Rwanda plan to cost UK £1.8m for each asylum seeker, figures show

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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/01/rwanda-plan-uk-asylum-seeker-cost-figures

Disclosure, calculated on basis of 300 deportations, called ‘staggering’ by chair of home affairs committee

Rishi Sunak’s flagship plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will cost taxpayers £1.8m for each of the first 300 people the government deports to Kigali, Whitehall’s official spending watchdog has disclosed.

The overall cost of the scheme stands at more than half a billion pounds, according to the figures released to the National Audit Office. Even if the UK sends nobody to the central African state, Sunak has signed up to pay £370m from the public purse over the five-year deal.

The disclosures follow nearly three years of refusals by prime ministers, home secretaries and senior Home Office staff to explain the full costs of the deal, citing “commercial confidentiality”.

So far, no asylum seeker has been sent to Rwanda, because of repeated challenges to the scheme under European and UK laws.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/01/rwanda-plan-uk-asylum-seeker-cost-figures

Continue ReadingRwanda plan to cost UK £1.8m for each asylum seeker, figures show

Morning Star: It’s Rishi Sunak & Co not ‘the mob’ that are the real threat to our democracy

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https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/editorial-sunak-threat-democracy

We have been told that all marchers are Islamists or “extremists” and present Home Secretary James Cleverley has demanded that the organisers call them off since they have “made their point.”

However, the government has not yet got that point. It continues to thwart efforts to secure an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

And the propaganda overlooks the fact that the repeated huge demonstrations have been almost entirely peaceful. Such few arrests as there have been have been mainly about the police stopping the display of what they regard as unacceptable slogans or images.

It is clear that the Establishment is rattled by the intensity of opposition to its pro-Israel policy and by the fact that the cosy Commons consensus is rejected by the country outside, which overwhelmingly wants a ceasefire.

And masses repeatedly mobilised on the streets always rattle the state, more or less regardless of the issue. These protests are still more menacing to the elite because they challenge the prerogatives of imperialism.

It is no surprise therefore that state prosecutor Starmer’s Labour has hardly raised a peep of protest.

But the solidarity protests are the voice of democracy. The bipartisan move against them is a threat to all our freedoms. The left must stand against the hysteria and assert our democratic right to hold politicians to account.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/editorial-sunak-threat-democracy

Well said Morning Star

Continue ReadingMorning Star: It’s Rishi Sunak & Co not ‘the mob’ that are the real threat to our democracy

Rishi Sunak, Complicity to genocide is a war crime

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claims “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently." Sunak is recognised as a war criminal due to his complicity in genocide. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing ...
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claims “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently.” Sunak is recognised as a war criminal due to his complicity in genocide.
Continue ReadingRishi Sunak, Complicity to genocide is a war crime

UN Special Rapporteur releases paper condemning state repression of environmental defenders

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Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.
Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders released a detailed ‘Position Paper’ yesterday which called growing repression of environmental protest and activism a  “major threat to democracy and human rights”. He remarked:

“The repression that environmental activists who use peaceful civil disobedience are currently facing in Europe is a major threat to democracy and human rights. The environmental emergency that we are collectively facing, and that scientists have been documenting for decades, cannot be addressed if those raising the alarm and demanding action are criminalized for it. The only legitimate response to peaceful environmental activism and civil disobedience at this point is that the authorities, the media, and the public realize how essential it is for us all to listen to what environmental defenders have to say.”

The report names numerous actions and comments made by the UK Government over recent years as cause for concern for the state of democracy and civil rights. It lists an overview of “Harsh and disproportionate sentences and removal of defenses” that have been occurring in the judicial system.

Image of a Just Stop Oil participant getting arrested at Kingsbury oil terminal.
A Just Stop Oil participant getting arrested at Kingsbury oil terminal. A JSO / Vladamir Morozov image.

Recent legislations from the UK Government are described as “being used to stifle environmental protest”, such as the 2022 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and 2023 Public Order Act – the factsheet of which mentions “Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil” as leading factors.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said today:

“The main concern of policymakers should be on addressing this crisis and assisting the frontline victims of climate collapse – that’s the farmers in Wales whose crops are failing, or families in Ireland having to evacuate from their homes to escape flooding, or people in Bangladesh suffering under the threat of lethal wet-bulb temperatures.”

Image of an Insulate Britain roadblock September 2021
Image of an Insulate Britain roadblock September 2021

“However, the fact is that Western Governments are resorting to increasing authoritarianism to try to stop citizens from standing up to their leaders’ corrupt efforts to line their own pockets with oil money. It’s important to highlight this fact, and to note that this repression is failing as the people’s demand for real decarbonisation becomes too loud to ignore”.

