MY Scottish granny told me once that if you have nothing nice to say about someone, say nothing at all. I wonder if she’d give me a pass in relation to the current #rUK Cabinet and in particular, Priti Patel. Part of me used to be conflicted. She too is a woman, a BAME woman of colour, and her parents were migrants. My father was a migrant, way back, in a pre-Patel era. Perhaps then there should be some support, solidarity on my part, or granny-like, should I say nowt?

That the latest Immigration Bill has passed through Parliament under Patel’s stewardship is for me even more despicable. Patel appears ideologically driven along with her new kith and kin in the Tory party. We can all say we would like to lead a good life which varies from person to person, family to family, and how you achieve that will also vary. It’s all wrapped up in the notion of social mobility that this country once believed was possible. But what does it say about you, your good life, progress and success when you choose to draw the ladder up behind you, denying others the opportunities and chances you had, you took?

That the bill is progressing now as we begin to publicly acknowledge and value “low-skilled, low-paid workers” must be unfortunate timing for the Tories. After all, their programme was to get Brexit done, which first and foremost would entail taking back control, and not a programme requiring them to respond to a worldwide pandemic. That Patel said “we’re ending free movement to open Britain up to the world” is yet another Tory Government contradicting mis-speak.

READ MORE: Two U-turns in one day from Boris Johnson and Priti Patel

Her boss is considering finally clamping down on arrivals in this country and at the same time, we can’t get fruit and veg crops picked. And now is the very moment for the Tories to ensure that the people who have seen such high fatalities in the NHS and care sector during this mis-managed pandemic will be required to pay £600+ to access the very services they provide. Many of those fatalities occurred right at the coal face, without the appropriate PPE. What price loyalty to your patients and those you care for? Have the Tories forgotten those dedicated workers pay taxes and NI already and will continue to do so whilst in employment? Additionally, those still planning to come here, must be pre-sponsored with a salary in excess of £25,000.

This is not an unintended consequence of the bill, it is built in. It is also both an insult and a gamble.

Those financial insults are clear, but think of the other insult: they want us to clap, keep clapping as they plan to double-tax those workers. Perhaps the Tories are clapping themselves for this new income generation as they gamble on a supine population wanting Brexit done and who cares when the devil takes the hindmost. They’re gambling that by next year, when a no-deal Brexit bites, we’ll have forgotten the deaths, the sacrifices.

The depression will be blamed on the virus. We’ll be exhorted to retrain, to do multiple part-time jobs to fire up the economy, to do our “duty” for queen and country. Who knows perhaps their slogan then will be something like Work Til You Drop. But Patel is just one in a long line. It would appear that those mobile vans generated by then home secretary Theresa May and the Windrush scandal are all forgotten now.

Scotland will never flourish shackled to such policies and practices. If there was ever any doubt about the need for independence, it has been dispelled.
Selma Rahman