Fighting the liars in power

12 February 2020

On Tuesday 11th February, a charter plane to Jamaica took off from London, with 17 deportees onboard.  This was the 2nd deportation flight to the Caribbean since Theresa May apologised for the Windrush scandal, in 2018.
    Yet these deportees are children and grandchildren of the Windrush generation.  Most arrived in Britain decades ago, with, or called for by, parents who came here to make up for post-WWII labour shortages.  Having lived and/or worked in Britain ever since, they are entitled to British nationality.  According to the law of this land, they should never have been deported, not under any pretext!
    However, it is now well-established fact that Johnson's political posturing comes first, no matter what the law says.  And since he wanted to make a show of his determination to clamp down on immigration and to be "tough on crime", he got the Home Office to find Jamaican-born individuals who had been sentenced to at least 12 months in jail.
    This was how people who were as much entitled to British citizenship as Johnson himself, have been branded by this serial liar as "foreign criminals" on TV, on account of sentences for petty crimes they served several years - sometimes more than a decade - ago, in Britain!
    However, the Home Office made a mess of Johnson's stunt: when it was revealed that some of the people they had rounded up had been deprived of any means to seek legal help, the government was forced to cancel 25 of the 42 planned deportations!
Anti-working class environment
Far from being brought to an end by May's apologies, therefore, the Windrush scandal has been given a new lease of life by Johnson, to show what a "tough" prime minister he is!
    That said, May's apologies were loaded with hypocrisy, as the dubious compensation scheme she set up has shown.  Not that money could make up for the lives that her hostile environment had irreversibly broken!  But at least it could have helped its victims return to some sort of normalcy.
    But this hasn't happened.  Claimants were made to fill in complex forms and just one mistake was enough to fail their claim.  They were required to produce legal documents that most could not get.  So much so, that 2 years on, the Home Office has only managed to award compensation to 36 claimants, out of the over 1,100 who managed to meet all the requirements for submitting a claim!
    But this is only the visible aspect of a much more serious problem.  The 2014 Immigration Act which introduced May's hostile environment has never ceased to be in force and can still be used against migrant workers, exactly as before, to deprive them of the right to have a roof over their heads, a job, or access to the NHS and welfare system.
    What is more, the new immigration bill which is being concocted by Johnson's government is designed to extend this hostile environment to EU workers and to tighten it up for all foreign workers.  It will make the existing environment even more "hostile", by making a large section of the working class even more exposed to being blackmailed by their employers, landlords, etc.
A "fat cat government"
So this self-proclaimed "people's government" is beginning to show its real face.  Just as it has begun to show other sides of this real face by announcing a new round of austerity, or by admitting that future "free trade" with the EU will actually involve lots of checks and tariffs!  Now that they no longer need votes, Johnson and his Tory clique can afford to drop some of their lies!
    Of course, a government which has been voted in by less than 30% of the electorate hardly represents "the people", let alone the working class!  It is only due to a heavily biased electoral system that Johnson has a large majority in the Commons.
    Scapegoating foreign workers and clamping down on them, the better to weaken the working class, has been an integral part of Tory politics since 2010.  The fact that Johnson is now taking these policies even further, only reflects his hope that this will help to weaken the resistance of the working class even more, at a time when his capitalist masters are increasingly worried by the impact of the world crisis on their profits.
    This is why Johnson is now reviving a raft of grandiose plans.  HS2 and his "Boris-bridge" with Northern Ireland, are not designed to "bring investment to the North" - but certainly to offer large chunks of public funds to big companies.  Nor are his 10 planned "freeports" designed to create jobs.  But they will definitely be a way to downgrade workers’ conditions and help the bosses cut their wage bills.
    So, yes, this is a government which has declared war on the working class - a government of liars and a government of fat cats.  We must organise ourselves urgently for the much-needed fight back!