Shame on May

One area that has shown the real inhumane and nasty nature of our current government most clearly has been its treatment of refugees, particularly those fleeing Syria. Theresa May’s response stands in such incredible contrast with that of Angela Merkel. Merkel isn’t a person whose politics generally I have much sympathy with, and certainly not someone I would have regarded as a person of great warmth. But faced with the huge flow of people in distress she made a courageous decision – and one which she will have known was politically dangerous – to help the refugees.

Theresa May in complete contrast has been consistently inhumane – both as Home Secretary and Prime Minister over this and related issues. It isn’t just that she lacks any empathy for her fellow human beings, but it is also cowardice, running scared of the right-wing bigots of her own party.

The Lord Dubs, formerly for some years Alf Dubs, Labour MP in Battersea, gained widespread support in both houses of Parliament for his amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 which offered unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain and the Tory government was forced to accept it. But they did so grudgingly, and acted in a desultory manner, inventing excuses to avoid implementing it to any great extent, pretending there were no places for the children to go even when many local authorities had offered them, and eventually abandoning the program in February 2017 after only 300 of the 3000 children should have been brought here.

I’m pleased that my own signature was one of the 44,434 on the petition that was taken to 10 Downing St, but angry that this failed to get a response. Though not surprised, as this is only one of a number of occasions on which the Tory government have ignored or flouted the law.

Lord Dubs has of course a particular personal involvement in the issue. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1932, he was one of the almost 700 children saved from the Nazis by the English stockbroker Nicholas Winton and his team of helpers, though it was only in later life that Dubs learnt the details. Among those who spoke at the event was a woman who had been a friend of Winton (who was knighted in 2002, thanks in part to campaigning by Dubs) who reminded us of his motto, ‘If it’s not impossible, there must be a way to do it.‘ Unfortunately, despite wide political support for bringing the children here, May remained unmoved.

More at Dubs Now – Shame on May.


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