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We Need Delivery, Not Grand Statements

The Government’s bill to make it illegal to claim asylum after crossing the channel on a small boat has now passed its second reading in the House of Commons. There are many, many reasons why I dislike this policy. To a degree that dislike is irrelevant, because it simply won’t work. At worst it could see the people traffickers using potentially more dangerous routes to get people to the UK and then lead to the traffickers helping them to disappear into the black economy - creating more opportunity for them, rather than trying to defeat them. The bill is also a perfect example of why the Conservative Party are now Conservative in name only, it does not emanate from a party that believes in aspiration and giving the vulnerable a hand up.

I am also convinced the Government haven’t done this to solve the problem (I suspect they know it won’t), but because they want to make headlines and be seen to be doing something. I feel the same way about the Rwanda policy, it is more about headlines that kow-tow to ex-UKIP voters, which the Conservatives spend too much time doing. It is a good example of politics following opinion rather than leading; followship not leadership is one of the great sins of our broken political system.

Grand pronouncements are also examples of how politics has become all about short-termism. Political parties are no longer able to look further forward than the next general election, which means the proper way to deal with what is an international immigrant crisis is ignored; rather than working with international partners to get the UN to better step up to the plate, the Government chooses to step on their toes in a big way. Whatever, our Government say, it is through the UN and a change in our own policies to allow asylum applications from overseas that our people trafficking problem will be resolved.

I hope that in a world of renewed politics we will see parties understanding the benefits of long-term thinking. Surely getting to an election and being able to show significant progress on longer term transformation is a great way of securing votes? But, even if a party came out of an election in 2nd or 3rd place, having a half-delivered agenda will give them great influence when trying to form coalitions – with the larger party realising that there is benefit to be gained from continuing a journey that will be delivered next time an election comes along.


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