As the world passes tipping points that threaten the breakdown of ordered civilization, world leaders, captured by the interests of oil lobbyists and big business, are failing to protect our communities. British citizens are sick of being led by liars and crooks. Until we stop Tory oil, supporters of Just Stop Oil will continue taking proportionate action to demand necessary change. Sign up for action at juststopoil.org.

'The Uk Government's Hypocritical Stance on Protest' by Mair Bain. Part of Just Stop Oil's You May Find Yourself...
02 JUNE 2023 - 23 JUNE 2023 auction.
‘The Uk Government’s Hypocritical Stance on Protest’ by Mair Bain. Part of Just Stop Oil’s You May Find Yourself… 02 JUNE 2023 – 23 JUNE 2023 auction.
Continue ReadingUN Special Rapporteur releases paper condemning state repression of environmental defenders

Sunak demands ban on protests at MPs’ homes and crackdown on ‘mob rule’

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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claims “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently." On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing ...
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claims “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently.” First, quick version of this image is likely to change.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/28/sunak-demands-ban-on-protests-at-mps-homes-and-crackdown-on-mob-rule#:~:text=Rishi%20Sunak%20is%20seeking%20to,descending%20into%20“mob%20rule”.

Ministers and senior police sign ‘democratic policing protocol’ to control protests outside parliament, town halls and parties’ offices

Activists covered Rishi Sunak’s mansion in oil black fabric in August last year. Photograph: Greenpeace/Getty Images

Downing Street said ministers and senior police agreed to sign up to a new “democratic policing protocol” that would see police treat demonstrations outside MPs homes as “intimidatory”, a minimum standard of police response to demonstrations against MPs and guidance for officers policing protests and other “democratic” events.

During the meeting Sunak told police chiefs they had to demonstrate they would use the powers they already have, saying it was “vital for maintaining public confidence in the police”.

In a stark assessment of the UK’s political processes, he added: “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. And we’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently.

“But we also need to demonstrate more broadly to the public that you will use the powers you already have, the laws that you have.”

He said the policing protocol, which commits forces to additional patrols and “provides clarity that protests at elected representatives’ homes should be treated as intimidatory”, would protect democratic rule.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/28/sunak-demands-ban-on-protests-at-mps-homes-and-crackdown-on-mob-rule#:~:text=Rishi%20Sunak%20is%20seeking%20to,descending%20into%20“mob%20rule”.

dizzy: Politics is by it’s very nature confrontational and argumentative between opposing parties and perspectives. People are going to disagree and demonstrate that disagreement. There is plenty to object to with Sunak’s party and politics – his continuing destruction of the climate, cheerleading and actual support of – actual complicity in – Israel’s Gaza genocide, relentless attacks on democracy and the right to protest, further destroying the NHS, failing to tax the rich, etc. Sunak shouldn’t be in politics – and he actually won’t be soon – if he’s not willing to tolerate that.

Continue ReadingSunak demands ban on protests at MPs’ homes and crackdown on ‘mob rule’

Lee Anderson’s Islamophobia 101: how the Conservatives dodge responsibility for the prejudice that is rife in their ranks

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Chris Allen, University of Leicester

Despite the furore, the recent attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan by the now-suspended Conservative MP Lee Anderson should come as no surprise. In much the same way, neither should we be surprised at prime minister Rishi Sunak’s failure to call out what Anderson said as being anything other than blatant Islamophobia. When it comes to the Conservative party, we have been here before. For them, this is Islamophobia 101.

The recent controversy began when Anderson – who was until very recently the party’s deputy chairman – told GB News that Sadiq Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”. As he went on, “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan, and they’ve got control of London”.

Since then, Anderson has doubled down, adding: “when you think you are right, you should never apologise because to do so would be a sign of weakness”.

Anderson has lost the whip, but beyond that the message coming out of the Conservative party has been tempered. Sunak has failed to even acknowledge Anderson’s comments as Islamophobic, let alone condemn them as such, saying instead: “I think the most important thing is that the words were wrong, they were ill-judged, they were unacceptable.”

The Conservatives’ problem with Islamophobia

In recent years, the Conservative party has struggled to disentangle itself from various allegations that it is Islamophobic. In 2018, the Muslim Council of Britain presented the party with a dossier detailing near-weekly incidents involving various party members.

For those such as the former party chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the dossier was merely the tip of the iceberg. Noting how experiences of hate and discrimination are notoriously under-reported she claimed at the time that Islamophobia is “widespread [in the party]…from the grassroots, all the way up to the top”.

