Thursday, March 09, 2023

Please write to your MP

Dear Friends

Please write to your MP as soon as you can about the cruel, inhumane and unhelpful new law the UK government is proposing in order to deter desperate people fleeing war and persecution from coming to these unfriendly shores via small boat.

There are no safe routes these people can access which is why they come this way. It is not illegal to travel via unconventional routes to claim asylum. 

As soon as I have posted this I am writing to my MP to protest and to ask the government to deal with these desperate people compassionately and constructively.

If you don't know what to say, you might take some ideas from Dave's letter. He wrote this to our MP yesterday:

You will know from our correspondence that I am not a fan of your government, which seems to me to be the worst in my lifetime: the least competent and the most venal and corrupt. Indeed it is hard to understand why refugees and asylum seekers wish to flee to the UK where everything is broken.

Nevertheless, it feels important to tell you that the approach to refugees and asylum seekers is lacking in principle and repugnant in practice.

The mantra of ‘Stop the boats’ is a cheap pitch to the nastiest populist sentiments, and unhelpful.

The approach headed by the Home Secretary is, by her own admission, likely to infringe the UK’s legal obligations. Is it not extraordinary that she can put forward legislation which has even the smallest chance of being illegal, and in breach of our international obligations?

The problem, for me, is that the proposals are inhumane, and lacking in basic human decency. If the people arriving here in small boats were giraffes, bonobos, dogs or stray cats, there would be a public outcry and we would have a national campaign for their comfort and safety. As it is, we have an approach which has already been complicit in, and teleologically responsible for, the deaths of so many in the Channel. These people on small boats are people, people like us but less fortunate.

For too long the UK turned a blind eye to the plight of Jews fleeing oppression before the second world war. That looks like a national stain now, as the current approach to people seeking refuge in the UK will seem in the future.

The traffic of small boats could be reduced by making legal routes here more numerous and more accessible. And if the Home Office was more effective, the long delays in processing incomers’ applications could be usefully expedited.

Your government is successfully turning the UK into a hostile and xenophobic environment, and pursuing policies which are simply shameful.

If only the government could do something – anything – which appeared neither crass nor callous. It is an increasingly desperate hope.

Dave Hepworth

This is my letter, just written:

I am writing to object to your inhumane new law which plans to detain and deport genuine refugees who arrive here by small boat.

These people are forced to use small boats because there are insufficient safe routes to the UK.

There are other ways to stop small boats.

One way would be to set up a processing centre in Calais to assess whether people are likely to be eligible for asylum BEFORE they attempt the dangerous journey. And then provide a safe route for those likely to succeed.

The figures show that Afghans make up the largest group by nationality. These people were unable to leave their country because of the failures of the British government schemes. Other countries represented are Syria, Eritrea, and Sudan. Home Office figures show that 98% of applications for asylum from these three groups are granted.

Your new law refuses to recognise these facts.

Not only do we need more safe routes, the Home Office needs better organisation and funding so that asylum applications can be dealt with both fairly and efficiently so that refugee status can be granted swiftly where it is deserved, and these people can start to contribute to our economy while they are trying to settle here. Do we not have a labour shortage in this country?

If the asylum process were fit for purpose you wouldn’t be having to pay to house refugees in hotels; and Ms Braverman wouldn’t need to inflame populist racist and ill informed views with her rhetoric. The latter causes ugly and threatening behaviour towards refugees from people who are suffering themselves through food and fuel poverty.

I object to your cruel and shameful policies.

The UK was instrumental in setting up the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. We should stick by our honourable history and lead the world in compassion and justice, not in cruelty and law-breaking.

Yours sincerely

Sue Hepworth



Anonymous said...

Wow! Very well written and thought out letter.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you. I'll tell Dave. I've added mine now.

marmee said...

Sue ( and dave) from your lips to God's ears!

Anita said...

Dave’s letter is brilliant - and yours too of course.

Sue Hepworth said...

Dave does write excellent letters. I tend to bash mine out while he spends time crafting his. But then he has had more practice - he writes every week about something, while I tend to focus on refugee policies.