New home secretary Suella Braverman has hardened the Tories’ rhetoric over immigration, intensifying the government’s hostile environment against migrants and refugees.
In a Tory conference speech littered with references to “criminal gangs”, “illegal immigrants”, and “cultural tensions”, Braverman committed to imposing an outright ban on anyone entering the country via routes not explicitly sanctioned by the government.
This came alongside a pledge to throw out anyone who had crossed a “safe” country before reaching the UK, and an assertion to audiences that it is her “dream” and “obsession” to see asylum-seekers being sent to Rwanda on a deportation flight.
The United Nations has criticised the Tories for flouting international laws, such as the UN Refugee Convention. This states that a person’s asylum application should not be dependent on their method of entering the country, or on which countries they have passed through before.
In a bid to outdo her predecessors on the issue of immigration, Braverman has laid out her plans to create the harshest immigration policies yet.
Whether this talk is simply posturing or not, it is symptomatic of the rightward shift in the Tory Party, which is increasingly under the influence and control of the ‘swivel-eyed loons’ – much to the dismay of the capitalists and their serious strategists.
Rabid Conservative members may well lap up Braverman’s rhetoric. But the great majority of workers in Britain have more pressing matters to concern themselves with, namely: Will they be able to afford to heat their homes this month? Or put food on the table for their families?
Workers can see that such problems have nothing to do with migrants and refugees. Instead, they are aiming their fire at the real enemy, the Tories and the bosses, and are turning towards industrial action.
Instead of concerning themselves with the Tories’ culture war, in other words, workers are mobilising to fight a class war.
And in the course of these struggles, British workers will no doubt see that they have far more in common with their migrant brothers and sisters, than with the ruling class and their representatives.
Starmer the compassionate
Increasingly, the capitalist class is looking towards ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer as the more desirable choice to steer British capitalism through the choppy waters ahead. And the Labour leader, for his part, would sell his own grandmother for a shot at entering Number 10.
Starmer has decorated his own immigration proposals with vague sentiments about “compassion” and “dignity”. In substance, however, his suggestions barely differ from the Tory government’s current points-based system.
Despite this lip-service about “compassion”, the truth is that the right-wing Labour leaders don’t care about migrants and refugees. Their priority is to represent the interests of big business and the British establishment.
Indeed, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has proven determined to outflank the Tories on this issue recently, scandalously urging Suella Braverman to ramp up asylum-seeker deportations.
It should be remembered that the hostile environment was introduced by the Labour right wing under the Blair government. It was they who called for “British jobs for British workers”, and who even infamously put the demand for “controls on immigration” on official party merchandise.
A victory for Starmer’s Labour, therefore, will offer no respite to migrants.
Workers of the world, unite!
But while the Labour leadership try to ‘out-Tory’ the Tories, workers and youth are moving in the opposite direction.
This is shown by recent examples of solidarity in working-class communities, where ordinary people have come out to defend their neighbours against racist deportation raids.
In Glasgow, Peckham, and Hackney: hundreds of people have poured onto the streets to prevent immigration officers from snatching members of the local community from their homes – bravely and openly confronting the police in the process.
This class solidarity and struggle has cut across attempts by the capitalist state to divide workers by whipping up racism and xenophobia.
And it continues a proud working-class tradition, as seen with the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when the labour movement united to block Mosley’s fascists from marching through east London.
This shows the potential power of the working class, when united, organised, and mobilised.
Armed with a socialist, internationalist programme, workers could bring down national borders, bring down this rotten Tory government, and bring down the capitalist system – the barbaric system that is responsible for all the wars, poverty, and misery from which migrants and refugees are fleeing.