Monday, October 08, 2007

Helping our helpers

Dan Hardie, who has been leading the campaign to help Iraqis who've been of service to UK troops, writes:

Gordon Brown may apparently be making a statement on Iraq to the House of Commons tomorrow afternoon, sometime after 2pm. He may or may not mention Britain’s Iraqi employees and the need of some of them for asylum. The Times article of Saturday promises nothing but gave the Government a big, positive headline: classic spin. I have always said, when writing to Jacqui Smith and other Ministers, that to pre-announce asylum for Iraqi employees before they’d actually been taken to safety would increase the risks to them and to the British soldiers who would have to evacuate them. I hope desperately that this won’t happen. I also hope that we will see a genuine promise of resettlement for all who are identified as being seriously at risk for having worked for the British in Iraq.

Brown may or may not promise this on Monday afternoon: frankly they have been so grudging that I doubt it. The Government are going to have to be pushed to do the right thing, so the meeting on Tuesday, October 9th is now more important than ever: we can win if we keep pushing. It’s at Parliament, Committee Room 14, St Stephen’s entrance, from 7-9pm. Invite your MP and come yourself.
In fact, Brown did make a mealy-mouthed statement this afternoon:
Existing staff who have been employed by us for more than twelve months and have completed their work will be able to apply for a package of financial payments to aid resettlement in Iraq or elsewhere in the region, or - in agreed circumstances - for admission to the UK. And professional staff --- including interpreters and translators --- with a similar length of service who have left our employ since the beginning of 2005 will also be able to apply for assistance.
I'm afraid this is bullshit, but it's bullshit designed to act as a "spoiler" for tomorrow's meeting - which has had to be relocated to Portcullis House.

And this is the most contemptible form of bullshit imaginable - playing weak-as-piss games with people's lives for no good reason. The numbers of people involved are insignificant either in terms of Britains Iraq spend, the savings they've helped us make, or the immigration rate into the UK.

Read Dan's latest and a p[articularly good rant by the now back online Tim Ireland.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention this, but Dan is not a doctor. This is why that matters.

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