The Windrush Scandal is No Accident

by | May 8, 2018 | WORLD | 0 comments

As a child of a working-class immigrant family who arrived in the UK from Pakistan in the 1970’s, up until the point that I moved to Mauritius I never felt that I didn’t belong. Although I do remember hearing racist terms and jokes being thrown around the playground and the classroom while growing up (although never directly aimed at me), it was my grandparents who faced racism direct and upfront; having bricks thrown through their living room window on a regular basis and waking up each day to fresh scratches on their car. I guess because I never experienced such discrimination and cruelty directly for myself, and also in the innocence of my childhood, I was kind of oblivious to it all.

Sometimes however, you have to step out of a situation to see it with a clear head and I feel that stepping out of the UK opened my eyes to how much immigrants are still not fully accepted in Britain. That is not to say that everyone is non-accepting, of course not. Nonetheless, from where I’m standing, I can see how the policies, procedures and practices undertaken by the British government are fuelling hate and racism in many white working-class communities towards immigrants and dividing the nation into a very much ‘us vs. them’ based mentality.

Following the news recently about the Windrush Scandal that has suddenly come to light, the main question currently playing on my mind around immigration is “will non-white people ever fully be accepted in the UK?” The stories being shared on social media from the Windrush Generation that are suffering through all of this display some of the worst traits of humanity that I’ve seen and I can’t help but feel that all of this is no accident and is part of a perfectly orchestrated plan to divide, break and conquer a nation for the benefit of the elite.

Who are the Windrush Generation?

After World War II, Britain faced a serious labour shortage and in this time workers from the Caribbean were encouraged to come to the UK for work purposes. They helped to rebuild Britain, taking on jobs that the Brits didn’t want to do, and they and their children came to be known as the ‘Windrush Generation’ after the British ship ‘The Empire Windrush’, which travelled from the Caribbean to Tilbury Docks in Essex, in 1948.

The children of these workers came to England at a very young age; they attended British schools, worked British jobs and lived British lives. Now however, thousands of these people who arrived on British shores decades ago and became British citizens with their rights guaranteed under the Immigration Act of 1971, are being threatened with deportation and are having even basic human rights stripped away from them. But, why?

Why?

I’m sure most people reading are aware of the UK government’s crackdown on immigration, particularly in recent years – which to me is absurd, as this is the same country that went out and colonised and destroyed countries all around the world, only to start complaining when people from those countries began to turn up on their doorstep. But anyway, this recent Windrush scandal is all a part of their crackdown on immigration and under new immigration laws from 2014, people of the Windrush generation must prove continuous residence in the UK since 1973 in order to be allowed to remain. This has proven to be almost impossible for most people who have not kept such detailed records, never having thought that a situation like this would arise.

Theresa May’s “hostile environment” immigration policy created by new legislation and regulation, means that migrants don’t only face border officials when they first enter the country, but must face them in their everyday life too –constantly having to prove their immigration status to open a bank account, rent a house and even access NHS medical services.

People of the Windrush Generation who don’t have the sufficient paperwork to prove their right to remain – despite being British citizens for all of this time – have been sharing stories of the impact that all of this is having on them. Some have had all of their benefits cut, leaving them starving and penniless; others have returned to the Caribbean for family funerals, only to be denied entry back into the UK where their own children reside; others are being threatened with deportation and are living in constant fear and one citizen has even been denied life-saving cancer treatment from the NHS… how utterly unbelievable, inhumane and heartbreaking.

Additionally, what makes all of this even worse is that under instruction from Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, the Home Office destroyed mounds of important paperwork that if still around, would have proved the status of these citizens today, meaning they would not be going through all they are at the moment. Coincidence? I think not.

No Accident

For me, it is quite clear that the UK government currently in power hates working class people and mostly, ethnic minority working class immigrants. That is why every which way you look much needed benefits are being slashed, the NHS is falling apart, the education system is robbing people blind – and what about the Grenfell disaster which everyone seems to have forgotten about? It seems that they are doing all that they can to get working class people out, and are doing all that they can to serve the elite and take them to further heights.

As it was once said, “the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer” – and with everything that is happening in the UK right now that proves this, the government and Theresa May are to blame.

See the Truth

But here is my main gripe: although I’ve said that May and her government are to blame, there is a third person in this situation and that third person is the people; the working-class people of Britain. Instead of turning against one another (which is exactly what the government want) and blaming immigrants for all of the country’s problems, they should be standing together as one. Instead of sending racist letters to local black MP’s telling them how they owe their lives to the UK for taking them in, they need to open their eyes and realise that borders and barriers were created by the powerful and rich in order for them to remain powerful and rich.

I feel that if more working-class people woke up from their slumber of working in their 9-5 jobs in order to just survive and stopped distracting themselves from the real problems by binge-watching trash TV, they would be able to see the system for what is truly is. Stand up for your brothers and your sisters and each and every single person that makes Britain the diverse and beautiful nation that it is. It is only when the people stop allowing themselves to be divided and come together as one that change can begin to penetrate through. I pray for that day.

In the meantime, I just hope that these innocent citizens of the Windrush Generation, and anyone else for that matter, who have served and loved a country for their entire lives and called it home, are not sent to a foreign land which they don’t even know, all because of a bit of paperwork.

First written for Defi Media Group’s News on Sunday, Mauritius.

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