Migrants and refugees arrive by dinghy behind a huge pile of life vests after crossing from Turkey Migrants and refugees arrive by dinghy behind a huge pile of life vests after crossing from Turkey. Photo: Freedom House - Flickr / cropped from original / shared under license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 / license linke below

Tories stoke racism to deflect from their austerity programme, observes Peter Morgan

The government’s vile words and actions against migrants and refugees must be condemned. The home secretary Suella Braverman donned far-right language to claim an ‘invasion’ of migrants, which will only encourage fascists and the far right such as we saw with the Dover petrol bomber Andrew Leak. Combine this with the appalling conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent, which has seen vulnerable and desperate human beings being effectively imprisoned for up to four weeks. All this brings shame on the government and their friends in the media who continue to pump lies and incite hostility.

This crisis is entirely of the ministers own making – the Refugee Council warned a year ago there would be record numbers of people coming across the channel in search of protection, but the Tories refused to put in place contingency measures. Since then, nearly 900 unaccompanied children under the age of 16 have been housed in hotels in the past year, a figure set to rise. It is worth restating, there is no such thing as an ‘illegal asylum-seeker.’ It is the denial of people’s right to seek asylum that is illegal under international law. And this is not accidental but is official government policy.

“Ministers have deliberately focused on making the system harsh and austere rather than focusing on putting resources and capacity in place to treat people with compassion and respect,” said Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council. Sunak’s appointment of Suella Braverman, as Home Secretary, shows the path he wishes to tread. Intent on renewed unpopular austerity the Tories hope to deflect public anger by inciting racism and hatred towards those forced to flee to this country. The Tories’ austerity must be stopped, and their racism must be beaten.

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