Journal publishes forthright piece on the subject of refugees
The Salisbury Journal is a local paper in the United Kingdom and is fond of publishing self-promoting puff pieces by our local MPs, so a forthright article by Martin Field in the March 16 2023 edition is worth highlighting. It concerned the controversy surrounding the suspension, and subsequent reinstatement, of Gary Lineker who presents the Saturday night BBC programme on football called Match of the Day. It arose following the publication of Illegal Immigration Bill the previous week and Gary’s tweet comparing aspects of the bill to the actions of the National Socialists in ’30s Germany. The tweet caused a huge outrage against both Lineker and the BBC by a number of Conservative politicians together with sections of the right wing media.
Several commentators have wondered, like Field, whether the intensity of the furore was intended to be a distraction from the underlying issue. Field reminds us that the bill proposes that people who are fleeing persecution, who may have a legitimate claim for asylum and have family and relatives here, will never be able to have their claim heard and will be deported.
He says that they [refugees] are not being treated as individuals, as fellow human beings but classified generically, as members of a group, defined not by human characteristics, but by their manner of arrival in the UK.
“Make no mistake. This is a slippery slope. Removing people’s humanity through language is the first step; through law which criminalises them and takes away their rights the second; extremists emboldened the third; [then] inhumane and degrading treatment will follow. The lesson from history is unequivocal”.
In the same paper was a piece by Tom Bromley also referring to the Lineker affair and wider issues around allegations of impartiality by the BBC.
Refugees, and the boat people in particular, have raised great passions in the UK so it is interesting – and encouraging – to read of two commentators in the Journal expressing doubts about the bill and the subsequent events at the BBC.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, declared the bill ‘[it] amounts to cruelty without purpose’ and to be ‘immoral and inept’.
To note that Salisbury MP John Glen and Devizes MP Danny Kruger both voted for the second reading of the bill on 13 March.