In the same year, former prime minister Boris Johnson referred to Muslim women who choose to wear the full-face veil as “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in an article for the Telegraph. He dismissed the comments as little more than a gaffe but the allegations prompted the then home secretary Sajid Javid to ask his rivals during a BBC Conservative leadership debate to commit to an external investigation into Islamophobia, whoever the next leader might be. All, including Johnson, agreed.

Once Johnson had secured the party leadership however, the investigation was shifted away from Islamophobia onto discrimination more widely. Doing so enabled the party to distance itself from the very reason why such an investigation was deemed necessary in the first place: claims of widespread Islamophobia.

Quibbling over definitions

Another way the Conservatives – and indeed others – have chosen to deny allegations of being Islamophobic is to claim that they do not have a definition for Islamophobia and therefore cannot assess whether comments such as Anderson’s are Islamophobic. Such a premise is of course a farcical, straw man argument.

Like all other discriminatory phenomena – from racism to homophobia – plenty of definitions have been put forward that could be adopted by the Conservatives. They could simply look to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, which in 2018 made history by putting forward the first working definition of Islamophobia in the UK. In its report Islamophobia Defined, it posited that “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”.

Despite this definition being adopted by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and various local governments across the country, the Conservative party announced it was not intending to adopt the definition on the basis that further consideration was necessary.

Continuing to deny the existence of an appropriate definition is, at this point, a convenient way to avoid being accused of being Islamophobic. As I put it in my 2020 book Reconfiguring Islamophobia, all the debate around definitions achieves is to afford detractors permission to do nothing about the problem itself.

Attacks on Sadiq Khan

Opposition parties were immediately critical of Anderson’s comments. But while the Labour party Chair Anneliese Dodds described them as “unambiguously racist and Islamophobic” and the Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Rob Blackie castigated the MP for “spreading dangerous conspiracy theories”, it is interesting that no one has highlighted how attacking Khan specifically is becoming an alarmingly common political tactic.

This was nowhere more evident than during Zac Goldsmith’s 2016 London mayoral campaign. Branded “disgusting” at the time, Goldsmith published a piece in the Mail on Sunday with the headline: “Are we really going to hand the world’s greatest city to a Labour Party that thinks terrorists are its friends?”. Goldsmith went on to paint rival Khan as a security risk, claiming he had past links with extremists and that he supported Islamic State. Sound familiar?

So too does the Conservative party have a history of laying claim to Islamist extremists infiltrating other parts of British society. Michael Gove, during his time as education secretary, launched an investigation into claims “Muslim hardliners” were taking over state schools in Birmingham, despite the letter that made the allegations being immediately dismissed as a hoax by the police. In 2015, Theresa May, while home secretary, took it even further, launching a campaign against “entryist” infiltration across vast swathes of the public and third sectors by Islamist extremists.

While there should be no hierarchy when it comes to hate or discrimination, the reality is that when it comes to Islamophobia, the scrutiny directed at other forms of prejudice is undeniably absent. What can be said and alleged about Muslims in political (and public) spaces cannot be said about other religious groups and communities.

It should be shocking that the prime minister cannot even acknowledge Anderson’s comments as Islamophobic – but it isn’t. It’s just another example of the sheer disregard and utter contempt that is shown by political leaders towards this problem.


Far-right parties and politicians are mounting election campaigns all over the world in 2024. Join us in London at 6pm on March 6 for a salon style discussion with experts on how seriously we should take the threat, what these parties mean for our democracies – and what action we can take. Register for your place at this free public session here. There will be food, drinks and, best of all, the opportunity to connect with interesting people.The Conversation


Chris Allen, Associate Professor, School of Criminology, University of Leicester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue ReadingLee Anderson’s Islamophobia 101: how the Conservatives dodge responsibility for the prejudice that is rife in their ranks

Green Party on Lee Anderson’s Islamaphobic remarks

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Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay October 2023.
Green Party Co-leader Adrian Ramsay October 2023.

As Lee Anderson doubles down on his controversial comments made over the weekend, when he claimed “Islamists” had got “control” over London and that the mayor, Sadiq Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”, Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay, said:  

“Sunak needs to recall his pledge to act with integrity and challenge the divisive and dangerous rhetoric being used by some of his MPs.”

“We need our leaders to work for unity rather than creating division. For some time, senior Conservative Muslims have been raising concerns about the extent of Islamophobia in their party and criticizing the failure of the leadership to tackle it. Sunak needs to make clear that there is no place for such views in his party, and to instigate an immediate review of Islamophobia.” 

Continue ReadingGreen Party on Lee Anderson’s Islamaphobic remarks