Tuesday, April 01, 2008

British government in illegal immigrants cover-up

Hundreds of illegal immigrants - including a suspected murderer and other criminals - are working in care homes in Britain, a leaked Home Office report has disclosed. In some homes more than half the employees have entered the country illegally and are now being entrusted with caring for old and vulnerable people. The immigration intelligence report found that one illegal worker was a murder suspect from the Philippines and others had been involved in the "abuse and mistreatment" of elderly people.

The report, which was produced more than two years ago, warned that the problems were "widespread" and "significant". But officials say its findings have been ignored. "Very few of these cases are acted on," one official said. "Ministers have turned a blind eye in the obscene interests of costs. These cases are not seen as a priority and most of them simply go to the bottom of the pile."

The leak follows the fiasco last year when Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, admitted that more than 11,000 illegal immigrants had been cleared to work as security guards. It also comes as Gordon Brown prepares to launch his flagship UK Border Agency, which is designed to bolster the country's protection from illegal immigrants, terrorists and other criminals.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "The Home Office is turning a blind eye and allowing some of the most vulnerable people to be put in the care of people who by definition cannot have a criminal records check."

The 22-page intelligence report examined 110 investigations into the employment of suspected illegal immigrants in care homes in the south and southwest of England. The situation was so bad, the report notes, that "there is potential for embarrassment if the immigration service is not seen to be actively addressing this issue". Many of the illegal workers were using false names and forged identity documents to bypass police criminal records checks. The suspected Filipino murderer had used fraudulent references to get a job at a care home in Plymouth.

The report discloses that Home Office ministers had failed to tackle the problem because most of the illegal care home workers were from countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa, which were not on the priority list identifying those who should be targeted. This restriction "does not allow the immigration service to take any form of action", it says. Offenders are rarely brought to court because of a lack of resources. "There is no deterrent factor for those involved in these activities," the report states.

One of the few prosecutions was a case in Nottingham in 2001 when an illegal immigrant was jailed for raping a woman in his care. The woman could not speak and had the mental ability of a three-year-old. The report, which has been leaked by Whitehall officials exasperated that little has been done about the problem, reveals:

- that 58 of 113 employees of a firm running two homes in Hampshire and Wiltshire were suspected illegal offenders;

- that 36 of 58 people at a Southampton care agency were working illegally, mostly using fake identity papers;

- and that 22 of 55 foreign nationals who applied for employment through a Salisbury agency were immigration offenders

The document says the proliferation of untrained and unqualified illegal migrants, many with unknown backgrounds, poses a direct risk to some of the estimated 480,000 elderly and vulnerable people in the 21,000 care homes in England and Wales. It states: "The severity of the reported incidents varies, ranging from care workers not being suitably qualified, to the abuse of clients within their care. If this is allowed to continue without action all have the potential to be damaging to the public and media perception of the immigration service."

Mark Hammond, of the PCS union, which represents 2,000 immigration officials, said: "This report exposes the government's big lie. There are not enough resources to enforce immigration law because of budgetary constraints and activity is set to decrease not increase, due to cuts in duties scheduled for weekends. Vitally important work won't be actioned and vulnerable people will be at risk."

The report found that there were so many illegal immigrants in two care homes in Bristol that a proposed operation at Christmas by the Home Office to arrest them was cancelled because it would have involved the removal of the majority of staff. The Home Office feared there would be "negative publicity" if it was held responsible for leaving old people without care.

Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said controls had been tightened up since the report. "Every visa applicant is now fingerprinted before they reach here, ID cards become compulsory for all foreign nationals from November and œ10,000 on-the-spot fines are now in place for any illegal workers."

The report, however, blames government policy for the lack of action. "The predominant nationalities identified working illegally within the care industry do not necessarily correspond with current national priorities for enforcement action," it says.


It's all too easy to get into Britain

People flock to Britain because its system of visas and social benefits are skewed in favour of those entering Britain

Last week's report by the Independent Asylum Commission, which describes our asylum system as "shameful", flies in the face of reality. It's almost as if the former appeal court judge Sir John Waite is pulling our legs. His conclusion - that the UK's treatment of asylum seekers falls "seriously below" the standards of a civilised society and that our treatment of them has "blemished" our international reputation - is, to say the least, a slight exaggeration.

Indeed it was only last month that the government proposed tightening immigration laws relating to asylum, citizenship and visas because it is felt - with justification - that too many people from abroad are taking advantage of our welcome and hospitality. This is borne out by Migration Watch UK's prediction that more than 2m people will arrive in the UK every 10 years for the foreseeable future - taking our population to 65m by 2016. Even the Home Office's own figures note that the UK has the third-largest foreign population and labour force in the European Union - currently about 2.2m.

