The Windrush scandal has brought into sharp relief the power and reach of Britain’s immigration industry. The government’s mishandling of the rights of those who had been granted settlement was a bureaucratic mistake. However, what is worse is that this scandal has subsequently been weaponised by powerful interests in order to imply that the strategy of discouraging the breach of immigration law, is a wholesale evil.
Reasonable observers can see that mistakes in implementing a policy do not imply that the policy itself is unsound. The quiet majority support rules which discourage illegality.
The rhetoric on immigration in this country often tends to fall on either side of a grossly oversimplified binary. The Windrush scandal has tragically been exploited by those with an interest in deploying a convenient yet simplistic narrative in order to traduce opponents.
As William Blake said: ‘A truth that’s told with bad intent/Beats all the lies you can invent.’
This strategy of weaponising and repurposing real problems for a wider agenda is something that we at Migration Watch UK have called Victimology Dogma. This can be defined as the ‘technique of exploiting situations in order to cultivate and inflate a manufactured sense of victim status in order to justify ever more extreme policy demands.’
One of the major advantages of piggy-backing on a victim narrative in this way is that anyone who challenges or even questions a lobby group’s policy demands (no matter how extreme or nutty) can be labelled a bigot or a reactionary. Worse still, they can be calumnied as someone who is ‘promoting hate.’
Given the heated culture wars on the issue of free speech in western democracies, this tactic seems to be aimed at intimidating and shutting down vocal critics of demands, while creating a culture of deterrence around any further criticism. The paradoxical effect is that one side of this debate is able to give itself an aura of immunity from any challenge all the while appearing to be fighting for civil rights and justice.
A clear majority of the population support more carefully and tightly controlled borders, and one poll found that 77% of the public see illegal immigration as a serious problem facing the UK.
The public are right to be concerned. Pew Research released in 2019 estimated that between 800,000 and 1.2 million illegal immigrants in the UK, an estimate that had been foreshadows by similar figures put forward by former senior Home Office personnel. Around 105,000 gross cases of overstaying, failed asylum seekers and clandestine arrivals are thought to be added every year. Taking away an estimated 35,000 of those cases who are sent home, that still leaves a net addition of 70,000 additional illegal entrants every year. However, this number is likely even higher now because the number of removals declined dramatically in the past year or so.
Illegal immigration places a massive strain on jobs, housing and public services with new entrants and overstayers entering the black economy and circumnavigating the ordinary demands that citizens face every day which require them to obey the law and pay taxes.
The government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy was designed to discourage illegal immigration and thus relieve British services of a massive burden. Between 70% and 80% of the public support it. However, this policy has been misrepresented via ‘victimology’ dogma to symbolise a hatred of all immigrants or some kind of nativist agenda.
In a cunning and what appears to be a very deliberate strategy, the victimologist agenda conflates all categories of immigrant. Someone who has a previous criminal record or history of terrorism is lumped together with a genuine refugee who has followed UN procedure and waited in the queue for their application to be processed. A child bride fleeing FGM abuse is treated in the same way as a man who has been convicted and given a criminal sentence for rape and is challenging his deportation on alleged ‘human rights’ grounds. However, a failure to discriminate and demand oversight on the different categories of immigration puts those legitimate and often moving claims for refuge and safety at severe risk. It’s also hugely unfair for legal migrants who wait in line, patiently follow the rules and pay through the nose in visa fees.
On top of this, victimology leaves us with a massive obstruction of the rule of law. By classing illegal entrants and overstayers as ‘victims’ we effectively create a class of people who are free from the ordinary obligations of every British citizen. Ascribing them with victimhood status is patronising and moreover casts a false halo of heroism.
This can have the effect of excusing, turning a blind eye or even encouraging criminal behaviour while making a mockery of those who abide by the law and make a moral investment in the wider society.
The dogma of ‘Victimology’ is a powerful weapon in the hands of a bloated and dangerous immigration lobby. It can have the effect of rebranding criminal behaviour under the rosy imprimatur of a struggle for justice. It allows some people to live (and believe they are) above the law, all the while fostering resentment and eroding public trust.
Limited and controlled immigration – governed by fair and reasonable rules that are backed by proper enforcement – are necessary in a dynamic, liberal democracy. However, if immigration is used as an ideological stick to beat the British people into submission, it sows the seeds of social disintegration.