Thursday, 19 April 2018

Catwoman: hostile, yet global

The "hostile environment" policy is a straightforwardly awful idea from straightforwardly awful people with straightforwardly awful consequences for the designated victims. But it also seems to form part of a wider agenda which is also awful, but not in quite such a straightforward way.

Exhibit A: 2012: Theresa "Catwoman" May "chooses her words with feline delicacy" as she tells her adoring Telegraph fanbase that "We're going to give illegal migrants a really hostile reception":
Exhibit B: The sidebar of immigration stories which appears next to that same Telegraph interview. Nestling in among the stories about migrants rioting in Calais, swamping the country, stealing our jobs by working too hard, or being gypsies, there's an intriguing article headlined "New VIP visa service for wealthy foreigners", next to another pic of the kitten-heeled dominatrix:
Taken together, the two articles make very interesting reading:
...soon, she insists, [net migration] figures will fall, as restrictions on student and working visas are reflected in the statistics. “We are seeing the number of visas issued going down, but there is a lag between those and feeding through into the net migration figures...”

...Today though, her focus is on those who are in Britain illegally, and her language becomes uncharacteristically vivid. “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration,” she declares....

...Ministers are creating a new visa system for global business leaders amid concerns that moves to tighten immigration rules are deterring “high-value” individuals from overseas.

Around 100 wealthy foreigners will initially be invited to join a new “bespoke” visa service which the Home Office said will ensure their passage through the UK border system is “swift and smooth.”

Members of the “GREAT Club” will get a personal “account manager” at the UK Visas and Immigration service to deal with their travel plans. The manager will arrange visa services “tailored to each individual’s needs at no extra cost”, the Home Office said.
Personal account managers for oligarchs, a Kafka-style bureaucratic nightmare for the "lower value individuals" from the Windrush and the EU who settled here under the mistaken impression that this was a country ruled by decency and fair play, rather than a private club where the rich and powerful get to shove everybody else aside as they push their way to the front of the queue.

If you ever wondered what sort of hybrid abomination will emerge from the apparently contradictary goals of creating a "global Britain"* which is simultaneously a "hostile environment" for those guilty of being insufficiently British, and insufficiently rich, these two articles paint a vivid picture.

*Again, sorry Northern Ireland - blame the people who came up with the phrase "global Britain." Although it looks as if you'll be getting your revenge on the "global Britain" mob, as their misty-eyed Empire 2.0 fantasies are shredded on contact with your border with the Irish Republic. It's a prime example of what Cory Doctorow calls "the shear where uncaring reality meets uncompromising ideology". Or, as sombody once tweeted, rather magnificently, "there are unicorns as far as the eye can see. And many of them are eating cake":