Reality has a way of asserting itself. Despite the best efforts of the Blairite clique and their media allies to smear Corbyn’s Labour Party as institutionally racist, it is the Tory, Amber Rudd, who has had to resign over the racist policies that her department and government have so ruthlessly pursued.
In her resignation letter, the (now-former) home secretary attempted to claim that the reason for her resignation was nothing other than that she "inadvertently misled parliament". Here we see the myopic priorities and self-importance of parliament. In their eyes, far more important than the persecution of tens-of-thousands of innocent people by the state is that the institution of parliament has been lied to, with formalities and procedures not adhered to.
Parliament - which voted overwhelmingly for the 2014 Immigration Act that created the legal framework for this scandal - is not the victim. The real victims are the 50,000 migrants from the British ‘Commonwealth’ who for the past few years have been facing deportation.
Shocking stories have finally found the light of day: of elderly people who’ve lived and worked in Britain for decades being denied healthcare, sacked from their jobs, and even held in detention centres. These stories have lifted the lid on what the persecution of immigrants and all non-white British people really involves. When the reality of anti-immigrant politics is made concrete, the vast majority are disgusted and reject it entirely.
Regardless of the stupid debate about whether Rudd knew about the targets for deportation, it is obvious that Theresa May and the entire Tory government bear full responsibility for this cruel oppression, which was entirely deliberate.
David Cameron, after all, had his own target of getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands (from about 250,000 per year) - a target which there can be no denying, because he ran an election campaign on it. Theresa May explicitly talked of creating a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants. She can’t deny that.
Rudd was forced to resign because of a leaked letter she sent to Theresa May on 30th January 2017, in which she talked of changing the Home Office’s methods in order to procure an extra 10% deportations. This exposed as a lie her claim to know nothing about any deportation targets.
But more to the point is the aggressive wording of the letter as a whole, which says:
“Illegal and would-be illegal migrants and the public more widely, need to know that our immigration system has ‘teeth’, and that if people do not comply on their own we will enforce their return, including through arresting and detaining them.”
If it was possible to have any doubt that both she and May did not realise what creating a ‘hostile environment’ would mean in practice, the same letter also states that Rudd,
“wanted illegal migrants who were being housed in detention centres before removal to either be sent back to their origin country, released into the community on licence, or tagged to free up beds for the new people that her immigration enforcement team will be picking up.” (The Guardian, 20.4.18, our emphasis)
And yet Rudd had the cheek to blame this inhumanity on the bureaucracy of the civil service when she said that it “sometimes loses sight of individuals”.
No, the entire aim of the policies of Rudd, Theresa May, and the Tory Party as a whole was precisely to persecute the most vulnerable - the ‘low hanging fruit’ of Windrush immigrants who they knew would not have meticulously documented their right to be in the UK.
That bureaucracy then took its revenge on her by leaking the letter that was her undoing. Such is the short sightedness of today’s ruling class.
Javid: another Tory reactionary
Sajid Javid has been appointed as the new home secretary. Some, including Blairites in the Labour Party, have welcomed his appointment on the basis that he is a BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) politician, implying that his appointment will represent a more progressive approach to immigration issues merely because of his ethnicity.
But the Tory MP’s voting record, not to mention his prominence within the Conservative Party, demonstrates that this is totally false.
Sajid Javid voted to make it an offence to rent a home to someone without a right to rent, a key part of May’s ‘hostile environment’. He voted against banning immigration detention for those who are pregnant and against guidance to be taken into account on immigration detention of vulnerable people. He voted to create new criminal offences such as renting a home, driving, and working while disqualified from doing so due to one’s immigration status, or where one does not have evidence to establish one’s status.
He voted to extend the power to deport an individual before considering an appeal on human rights grounds. He voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998. He always voted to restrict the scope of legal aid.
Sajid Javid stands for Tory policies and is an out and out reactionary.
Rudd’s resignation is a huge blow to Theresa May’s weak and inept government. It is the latest in a string of high-profile ministerial resignations from the Prime Minister's cabinet, following on from the departures of Michael Fallon, Priti Patel, and Damian Green over the past six months.
Theresa May almost certainly wanted to sack her over a week ago, but couldn’t for two reasons: firstly, her own obvious complicity in the Windrush scandal; and secondly, the danger of succumbing to the acute instability of her cabinet.
No doubt, part of the reason the scandal became so high profile was that leading Tory Brexiteers wanted to kick out the most prominent Remainer minister after Hammond (having already failed to secure his defenestration).
This is a crisis government. For decades, the Conservatives have had nothing but austerity to offer the working class. They have therefore had to whip up racist prejudices in an attempt to divide the working class and find a superficial base of support. With Brexit and the Windrush scandal, the dead end of this reactionary agenda is revealed.
Basing itself on a capitalist system in deep crisis and long term decline (especially in Britain), the Tory party is divided against itself. Sooner or later it will split.
With the spotlight on Rudd and the Tories, the Blairite saboteurs and their campaign on anti-semitism have been pushed into the background.
Yet some of the Labour right wing have still attempted to turn the Windrush scandal to their factional advantage. They proclaim that the real star of the show in forcing Rudd’s resignation is not Jeremy Corbyn or Diane Abbott - but apparently Yvette Cooper and her probing questions to Rudd.
But Corbyn and Abbott were two of only six Labour MPs who voted against the 2014 Immigration Act that legalised the persecution of Windrush migrants. Yvette Cooper not only voted for this disgraceful legislation, but on several occasions she publicly attacked the Tories for not being hard enough on immigrants.
Instead of lauding the current Labour leaders for swimming against the stream in 2014, the Blairite media clique delude themselves into believing that Cooper is the real hero of this story, purely because they want to promote a key Blairite against Corbyn.
An injury to one
The treatment of Windrush migrants is disgraceful. It is particularly disgusting not just because they are British citizens who have lived and worked here for decades, but because this story begins with the British empire invading, robbing, exploiting and oppressing their countries.
British imperialism still does this today. And the anti-immigrant agenda is part of this.
Socialists must stand against the persecution and deportation of all migrants, legal or otherwise. It is in the interests of workers that no section of the working class be denied free movement or discriminated against in any way. An injury to one is an injury to all.
The labour movement must now go on the offensive against all of these racist policies, organising and fighting for the most oppressed sections of the working class in society, and forging a united struggle that can bring down this racist Tory government.