It's not exactly hard to come to the UK. A couple of years ago a close friend of mine who was getting married decided to invite an uncle over from Punjab, in India. The uncle duly received an invitation and a sponsorship form and within a few weeks had obtained a visa from the British high commission in Delhi. Just like that.

There don't seem to be any stringent checks on foreigners arriving here. And various independent investigations - including one by the BBC's Panorama programme - have already documented how easy it is to obtain visas and British passports by duplicitous means.

You would think that when so many people in Britain are concerned about the polarisation of communities and the erosion of a single national and cultural identity, that there would be some joined-up thinking. Surely, you might surmise, the government and the Foreign Office are singing from the same hymn sheet. Alas, you'd be wrong. Although Gordon Brown's administration talks about tightening existing laws, it doesn't seem to convey this to the visa sections in British consulates and embassies around the world - least of all in the Indian subcontinent.

It's quite simple, really: if our government wants to control immigration and asylum, it needs to design a robust and consistent policy for entry, visas and deportation of failed applications for asylum - and this then has to be communicated to all relevant agencies. Soundbites about our rotten treatment of asylum seekers may help to win elections but they don't safeguard the interests of the country at large.

Before Waite described our nation as "shameful", perhaps he should have talked to ordinary people to get a real sense of what most of us feel about the existing asylum system. Perhaps he could have explained to them why some asylum seekers, allegedly fleeing for their lives, are crossing countries and even continents to get to the UK (surely, if you are genuinely seeking safety, you would ask for haven in the nearest country).

As everyone seems to know - except Waite - people flock here because our system of issuing visas and our social benefits system are skewed in favour of those entering Britain. However, unlike his commission, British people know full well when their hospitality and their country's welfare system are being abused and exploited.

Back to my friend and his relative. Surprisingly, his uncle missed the wedding and instead turned up a few days later. A couple of weeks on, he asked to be shown the wonderful sights of our country. My friend did as much as he could, showing him around London, Manchester, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Lake District and north Wales. Eventually he had to say: "I'm sorry but I can't keep taking you around because we can't afford it." His uncle took offence. "Well, then," he said, "get me a job so I can earn some money of my own." Anyone who comes over on a tourist visa, of course, cannot work here legally. Naturally, my friend - being a pillar of the community - declined to help, explaining to his uncle that he too would be breaking the law if he helped him to find illegal employment. Rather miffed, his uncle decided to move in with another relative in Middlesex.

Almost a year later, my friend spoke to the relative who had taken him in. This man said that he had given the uncle many hints about going home to India - but he just didn't take any notice. Apparently, six months is the minimum period for a tourist visa. Why, the uncle's new host asked plaintively, are tourists given such a long period of stay in this country?

As many British Asians know only too well, living with visitors with whom you have little in common can be a nightmare. Getting them to go home is almost impossible. Indeed the uncle's host said he felt as though he was living in the Big Brother house with a guest from hell. So you can imagine how flabbergasted he was when the uncle suggested at the end of the six months that he wanted to extend his stay. No way, thought his host, who then helped him pack his bags and ordered a taxi to the airport.

This is quite a typical scenario. In other parts of our communities, "arranged" marriages are nothing more than economic contracts that enable young men from the Indian subcontinent to stay in Britain. Even so-called spiritual guides, such as the Sikh a cousin of mine once invited over, can be suspect. After six months the guru suddenly told my cousin that he was being persecuted in India - for being a Sikh. And, yes, he wanted to apply for political asylum.

It was like a sketch from Goodness Gracious Me. Yet the guru was serious: he knew that if he lodged an application for asylum, it might be years before the government heard his case. In the meantime he'd be free to do as he pleased. The next day he did a runner. Thus a Sikh who had nothing to complain about in his native land became one of the 60,000 people who, according to Migration Watch UK, enter this country every year on a visitor's visa and then disappear. Most visitors from the Indian subcontinent, I'm afraid, will do whatever they can to stay in the UK. Maybe Sir John Waite could consider making that the subject of his next commission


Doctors take heartless NHS to court

A group representing nearly 1,000 doctors is preparing to mount a legal action against the health service to stop care being withdrawn from patients who want to pay for their own cancer medicines. It is seeking a judicial review of the Department of Health policy that forces patients to pay for all their treatment if they buy any additional medicine.

