The UK’s Obscene Obsession, Daily Brief April 23, 2024

Daily Brief, April 23, 2024


Today will see a key step in a long-running effort by the UK government to be cruel. The appalling Rwanda deportation bill finally passed through Parliament last night and will soon be given the royal nod to become law.

The government has wasted no time in promising that the first flights of UK asylum seekers to Rwanda would happen soon. Expect a lot of legal challenges along the way, as well as more hate-mongering headlines against foreigners and demonization of human rights defenders in the coming months.

Over the past few years, the government has been pushing this Rwanda deportation idea hard. It’s been a kind of obsession for them. One former UK Home Secretary in the Conservative government even called it that: sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, she said was her “dream” and her “obsession.”

Never mind Rwanda is not a safe place to send people to – it’s well-known for things like extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances, and torture. Never mind the UK’s highest court confirmed Rwanda is not safe to send asylum seekers to.

Nope, the UK government has been plowing ahead regardless, trying to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling with this new bill. It’s a move that undermines rule of law and sets a dangerous, undemocratic precedent.

It also adds to their years of undermining evidenceignoring human rights organizations’ reports, and even ignoring the government’s own assessments of the situation in Rwanda.

Just how far the UK government is willing to go in its obsession can also be put in numbers. According to the National Audit Office – that’s the official spending watchdog in the UK – the plan will cost taxpayers £1.8 million per expelled asylum seeker. That’s US$ 2.2 million each.

Cruelty doesn’t come cheap, apparently.

Has the UK government really not stopped for a second to consider the costs here? Have they not realized they could treat these people humanely in the UK for a fraction of that price?

But the government clearly doesn’t care about the cost of the scheme to taxpayers any more than it cares about the cruelty it will inflict on asylum seekers. What matters to them appears to be signaling that they’re “tough” on asylum seekers, no matter who pays in blood or money.

This obscene obsession has motivated them for so long, they can’t seem to think rationally about the consequences at all. And as with many unchecked obsessions, it has led to madness – financial and moral madness.