Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been involved in the mini-debate provoked by Phil Woolas' inept comments about asylum, the law and the work of charities and human rights organisations. Ekklesia's response was 'Immigration Minister has wrong target on asylum'. My other press comments are collated here. That a Minister of the Crown should make it publicly plain that he will not accept the verdict of the law in this area is quite stunning. These days there are often calls for resignations when politicians make gaffes. Mostly they are driven by partisan advantage. That there are no such calls in this instance is a significant commentary on warped priorities and the depressing consensus between government and main opposition that exists around this issue. The statement by the Free Churches moves in the right direction, and at least one senior Anglican figure has been working very well behind the scenes in relation to those seeking refuge from Zimbabwe. I also wrote about 'Migration's real meaning' for Guardian CIF some time back. Caroline Slocock of the Refugee Legal Centre has made an excellent response to Woolas here.


Anonymous said...

'But if we discard this definition of a people, and, assuming another, say that a people is an assemblage of reasonable beings bound together by a common agreement as to the objects of their love, then, in order to discover the character of any people, we have only to observe what they love. Yet whatever it loves, if only it is an assemblage of reasonable beings and not of beasts, and is bound together by an agreement as to the objects of love, it is reasonably called a people; and it will be a superior people in proportion as it is bound together by higher interests, inferior in proportion as it is bound together by lower.'
City of God Book XIX Chapter 24

Daddy Hardup said...

Chris C

Could you expand please on the relationship of Augustine of Hippo to Phil Woolas?

It does rather sound as if the British are an inferior people bound together by a love of shopping malls and rising property prices and determined to exclude Zimbabweans (and other poor and oppressed people) from the party. A party which is now being thoroughly pooped by the bursting of the speculative bubble.


Thanks for signalling Phil Woolas' outrageous comments, which didn't seem to receive much coverage on the BBC - if they did, I must have blinked, or stopped my ears, and missed it.

At least we still have an independent judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Quite agree, Jeremiah. But I think there was a time, not too long ago in fact, when they shared different and more worthy 'objects of love'.
Actually, my point was not the relationship of Augustine of Hippo to Phil Woolas but the relationship of Augustine of Hippo to Simon Barrow. I think the main point is before pontificating on the rights owned by and owed to 'the outsider' there has to be a firm grasp of what it means to be 'an insider' and furthermore to share in an honest way in that.
By the way, one man's 'independent judiciary' is very often another man's politicised judiciary.

Simon Barrow said...

Your quotation is well taken, Chris... though the Simon Barrow in your head is a curious concoction, often at variance with the one writing here. ;)

The judiciary has a measurable degree of independence in this country. When it acts to defend the weak, while the government pursues policies that scapegoat them, its politics are to be welcomed.