Many patients would like to buy extra drugs that are not offered as part of their treatment because the National Health Service has ruled that the benefits do not justify the costs. The government fears that if patients make the purchases, called co-payments, it will lead to a “two-tier” NHS.

Doctors for Reform believes patients should be given the freedom to choose. Its intervention follows a campaign by The Sunday Times highlighting the plight of breast cancer sufferers denied the opportunity to improve their chances by paying privately for drugs.

Last December we reported the case of Colette Mills, a breast cancer sufferer from Stokesley in North Yorkshire, who was told that if she topped up her medication with privately bought drugs she would have to pay for her entire treatment – about £10,000 a month. The Department of Health has issued guidance to health trusts warning them that co-payments are not allowed. In December Alan Johnson, the health secretary, reiterated the rules.

Doctors for Reform has teamed up with Halliwells, the law firm, to challenge the ruling. Halliwells is offering its services free as the doctors are trying to raise £35,000 in donations towards government legal fees if they lose. The doctors point out that examples of co-payments already exist in the NHS, for instance in dental care.

Dr Christoph Lees, a steering group member, said: “Doctors are caught in a terrible dilemma: do you tell a patient about a drug that could improve their quality of life, or do you pretend it doesn’t exist?”

Another cancer patient, Debbie Hirst, 56, from St Ives, Cornwall, began legal action against her local NHS trust to win the right to pay for the drug Avastin. Legal judgment was averted when the trust decided to treat Hirst as a special case and paid for the medicine.


No privacy for role-playing games?

We read:

"The president of the body governing world motor racing - the son of a notorious wartime fascist - has allegedly been caught on video cavorting with prostitutes in a Nazi role-play sex game. Max Mosley - the son of British Union of Fascists party founder Oswald Mosley - was reported by the News of the World to have taken part in the sleazy scene at a London apartment.

A video on the News of the World's website shows a man identified as Mosley arriving at an apartment. The man is then greeted by a woman playing the role of a prison guard, checking his hair to see if he has been kept clean "at the other facility". Later, another woman in a prisoner's uniform enters the video and the man said to be Mosley is heard speaking German.


I have no idea what kinky sex is all about. I must have been born without that gene. Nonetheless, a liking for it seems to be very common -- particularly in Britain. And strange garb and stranger games are apparently a common part of it. And according to a now generally accepted defence of homosexuality, what you do between consenting adults in the privacy of your own bedroom is no business of anybody else. So how did this guy go wrong? Why is he being called on to resign?

Incidentally, Sir Oswald Mosley remained a British patriot both before and during WWII. Leftists generally were patriotic once. Sir Oswald left the British Labour party and founded the British Union of Fascists because the Labour party was not socialist enough for him.

West slowly awakening from suicidal slumber?

It is, by any measure, a sunny day when moralising elites are forced to eat their words. Only a few short years ago many were busily deriding Australia as an "international pariah" on immigration. Indeed, only last year our new citizenship test was labelled as nasty stuff by people such as journalist David Marr and former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser.

Enter the British Labour Government, which last month announced its intention to introduce tough new citizenship tests and, get this, bring in immigration controls "based on the Australian model". Far from pariah-dom, Australia is a role model on how to control immigration and integrate migrants. More important, as Western nations learn from one another, each new step taken looks more confident and assertive than the previous one.

Finally, perhaps, the West is realising, as Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said late last year, that "it is confidence in your own heritage that allows you to be generous to those of another heritage".

Old ideas that should have never been discarded are being revisited. Although the Brown Government is pitching this as a "vision of British citizenship for the 21st century", it is, in reality, an old one. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's vision of British citizenship as one "founded on a unifying idea of rights matched with responsibilities" marks a long overdue turning point in Western thinking, a return to more sensible times where basic Western values were asserted with confidence.

For the past few decades, the progressive fad of minority rights, fuelled by multiculturalism, has flourished. Once a hard form of multiculturalism took root, one that treated all cultures as equal, the values of the host country were effectively under attack. Cultural relativism morphed into a virulent strand of Western self-loathing where tolerance was reinterpreted to mean tolerating those intolerant of Western culture and values. Brown's reforms are aimed at overturning that rights fetish, a counterproductive and indeed dangerously one-sided notion where people could demand of the state but the state could not demand of them.

These days the multiculti crowd is dwindling to a few stragglers. But they include people who should know better. Last month, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, called for the introduction of some aspects of sharia law into Britain and told the BBC that Muslims should not be required to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty and state loyalty".

