IT’S the slow, pernicious process over many years of dehumanising other ethnic groups that gives governments the confidence to harry them. Thus, an entire generation in England has grown up believing it’s normal to proclaim British, ethnic superiority. The most popular newspapers in England have spent the last decade warning their readers of a migrant menace preparing to overwhelm British values and steal their jobs. The aggregation of these stories builds into a narrative that settles in our minds and softens any resistance on grounds of decency.

During the EU referendum campaign, the Leave side exploited economic uncertainty in our most disadvantaged areas to warn against vast swathes of eastern Europeans coming to threaten their livelihoods. Taken together with fake news about Turkey joining the EU this was a powerful message full of malevolent intent.

There’s something about Turkey that seems to send a chill through the collective psyche of England. Perhaps it’s tales about the Crusades and Hollywood depictions of wild-eyed warriors with fiendishly curved swords; not like the straight and upright ones of King Richard’s men. Perhaps it’s something about a large Muslim country nudging at the edges of civilised Europe instead of being where it ought to be: at the far end of a Middle East desert. Too damn close, if you ask me, what.

And so, it was enough just to float the lie about imminent Turkish membership of the EU and those Brexit adverts of thousands of migrants snaking towards our shores.

On Brexit’s “Be Damned” list the Poles weren’t far behind, along with the Albanians and those other countries collectively known as “Emerging Eastern European states”.

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The sneer may have been silent but it’s there nonetheless. You never saw white citizens of France, Germany or the Scandinavian countries being used on billboard adverts to disparage the European Union in such a manner because, well … these are civilised countries like us. And, of course, it worked.

And when these lies are allowed to settle, unchallenged then soon forgotten our collective resistance is eroded just a little more. When the next “othering” occurs it will become just a little easier to make it seem normal and decent.

Two years ago, there was so much outrage at the Windrush revelations, that even the Tories who had sought to stage this by stealth looked sheepish when it was uncovered. What sort of government with aspirations of decency and humanity could connive at this? How could they deny the basic gift of statehood and citizenship to men and women who had answered a call to come here and raise a child and rebuild post-war Britain?

But when a government department proposes creating a “hostile environment” as a means of reducing net immigration any act, however wicked or immoral, seems reasonable. It’s not as if the BBC or the massed ranks of English newspapers, owned by Tory donors, are going to make your life uncomfortable.

And then, almost as quickly as the scandal emerged it was largely forgotten. Of course, there had to be a couple of prominent resignations and the apologies seemed profound at the time. At least, we thought, we wouldn’t see such ugliness occurring again for a while at least.

And, of course, we were wrong because Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, below, run this country now and they have successfully dismissed these sorts of concerns as belonging to liberal elites who live in the Westminster bubble.

The National:

This line was dutifully trotted out yesterday by the “Tory senior source” the BBC’s most valued contributor. Two years after the Windrush scandal another group of West Indians who had made their lives here were being rounded up in lightning raids, marched on to a plane and flown to Jamaica.

We are asked to believe that these people are criminals whose continued existence in the UK poses a threat to our safety. In reality, many of them had been convicted of minor crimes and misdemeanours and had made their homes here since early childhood. Was this more to do with demonstrating steely resolve in the aftermath of recent terror incidents on the streets of London?

Writing in The Guardian yesterday, David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: “If this flight goes ahead at least 41 British children will be deprived of their fathers. What problems will this create in their own lives? And who exactly is splitting up families supposed to help? Every single one of the men has already served the sentence the judge deemed appropriate for their crime. Each has endured additional time in immigration detention centres.”

Thousands of British citizens of West Indian heritage were adversely affected by the Windrush scandal with several dying in foreign countries after being wrongly deported. The report into the scandal has been delayed since its original publication date of March last year.

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I doubt we’ll see it any time soon.

Boris Johnson’s administration gained an unassailable majority on the back of “othering” minority ethnic groups and of proclaiming its superiority to the rest of Europe. “We can do this by ourselves,” he and his most fervent Brexiter acolytes insist.

Britain, they claim, was greatest when it was fighting these countries for control of poor African and Caribbean nations; for ownership of their natural resources and for the enslavement of their peoples.

During Theresa May’s fragile, minority government they had to be seen to be making the right noises following the first Windrush scandal.

On Monday, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel simply got up and left the chamber rather than answer questions about the Jamaican deportation flight.

We can expect this to be the norm now. Already, the EU is being set up to take the blame if trade negotiations fail and British businesses take a hit.

Much of what is happening now has been “gamed” by Cummings in his Downing Street war room for many months. A backlash against our former European partners is already being choreographed and this will have genuine consequences for EU nationals who still choose to live and work here.

I’m always queasy at talk of liberal and progressive Scottish values being superior to those that seem to have gained the upper hand in England right now.

I think ordinary Scots and English still want the same things for their families and for each other.

Any moral and ethical expanse that exists between our countries is apparent solely in the route of travel chosen by each government. You may, if you choose, find fault with the Scottish Government’s competence in health delivery and education.

But I’ll take that all day long in preference to a government which now specialises in intimidating its minority cultures.