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Labour’s Answer to Rwanda: Thrown Out on the Christmas Napkin it was Written on

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Recently, it feels like I have been talking about immigration until the cows come home. And it seems the cows have not come home yet because here I am again writing about small boats – this time, in response to Labour’s counter-Rwanda policy.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan was passed in parliament earlier in December by a majority of 43 votes – allowing the British government to deem Rwanda a safe country to send the illegal immigrants who arrive in rubber dinghies at the UK’s shores.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer – in true Captain Hindsight fashion – was very happy to criticise the government’s plan to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda, without proposing any alternative. It seems, however, that Keir caught some inspiration while pondering over his Christmas dinner. Because we now have the skin and bones of Labour’s opposite number to the Rwanda plan. Luckily for Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives, it’s got more holes in it than an illegal immigrant’s dinghy.

Keir Starmer’s magical counterplan is to assess asylum seekers before they even cross the Channel. Naturally, Labour claim this will stop the small boats because people won’t bother making the voyage unless they’ve been assessed and approved beforehand.

The thinking is terrific. But in practice, it is simply impossible.

How does Keir think we might assess asylum seekers before they arrive in the UK? There are only two possible avenues I can think of which Labour might drive down – and both are lamentable dead end cul-de-sacs.

The first option would be to plant an army of UK Border Force wombles in other countries to ensure that migrant assessments meet the same standard. But which countries? You’d need to send people out everywhere from Calais to Timbuktu. This simply isn’t a practical solution – and don’t even think about the cost. It’ll be even more expensive than the turkey for your Christmas dinner banquet, which is saying something.

And to put the final nail in the coffin of this option, how do you think each country would react if we suddenly conducted a Border Force invasion of their territories? The poor French in Dunkirk would think it was World War II all over again. Plainly, British people conducting British checks on asylum seekers in their own countries will not work.

The second avenue Labour could follow is to ask foreign border enforcers to do the checks for us. Surely this doesn’t require much thought to realise it will never work. We can’t even get the French at Calais to cooperate with us – so imagine trying to strike a deal with countries further afield who don’t even have geographical affinity. It would be like holding out an olive branch to a dragon.

The news along the Labour grapevine is that no detailed plans have been drawn up. Based on the utter failures explored above, I can quite see why. This is the sort of idea for an immigration policy that will quite literally have been conjured up on a ‘Merry Christmas’ napkin by a tipsy Labour strategist, who’s realised the left needs a response to Rwanda if they are going to prove themselves an electable force. 

Clearly, no thought has gone into the practicalities of such a policy.

Just look at the numbers. Over 52,500 ‘irregular’ migrants were ‘detected’ arriving in the UK in 2023 – the key word, of course, being ‘detected’. Chances are there were more illegal immigrants than that. These people come from all over the world, which consists of nearly 8 billion people living in approximately 200 countries – although don’t quote me on this number, as a quick Google will show we can’t even agree how many countries there are in the world. So quite how the Arthur Scargills in the Labour strategy department think we can somehow monitor – at source – 50-odd thousand asylum seekers in a haystack covering the entire world, is beyond me.

We are forced to treat this plan for what it is, then. And, quite simply, it is purely a counter to the government’s parliament-passed plans to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda. It cannot be anything more because the logic, workability and even common sense just are not there. It is a tick box exercise to ensure voters have an idea of Labour’s immigration policies when it comes to the imminent general election in 2024.

I foresee that critics will claim I am assessing this policy before any detailed plans have even been released – and this is correct. But I’m afraid you’ll be waiting a long time to see any plans in writing for Labour’s ridiculous immigrant assessment proposals because the gravy-smeared napkin it was drawn out on will have been immediately thrown out with the Christmas dinner leftovers. Luckily, a bin of rotting turkey carcass is where this policy belongs.

Image: BBC News

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