The cultural loyalty that Williams robustly defended explains why parts of British society are already unofficially dispensing their own form of sharia law. A few weeks ago London's Daily Mail exposed how parallel courts were operating in Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Manchester, Dewsbury, Birmingham and other towns settled by the 43,000-strong Somali population. Violence within the Somali community is dealt with by groups of elders who meet to hand out punishments in the form of an apology and compensation to the victim. Aydraus Hassan, a Somali youth worker from Woolwich, told the Daily Mail that families rarely called in the police because they preferred their own system of justice. "This is how we have dealt with crime since the 10th century. This is something we can sort out for ourselves," he said.

Cultural loyalty also explains the heartbreaking reports of female genital mutilation among African communities in Britain. Last month, a Liverpool newspaper reported that, despite new laws to prohibit FGM, up to 90 per cent of women in some ethnic communities are mutilated. African tribal elders are being flown into Britain to perform the mutilation. This is happening under the noses of authorities for the simple reason that Western nations such as Britain succumbed to the scourge of cultural relativism where migrants were allowed to openly spurn Western values.

Brown's reforms are a small but important step in reasserting the traditional three-way contract: majority tolerance, minority loyalty and government vigilance in both directions. That contract, well understood by migrants in the 1950s and '60s when they arrived with a sense of obligation to the new country, knowing what was expected of them, was scuppered by multiculturalism. In a sign that the British Government is finally learning the lessons of the past three decades of multicultural mayhem, the 60-page green paper published by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith mentions the M-word only once, as follows, quoting from an Aberdeen participant: "Multiculturalism is a two-way street; they must accept us and change too."

As Brown outlined in his speech in London to launch the reforms, British citizenship will depend on migrants entering into a contract where rights are matched with responsibilities. For example, he says, people are protected from crime but in return agree to obey the law. People can expect and receive services but in return will pay their fair share of taxes and have an obligation to work. Britain will support families but will expect families to take care of their own. Importantly, the Brown Government will consider amending its Human Rights Act to create a new British bill of rights and responsibilities that will detail "not just what people are entitled to but what they are expected to do in return".

In line with Brown's notion of "earned citizenship", a new category of probationary citizens will not be entitled to full rights associated with citizenship. The Brown Government will explore whether some services - such as the right to post-18 education, the right to public housing and social security benefits - will apply only on full citizenship. Probationary citizens will be required to donate to a fund to help finance local public services.

The Brown Government's reforms are an acknowledgment of the "progressive dilemma" - the conflict between solidarity and diversity - outlined a few years ago by David Goodhart, editor of the progressive Prospect. Coming from a member of the Left, Goodhart's observations packed a punch. He talked about us not just living among strangers but having to share with them. "All such acts of sharing are more smoothly and generously negotiated if we can take for granted a limited set of common values and assumptions," he said.

The changes outlined by Brown are unashamedly about cementing solidarity, outlining a common identity and expecting migrants to sign on to the traditional social contract in an era of globalisation where more and more people born in one country want to live in another. It is Goodhart's thesis writ large and long overdue.

That Western governments are forced to articulate the importance of Western values and the traditional social contract tells you how far these core principles fell into disrepair. But at least, finally, it suggests that the West is slowly waking from its suicidal slumber.



It will cost every household in the UK at least 2,000 pounds to comply with the new European Union target of producing 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the government. The report also says the UK will have to spend far more to meet the target than other EU countries, because the UK lags behind the rest of Europe on renewables and is a heavy energy user.

According to energy consultancy Poyry, the bill for the UK to meet the target would be at least 5 billion euros a year for more than a decade, compared with just over 3bn a year for France and Germany, and well under 500m for most other countries. Energy companies are expected to pass on to consumers - who already face soaring utility bills - the costs of building the necessary wind farms, biomass plants and solar generators.

Chris Goodall, author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, says even these estimates are conservative, and fail to take into account the huge investment needed to connect new renewable and micro-generators to the national grid.

A government spokeswoman admitted that meeting the EU target would be challenging, but added: 'We must make these hard choices if we are to tackle climate change.'


Socialist Britain now too poor to fix its potholes: "When is a pothole in the road not a pothole? When it is less than 4cm deep, according to new guidelines that have been adopted by cash-strapped councils across Britain. The councils are this weekend accused of contributing to the "chronic disrepair" of UK roads by redefining the size of potholes that they are obliged to fill. More than 20 local authorities are cutting road maintenance bills by refusing to repair potholes less than 4cm deep. Some councils have doubled the size of "actionable" potholes in recent years. The revelation comes ahead of a comprehensive survey of Britain's roads, which will this week reveal that local authorities are facing a shortfall of more than 1 billion pounds as they attempt to fill in 1 million potholes a year."

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