to have been prompted by a desire to encourage people to adopt a more ‘visionary’ and hopeful approach to the future which, to his great credit, included a commitment to doing better when it comes to support for refugees.
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