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The Windrush Defence Campaign is part of the extraparliamentary movement for change we need

AN “UPRISING” like that called for by the Windrush Defence Campaign in response to the racist and illegal deportations of long-standing British citizens is exactly the right response.

The government has been caught bang to rights over Windrush, with Home Secretary Amber Rudd forced to resign last night as leaked memos and conversations cast doubt on her claim, made to the home affairs select committee last week, not to be aware that the ministry she ran set targets for the number of deportations.

Diane Abbott and Labour colleagues including David Lammy deserve credit for the determination with which they have pursued Rudd over Windrush and congratulation now that they have secured her resignation.

The expulsion of people who have worked, lived, raised families and paid taxes in this country for decades is a crime and one carried out cynically and deliberately by Tory ministers.

But Rudd’s resignation is not enough. As Greater Manchester Law Centre lawyer John Nicholson tells our northern reporter Peter Lazenby, the departure of one minister is not going to solve the problem.

It is hardly likely that Sajid Javid, who now sits in Rudd’s chair, will reverse years of Tory policy. And that’s not even to mention the fact that the fault lies as much with both of their boss in No 10.

Theresa May was the home secretary who bragged about creating a “hostile environment” for immigrants in our country and relished the prospect of a law which would allow her to “deport first and hear appeals later.”

Warnings from a prescient minority of MPs at the time — who included current leader Jeremy Corbyn as well as Abbott and shadow chancellor John McDonnell — that these laws would also place British citizens at risk did not trouble May.

Nor did the increasingly horrific details of deportations and denials of medical treatment to people who came here on the Windrush, at Britain’s request, to work in essential services. 

May even refused a formal diplomatic request from Caribbean leaders to discuss the deportations, making an abrupt U-turn as she belatedly realised the extent of public outrage.

Javid says ethnic minority Britons should look at the “bigger picture” before voting. Well, let’s.

The government’s handling of the Windrush scandal is evidence of deep-seated, institutional racism. 

Tory indifference to blatant miscarriages of justice was due to the confidence they had gained after getting away with years of increasingly racist rhetoric, from the threatening “go home or face arrest” vans deployed on the streets of London by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to preposterous smears against London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a supposed friend of extremists when he stood for his current position — smears made directly in Parliament by the then Tory PM David Cameron.

Hate crimes against ethnic minorities, particularly Muslims, have soared; hate crimes rose by a third overall last year.

Meanwhile, the tiny number of MPs who stood firm against May in 2014 and warned that this might happen are now prominent in the leadership of the Labour Party.

Yet listen to the mainstream press or BBC and you get the impression that it is Labour’s leaders who have a race problem and that the enthusiastic response of the electorate to the socialist programme of the current Labour Party is all down to sinister manipulation of our opinions by Kremlin-sponsored social media offensives.

That explains why grassroots movements like the Windrush Defence Campaign are so important. Only building community links and solidarity will allow us to cut through against a fog of Establishment misinformation — and recent weeks have shown that relying on Labour MPs to do their job and see off the Conservatives is a lost cause.

Corbyn leads a popular movement for change, and the more pressure extraparliamentary movements pushing for that change can exert, the more likely he is to lead it into power.


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