Anorak News | Shooting The Messenger

Shooting The Messenger

by | 30th, March 2004

‘IF in doubt, shoot the messenger. If still in doubt, riddle the body with yet more bullets.

Beverley Hughes – ‘Migrant Minister’

The Government yesterday reacted to a leaked e-mail detailing the chaos that is Britain’s asylum system in the time-honoured way – by suspending the whistleblower.

And so 54-year-old James Cameron, the British Consul in Bucharest, joins a long and distinguished list of public servants such as Katherine Gun and Clive Ponting.

His alleged crime was to send an e-mail to David Davies, shadow home secretary, showing that lax checks on immigrants from eastern Europe were more widespread than the Government admitted.

Applications supported by forged and counterfeit documents were being approved because staff ignored warnings or could not read the relevant language.

And, says the Telegraph, this laxness was being exploited by local lawyers who were bringing in hundreds of applications in suitcases.

The Guardian publishes the full text of the e-mail – and, if Mr Cameron does not deserve suspension for leaking information, he certainly does for his bad spelling.

One paragraph reads: ‘What you said and the Gov acknowledged on allowing the 10 countries national [sic] in without further checks, is also being applied to those countries on the next assession [sic] list including Bulgaria and Romania. Both countries were until 1 March overwhelmed with baddly [sic] prepared and bogus ECAA application.’

However, the political fall-out from the leak has overshadowed the fact that a British Consul spells so ‘badly’.

Home Office minister Beverley Hughes, already under fire after revelations of an unauthorised relaxation of immigration controls from another civil servant, is under pressure to resign.

But she is determined to hold on to her position, accusing Mr Davis of ‘cynical news management’ in sitting on the e-mail for three weeks and only releasing it now ‘to keep an immigration story going to do damage to the Government’.

Such cynicism! Had the e-mail been in the other inbox, so to speak, we are sure that Labour would have balked at making political capital out of it.

How dare the Tories behave like an Opposition Party again!’

Posted: 30th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink