IT seems that in the view of at least one senior Labour advisor, living in Scotland is a terrible punishment.

Josh Simons, a close ally of Keir Starmer and director of the right wing Labour think tank Labour Together, has told LBC radio that people smuggling gangs should be put on a barge and sent to Scotland.

The comment came during a discussion about the Conservatives' dismal Rwanda plan, which has so far cost over £240 million and will eventually cost north of £400 million, yet it has not resulted in a single asylum seeker being sent to the repressive dictatorial East African state. Last year the UK Supreme Court ruled that the plan was unlawful. In an attempt to get around the ruling, Sunak has introduced a revised bill, which amongst other things deems Rwanda to be a safe country to which to send refugees, even though that is factually incorrect. It's a dangerous excursion into counter factual authoritarianism on the part of the British state.

This week, Westminster's Joint Committee on Human Rights said the Government's Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill “risks untold damage” to the UK's reputation as a proponent of human rights internationally. The committee added that the bill is "fundamentally incompatible" with the UK's human rights obligations and would flout international law. Even so, a number of high profile Tories, including immigration minister Robert Jenrick, have resigned because the bill is not cruel and nasty enough.

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Speaking about the issue on LBC, Simons claimed that it wasn't the egregious cruelty or the human rights implications which concerned him, it was the cost. He said: "My main concern with Rwanda is not actually the human rights implications of it and the focus of this report. My main concern is that it's a complete waste of money and it won't work. It won't stop the boats." He added: "So my problem with Rwanda is it won't work."

There's Starmer's Labour party for you. Simons has no ethical objections to this vile policy. It's perfectly fine to trash human rights and indulge in performative cruelty against vulnerable people as long as it's value for money. That in a nutshell summarises the moral bankruptcy of the Labour party under Keir Starmer. This is a party which will be no better than the Tories.

Some years ago the veteran left wing comedian Alexei Sayle said: "The left of the Labour party are nice decent people and it was a privilege to meet them. The right of the Labour party are some of the most f***ing horrible people - vile gruesome people. I've never met such awful people as those on the right of the Labour party."

The vile gruesome people are now firmly in charge.

Speaking of possible solutions Simons said: "I mean, you know, why don't you send the smuggler gangs and put them on the barge that you know has been set aside for the asylum seekers and then, you know, ship the barge up to the north of Scotland, who cares?"

Living in Scotland is so dreadful that it can be used to deter smuggling gangs. As though the gangs will say: "Well we were going to stick Vietnamese teenagers in a shipping container and sell them into slavery on cannabis farms, but we might end up being sent to live in Dundee, so we'd better not."

READ MORE: Scotonomics: The Scottish Government and the Highlands Effect

Simons displays the typical arrogant and ignorant attitude of the professional London metrocentric. Scotland is far away, remote, and somewhere of no great importance that can safely be ignored. The real reason Starmer is so keen for Labour to beat the SNP in Scotland is not because he wants what is best for Scotland, it's so he can get back to ignoring a Scotland that has been politically neutralised.

Simons has since apologised for his "poorly judged" comments, which he claims were made "in jest". He then added, patronisingly, that he's half Scottish, as if that somehow makes it OK. Notably, he didn't apologise for not having any moral or ethical objections to the appalling Rwanda plan. But it's all OK, because now we little remote Scottish people have been patted on the head by someone who claims to be "half-Scottish" although that clearly doesn't give him any insight into Scottish sensibilities.

Coll McCail, who serves as the representative for young members on the NEC for the Labour party in Scotland, said that Simons' lack of concern for the human rights aspects of the Rwanda plan was a "massive red flag"

Regarding the comments, a spokesperson for the Labour party in Scotland said: "Every party has elements on the fringes that give them moments of cringe."

But the point which that disingenuous spokesperson is gaslighting us about is that Simons' organisation Labour Together is most definitely not a "fringe element", rather it is central to Starmer's campaign and the entire direction of his leadership.

The group was key to his successful campaign for the leadership of the party in 2020 and has informed his policy decisions ever since. Its former director Morgan McSweeney is now Starmer's chief of staff. It is arrant and intelligence insulting nonsense to dismiss its current director Josh Simons as an element on the fringes.