updated April 27th 2007
January 28th 2005
Let us deal first with Asylum (or "Political Asylum" as it used to be known). The international agreements established and signed up to were designed in a previous era when the possibilities of travel and communication and the internal mechanisms of control within states were very different. For this reason states were able to commit themselves to abiding by the overall conventions without coordinating their internal asylum mechanisms. Each country went its own way in how the detailed treatment of asylum applicants was handled. It is therefore correct to conclude that a revision is required.

For the UK to set down an Asylum Quota is meaningless unless the purpose of the quota is defined and the action to be taken should it be reached is established. The need for genuine asylum is not set by the receiving countries but by external events. In an era of globalisation, a quota such as has been suggested can only be established amongst a group of countries offering asylum, so that they share the commitment. This is implicit the moment the offer of asylum is made according to an international agreement. Since the European Union is a reality, with many shared benefits and associated responsibilities, the only quota that can make sense is one that is based on a percentage of the whole, modified by any special acceptance of liability due to historical, colonial or linguistic attributes that are negotiated when the quota is establshed or modified.

For a quota to have meaning and effect, its limit has to be reached. This means that either a genuine asylum application.has to be refused because the total for the year has been reached or, before that, a genuine application is refused to prevent the quota maximum from being reached. No doubt others will claim that it will be possible to tighten up the criteria once the projected levels and the quota levels are established so as to keep the numbers always within the quota. Unfortunately it is more likely that we shall confuse the criteria for legal immigration with those for asylum and give asylum to those we would be happy to accept as immigrants, to the detriment of those who need asylum.

It is therefore absolutely vital to decide if we can separate the two applications, if we should separate them, and how this would work in the short, medium and long term. To cut this short essay down to a readable length I will leave out the arguments and come to the conclusion: If you wish to separate them, asylum must be established as a temporary state for the applicant, not a permanent one. There would be nothing to stop an accepted asylum applicant from applying for immigrant status, permananent residence or British nationality; but the fact that they had been given leave to remain as an asylum seeker would in no way prevent their return and if necessary removal to their country of origin or another country that accepts them should the conditions in that country no longer justify their being given asylum outside it. This would apply no matter what other circumstances such as marriage, children, education or employment were introduced into the equation. Only on this basis can asylum be fairly offered to all.

Another obvious conclusion is that this can only be done by getting a common position adopted by all the states of the European Union. Should the EU decide that even after it has reached a succesful agreement and the system is running well, that the number of asylum seekers is rising above a managable level, then action has to be taken to either refuse genuine asylum seekers or take action to sort out the countries that are causing their citizens to flee in fear of their lives.

Let us now turn to immigration. No asylum seeker is barred from applying for British residence or immigrant status or nationality. They will have to compete with non-asylum seekers for this, as the limits here are set not by the need of the applicant but by the country they are applying to. Terms and Conditions apply. These are: a proper mastery of the mother tongue of the country to which they apply and an acceptance of its constitution and culture and knowledge of its history. I am aware that many UK residents born here do not have these qualifications. They are lucky to be here and should get them. Immigrants may use their own language amongst those who speak it, of course, but there is no way any country can manage its affairs without one common language on which all law is based and one culture which may evolve with democratic consent of those who know it and understand it.

We do not need UKIP or the BNP. We do not need to stop immigration or asylum. We need to logical and honest. If the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party have something useful to say they should say it. So far they have almost always failed. There is no honesty or logic in Liberals saying that under the regime theTories are suggesting many valuable citizens would not have been admitted. It was a different world then, with different applicants wth different motives to today, and fewer of them. Nor is there honesty in the claims of the Conservatives that they can fix a quota for and set an example which others can follow.

As for the concept of a multicultural country, that is an impossiblity, as civil wars throughout the globe bear witness. A country can tolerate other cultures within it that are compatible with a single culture on which the ethics and laws are modelled, developed and evolve; but those applying for immigration, and particularly those seeking asylum, must respect and acknowledge the culture of the country which has been able to offer and provide both of these. As for the Immigration and Nationality Department, they should refrain from detaining or deporting those who are more than happy to accept our culture, our laws and consitution and know our language but are not white skinned, but are refused asylum just because of that last characteristic. Genuine applications have been refused and this policy has been used in the past as a deterrent to other applicants. It is not the best way of controlling either asylum or immigration.

Finally, none of this can be managed without everyone concerned submitting to a proper identity defining system and this includes the proposed scheme wherby ID cards would be part of a database system as is being proposed by the present government. There are those who say that it is technically impractical or impossible. This is not so. It can be done and done well, to the benefit of all. It may take some time, but we should start now. We may fail. That is also most important. It is vital that those who collectively get things to work are those that succeed, otherwise evolution fails and entropy takes over, Now that we are a global system this has global implications.

UPDATE February 7th
It seems that most of the recommendations above have been included in the proposed ne legislation. One aspect has not met with approval from all Immigrant organisations:

Genuine refugees will no longer have permanent leave to remain in Britain and may be sent home after five years if the government decides it is safe, a move the Joint Council of Immigrants said was a "retrograde step".

"It is a very reactionary response to concerns that have been expressed," said Rhian Beynon, a council spokeswoman. "All the political parties are bidding for votes and this is turning into a bit of an ugly auction."

It depends entirely how the law is applied whether this is a step of disadvantage or advantage to asylum seekers. It should be the one way we can be better equipped to react with fairness to genuine requests for asylum when these arise. It is hardly a retrograde step, as it does not entail going back to a previous state of affairs. Currently many genuine seekers of asylum risk refusal. Asylum should not always be refused to those we may not be able to absorb in the long term, yet obvious mathematics dictates that we can only accept them provided they can be repatriated when it is reasonable to do so. The cruellest thing is to rfaise expectations that cannot be fulfilled, and to encourage people to come as asylum seekers on spec.

