Divisive immigration posters should include a humour test for illegals
NEW Home Office adverts urge illegal immigrants to”‘go home or face arrest”? Leaflets are being distributed in East and West London boroughs: Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge.
It’s PR politics. The Government looks threatening and tough whilst also coming across as soft and understanding. The message beneath the tools of arrest and detention informs: “We can help you return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention.”
See. It’s not intimidation. It’s an advert for free travel. Sure, you fled poverty /persecution at home, breached national borders and adapted to a new country. But you might get arrested at some point so best to hand yourself in. These posters can’t fail to work. The illegal immigration must be forming an orderly queue.
A few views:
Vince Cable MP (Lib):
“We have a problem, but it’s not a vast one. And it has got to be dealt with in a measured way, dealing with the underlying causes…Actually, it’s quite difficult being an illegal immigrant in Britain. You can’t work, certainly legally. You can’t have access to benefits. So the idea that there’s some vast hidden army of people is almost certainly wrong.”
Sadiq Khan MP (Lab):
“I think this is David Cameron’s attempt to try to win over Ukip voters. I think anybody that buys anything off the back of the lorry is foolish, and that includes this sort of silly posters.”
Nick de Bois MP (Con):
“Are people saying after all then: ‘Well, it’s OK, we’ll let people stay here illegally’? That’s not what the British public wants, and I think my colleagues in coalition are divorced from the reality that the British public are pleased that … illegal immigration is something that just shouldn’t be tolerated.”
Nigel Farage (UKIP):
“What the billboard should say is: Please don’t vote UKIP, we are doing something. That’s what it’s all about. I think the actual tone of the billboards, it really is Big Brother, nasty, it’s unpleasant. I don’t think using messaging like this makes any difference, what would make a difference is enforcing our borders properly.”
Immigration Minister Mark Harper:
“This is about people who are here illegally, the messaging on the advertising is very clear. We are working very closely with a lot of community groups who actually welcome the opportunity for someone who is not here legally to leave the country in a dignified way rather than being arrested, detained and having an enforced removal.”
…I texted the number advertised on the bilboards. The auto reply offered a callback in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, English or other language. I noted the racial profiling but went to bed and thought no more of it.
The next day, just as I was looking for a distraction from my dull sandwich-at-a-desk routine, the telephone rang. It was the Home Office. Although I had no script planned, I was up for some fun.
“Umm, I need to go home.”
“Where do you need to get home to?”
“This scheme is for people who need to go home to a place abroad.”
“Yes but I’m in Harrow now and your poster said you’d help me get home …”
“We provide help to people who are here illegally, such as people whose visas have expired.”
“I don’t have a visa.”
“Do you think you might be here illegally?”
“I don’t know. Do I need a visa to travel between Willesden and Harrow?”
Maybe the low-value migrants – the people whose jobs don’t score highly on the UK Border Agency’s check list for would-be immigrants and who aren’t rich – can petition for a test on their senses of humour?