Last week, Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman made a very toxic speech. Addressing the Conservative Party at its annual conference, she relished the applause as she laid out her hard line on immigration and migration — that pesky thing called human rights — and her “woke” critics. With this, she cemented her place as the flagbearer of the extreme Conservative agenda at a time when the party is struggling with its numbers in the polls, with general elections due by the end of next year.
Braverman described migration as “a “hurricane that would bring millions more immigrants to these shores, uncontrolled and unmanageable.” UK governments had been “far too squeamish”, she said, about being “smeared as racist to properly bring order to the chaos.” In an earlier speech in which she addressed an American think-tank, she warned that countries faced an “existential” threat unless they were able to control their borders.
Her language however made a section of the Tories uncomfortable. The BBC reported the comments of Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who said: “I recognise there are legitimate concerns, but I think we have to be very careful we don’t create a situation where we are either demonising minorities or those who are vulnerable.” Her comments on “gender ideology”, which she described as a “woke” and “highly controversial” thesis, evoked even sharper responses.
How Braverman drew Tory ire
She said trans-women should not be allowed on single-sex female hospital wards and promised to remove “gender ideology, white privilege, anti-British history” from educational institutions. There was a very public and angry reaction from Tory London Assembly member Andrew Boff who heckled Braverman and was thrown out of the venue. He later told the media, “I’m a loyal Tory. This trash about gender ideology is making our Conservative party look transphobic and homophobic. This is not what our Conservative party is about.”
Braverman does not like human rights either. She told the party conference that the Human Rights Act should be called the “Criminal Rights Act.
Ironically, this extremely hard line comes from a woman of Indian origin. Her parents trace their roots to India, having emigrated to the UK in the 1960s. Braverman recently took a strong stand on a trade deal with India, saying Indians were the largest group of people who overstayed their visas in the UK while ruling out more visas for Indians as part of sealing the trade deal.
Vivek Ramaswamy, the [US] Republican presidential candidate, is also the son of Indian immigrants. But he has taken a hard line on immigration...He has also said he will end the H-1B visa programme if elected to power...
It is astoundingly hypocritical to see a woman who grew up in a multicultural Britain, with all opportunities at her disposal because her parents moved to the UK, today draw up policies to stop others who are seeking a better life or even trying to escape persecution within their own countries. It isn’t just hypocritical; it is downright awful.
Her moves to stop migrants from seeking asylum in the UK are simply cruel. Mercifully, that law, which requires anyone arriving in small boats across the English Channel to be detained and then deported permanently to their home nation or third countries, has not taken effect yet as it faces challenges in the UK courts.
All of this comes at a time when the Conservatives have shown more ethnic diversity in recent years, with Rishi Sunak now the prime minister. Interestingly, this kind of politics is not limited to the UK.
Across the pond in the United States, Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate, is also the son of Indian immigrants. But he has taken a hard line on immigration, vowing to end “birthright citizenship for the kids of illegal immigrants in this country.” He has also said he will end the H-1B visa programme if elected to power, a visa used mostly by Indian professionals working in the US.
Ironically, Ramaswamy has used the H-1B system in the past to hire high-skilled foreign workers for his pharma company. It is outrageous to see politicians like Braverman and Ramaswamy take advantage of the opportunities they got in the West only to try to deny them to others. It is, very simply, nasty.