FEB 8th 2005
It is clear from reading editorials such as "IT IS TIME WE DISMANTLED THE DANGEROUS MYTH OF FORTRESS EUROPE" in Monday's Independent that many people do not understand the concept of political responsiblity based on the management of geograpically defined areas - for that is what Nation States are. The problems that arise out of adding to the existing infrastructure in the UK in the field of housing and roads and the supply of water and services are sufficient in themselves to recommend a limit to population growth. If we are to cope with climate change we have to correct mistakes we have already made in this area. Europe does not have to be a fortress, but it has to be sustainably manged in a way that is compatible with our obligations to a sustanable global plan. That means we should control immigration and set an example that can be emulated elsewhere, of sustainable development. It means pioneering ideas that can be applied on other continents, and turn these into places that far from generating refugees will attract immigration.

MAY 23rd 2006
I update this file today because John Reid, the new Home Secretary, has admitted that the Home Office is 'not fot for purpose'. This is of course true and has been increasingly true since 1990. The reason for it getting to the current state of mismatch is because the problems it has to face, being increasingly intractable in a rapidly changing world, could not be solved by applying the law as set out. There were insoluble conflicts of interest, of domestic law, of international law, and of sheer practicality. The method adopted by all governments was to leave matters to be solved at the lowest possible level without involving either ministers or parliament, as they knew full well that between the media, the activists, the opposition, the genuine-in-need and the abusers of systems, they were on a hiding to nothing. Within the operations level at Home Office, systems developed to keep complainants at arms length. At top levels, when the excrement hit the ventilator on any particular item it was deaal with on an ad-hoc basis. To do anything else would have required a toital rethink and a new legal basis for almost every operation from Asylum to the Prisons and the Right to Work of visitors, asylum seekers and Foreign Nationals of various status and relationships.

It seems that reality has now been realised. It will need a massive investment just to deal with outstanding matters and a huge debate on what basis we are to draw up the new rules. It has been suggested by some that the million or so irregular or illegal immigrants already here should be given a block amnesty. Others say that would be an utter disaster and none should be. Both are wrong. What has to be done is that people's cases must be examined individually at a rate that exceeds, without any doubt and by a significant margin, the entry of more illegals and irregulars. Judgements will have to be made in each case. They cannot all be fair, they must be as fair as possible, that is all. As soon as possible all entries and exits to the country must be logged. It will take time to get this set up, but the sooner we move towards the goal the easier it will be.

Those who think that this would be a move towards a reduction in civil liberties or human rights are dead wrong. These are the people who have brought us to the current mess because they are mathematically illiterate an philosophically immature.

APRIL 27th 2007
Today, we have this news from our Judiciary which essentially means that we must give asylum to those who are a danger to us. This is a complete absurdity. The condition of asylum is that those given sanctuary should not pose a threat to the provider. In my view they should not pose a threat to any other country we are not at war with either. The UK cannot guarantee the safety of every criminal in a world of 6 billion people or the behaviour of the government of every country in the United Nations.

UK terror suspects win key ruling
Two Libyan terror suspects have won an appeal against deportation from the UK in a major defeat for the government.

The men, known only as DD and AS, argued they could be jailed and tortured if sent home, despite a special deal between the countries.

But in the first test of the case, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said the men could not be sent back.

The government said it was "very disappointed" by the defeat and would immediately appeal the ruling.

Under international human rights law, the UK does not deport people to regimes where they may face persecution or torture.

But in October 2005, the government signed an historic deal with Libya, under which Colonel Gaddafi's government pledged not to mistreat anyone deported to Tripoli from the UK.

We have to be able to deport people and send them back to their country
Prime Minister Tony Blair

Similar memorandums of understanding (MOU) have been signed with Jordan and Lebanon. A different diplomatic agreement is in place with Algeria covering the treatment of returnees.

But Mr Justice Ouseley, chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, the body that deals with deportation of terror suspects, said that the Libyan men faced a real risk of mistreatment.

The European Convention on Human Rights could be breached if the two men were removed to Libya, he said, although he indicated it was not a "probable risk".

"There is also real risk that the trial of the appellants would amount to a complete denial of a fair trial," he added.

23 listed
Four have lost appeals
Three withdrawn appeals
Two won appeals
14 awaiting hearings or decisions

The two men, held in Long Lartin prison, have been granted bail in principle, with restrictive terms to be finalised.

In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said they were "very disappointed" and it intended to appeal.

"We believe that the assurances given to us by the Libyans do provide effective safeguards for the proper treatment of individuals being returned and do ensure that their rights will be respected.

"These individuals have been found by SIAC to represent a real risk to the national security of this country."

Controversial deals

The MOUs signed with Libya, Jordan and Lebanon are a key plank of the government's strategy to deport terrorism suspects it says it cannot put on trial in the UK.

The government had also been seeking to put in place independent monitoring of the welfare of any returnees to ensure Libya lived up to the deal.

According to the ruling, the body that would have been is Libya's main human rights group, whose president is one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons. However, the government's own investigations into the body convinced officials that it was independent of the regime and capable of monitoring the welfare of returnees.

But in a statement, solicitors for DD and AS said: "It was common ground between the government and [our clients] that political opponents of the Gaddafi regime are reasonably likely to be tortured or otherwise ill-treated if returned to Libya."

Kate Allen OF Amnesty International said: "Today's judgment underlines the principle that no one should be returned to a country where they may face torture. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) offer no protection from torture and are not worth the paper they're written on.

"If people are suspected of committing a crime, they should be charged and put on trial."