The Home Office’s “Go Home” poster is the kind of divisive stunt I would have expected if the BNP were in government.
Touring the multicultural boroughs of Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, and Brent today it was nothing more than a modern version of the infamous “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs” B&B signs of the 1950’s on wheels.
The choice of London boroughs displays the same kind of racial profiling that Home Secretary Theresa May says she wants the police to stop.
Immigration officials are well known for their racial profiling at border control and they have conducted ‘sweeps’ outside tube stations like Brixton pulling over anyone they think looks like an illegal immigrant, ie. they are of colour.
To say nothing of the prisoner-style treatment meted out to detainees of immigration detention centres or the violent conduct of security contractors when deporting people.
Brent Central MP Sarah Teather recently blew the whistle on a ministerial working group on immigrants which was initially named the “Hostile Environment” group with a brief to make Britain as hostile as possible to immigrants.
The “Go Home” poster looks like it as come from exactly this mindset.
The leader of Brent council, Mohammed Butt, said that the government haven’t learnt the lessons of the 1950s and 60s but I believe they know exactly what they are doing.
Theresa May and her ministers and officials know full well the impact of this billboard will be on multicultural communities in general rather than the odd illegal immigrant who might be passing by.
It reads like a message to the whole community, an attempt to divide communities and harvest the racist vote from UKIP.
People need to stop asking David Cameron if he has talked to No.10 spinner Lyndon Crosby about cigarette packaging and start asking if the pair have discussed this campaign which has all the hallmarks of the brash anti-immigrant stirring Crosby masterminded in Australia.
It is an attempt to poison the 2015 election regardless of the consequences which may well be a green light to the Far Right to increase violent attacks just as anti-immigrant sentiment led to white youths beating up foreign-looking men on their sun-kissed beaches.
The recent imposition of a £3,000 visa bond on visitors from Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan and India is another example of racial profiling.
Visa overstayers are just as likely to come from Australia or South Africa. All this measure will achieve is denying families in Britain the visits of relatives for weddings and funerals.
Like the touring billboard, it will create resentment and a sense of unfairness within multicultural communities. And it will surely impact on British business as entrepreneurs in the fast-growing economies of Ghana, Nigeria and India think twice about investing in the UK.
Combined with the arbitrary cap on foreign university students, which business secretary Vince Cable has warned will harm Britain’s interests, these policies are a huge break on the country’s faltering recovery.
Instead of parading a”Go Home” message through London’s multicultural communities ministers need to ‘Go Study’ the economic and social benefits of fostering a welcoming and diverse nation and contrast this with the prospect of becoming an insular, culturally-impoverished struggling nation if they continue down the divisive Lyndon Crosby road.
By Lester Holloway @brolezholloway