Thursday, November 01, 2007

Deferring the day of reckoning


With a High Court judge refusing the government leave to appeal over the Learco Chindamo case - upholding the immigration tribunal's decision to prevent the murderer being deported to Italy – what a difference there is in media coverage.

It gets a token hearing from the BBC website but the treatment in the tabloids, such as The Sun (illustrated) is, to say the very least, sketchy.

Of course, back in August, the focus – entirely mistakenly – was on the right wing media's favourite bĂȘte noir, the Human Rights Act, about which there was a torrent of media and political comment.

But the current judge has remarked that, "There is no error of law in the careful determination of the tribunal," emphasising that. "his decision was mainly based on EU regulations …". So, now it is clearly established that we are talking about EU law, somehow the media are less interested.

In fact, Chindamo is the wrong case to focus on as, although of Italian extraction, he has been here since he was six, speaks no Italian and has no immediate relatives in that country. Therefore, the judge adds that it would be "disproportionate" to deport him, a ruling which is supported by the Human Rights Act. Therefore, if it was not for EU law, the likelihood is that he still could not be deported.

However, the lack of media protest about the EU component and its focus on the secondary aspect of the Human Rights Act does highlight a peculiar feature of human psychology – where people tend to focus on what can be changed and ignore that which is beyond reach.

In that sense, the Human Rights Act is (potentially, at least) amenable to amendment, whereas the EU law is cast in stone. Any exploration of that issue opens up the can of worms of EU withdrawal. And, although the media is happy to squawk with indignation about the machinations of the EU, withdrawal, none of them want to travel down the path to the destination that their protests logically lead them.

Nevertheless, as we pointed out yesterday, EU law is now the dominant controlling factor in who we admit to this country, and under what terms.

And it is no good – as the government is doing – endlessly repeating that mass immigration brings economic benefits. As the The Telegraph points out today – with warnings of increased Council Tax, to pay for the additional burden on public services imposed by immigration - we are seeing more of the financial downside, on top of the obvious social stresses that this influx is causing.

The pity of it all is that (in the same article) we see that the Tories have chosen to play party-political games with the issue, with David Cameron telling GMTV this morning how important it is "to get control of the immigration…", accusing Labour of "creating a panic".

Again, as we have pointed out, a Conservative government would be in no better a position to control immigration than the current administration, hence Cameron's carefully crafted but essentially meaningless pledge to control "non-EU economic migration".

This may hold the line for the moment, as a gullible and uncritical media fail to press him on precisely what that means in numerical terms, compared with the massively larger influx of legal migration under the umbrella of EU law. But the fact is that, as long as Cameron buys into the EU, he is as powerless as Brown and all the rest of his acolytes.

All Cameron is doing is deferring the day of reckoning. And reckoning there will come.

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