Tuesday 19 December 2023

 .Let us Have Another View on this Immigration Problem!

 

I listen to the news on immigration and “how terrible” it is for the UK. I cannot help thinking that the government uses sound bites as a divide-and-rule strategy. I have often heard that governments need an enemy to blame for everything, pointing out that their party is the only one able to protect us from such terrible things.

I also note that, like others in the past, there is the use of untruths like 'Illegal immigrants', as Lord Dubs said recently. Since when has it become illegal to claim asylum? The conservative member he was in discussion with kept repeating the mantra, “But they are illegal,” and repeating the lie makes me accurate. Maybe, as George Orwell said, that is how it works. It makes the lie truth and the truth a lie. I work in the sector, and constantly, in terms of housing, I have had trouble with insurance brokers and housing authorities. “We cannot insure you”, they say, “because you are housing illegal people”. “No, I am not. I am accommodating people with government papers, ID cards and the like to be here”. That doesn't work as they “know -whatever” they are illegal. The Prime minister keeps saying so. So, that must make it true?

I have been trying to work out the figures that the government keeps throwing at us in order to consider the actual situation. This is hard to work out, even from the government departments, because they often don't know the true picture.

But here is another way to look. Away from the noise of them being illegal.  “They are illegal!” “They are illegal!” 25% of these “illegal” people are students studying in the UK, and probably paying into UKPLC around 1400 pounds a month, i.e. £16,000 per year.   Then there is the NHS, which we are constantly being told has a shortage of workers. However, 25% of the workers they have are also part of the big “illegal” problem!

On top of the problems of the NHS, there is the Care Sector. Oh dear! The government has recruited more “illegals” for that sector, and apparently, according to the latest figures, that represents 58% of this “terrible” immigration problem we need protection from.

And that leaves those small boats. So; what percentage of the big “illegal” problem does that represent? According to the best figures I can find, that amounts to slightly less than 3%. So, let's try some additions:

·         Students bringing in £16,800 a year = 25%

·         NHS workers, I guess working and paying tax = 12%

·         Coming to work in Care Sector, again paying tax = 58%

·         Small Boats (not illegal to claim asylum no matter how you get here. Let's be generous = 3%,

That gives us a grand total of 98%

Then I know that others come other ways. I have met them. Maybe that is the additional 2% giving us the total 100%.

                                                                                                         

To tackle those other problems, the housing numbers of “long-term empty homes” rose again in 2023 by 12,556 (or 5%) to 261,189. The number of asylum seekers waiting longer than six months for a decision now stands at 128,812. That means there must be around 132,377 spare ones if we accommodate all those asylum seekers. And wouldn't that money spent on hotels be better spent on bringing those empty homes back into good use?

“What a lot these people are costing us!” cry government ministers. However, if we allowed them to work and pay tax at the basic rate, it would earn the UK coffers at least half a billion pounds annually. It would not prevent or hinder processing their asylum application. It would undoubtedly help the system.

Of course, if you solve these problems, what will you use as sound bites? 'Stop the Boats!'  What else could be used to persuade you to think “We, the government are protecting you. This means you really need to keep us in government.”

Does anyone leave the UK with, maybe, a bit of balance? In the year ending December 2022, approximately 557,000 people emigrated from the United Kingdom, 92,000 of whom were British citizens, 202,000 were EU citizens, and 263,000 were non-EU citizens. So, doing those sums again:

·         Out = 557,000

·         In = 128,812

·         Net loss = 428,188

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Adrianhawkes.blogspot.co.uk

Monday 23 October 2023

 

Just

You will find all positive alternatives, if you check a thesaurus for the word, “JUST”. Why is it, then, that I see it used as a negative putdown? Maybe it's the tone of voice, a look, or a context.

I often hear people use the word, “Just”, in terms of 'Oh, they are JUST a student. JUST a cleaner.”  JUST … fill in the blanks. In that sense. The word is not used positively but rather as, in my view, an insult, a negative and a putdown.

Why do people put others down, I muse? Is it because they feel inferior? Are they insecure? Or do they think they can climb higher if they push someone else down?

If it's the, “climb-higher-syndrome”, they must understand that that action means both fall down. It is interesting to note that Jesus, the King of all Kings, in his discussion with his disciples when they were pushing for status and hierarchy, said to them, “Whoever wanted to be the top, leader, needed to be the servant of all.” Strange, hey? Perhaps not, as it came from the “Servant King”.

I'm not too fond of putdowns. I'm not particularly eager to watch it. It makes me sad to see it. I am sad because I feel I am looking at insecurity attempting to push others into insecurity, which is unpleasant.

I remember one day at a large conference, a person approached me and said he had read one of my books. I gave him a genuine, “Thank you”. However, he continued in a relatively insulting tone and said, “You have done for literature what “so and so” has done for music.” To which I replied, “Thank you!”(I liked the person's music). Exceedingly irritated, the speaker responded, " I knew you would take that as a compliment,” which I indeed had. What he had said was clearly intended as an insult.  LOL. With that, he walked off. It's great being so highly complimented.

Another story: When I was just a small boy, the deputy head teacher of my junior school called me forward in front of the class. I must have been about 10 or 11 years old. He said. “Hawkes, you are the most stupid boy that I have ever met. You will never be able to do anything, not even sweep up.” Not being given to insecurity, I did not reply but thought to myself that, “What you believe, “sir”, is a clear demonstration that you obviously don't know me at all.” I am not recommending my actions, but on leaving school and driving a new, rather swish company car, I drove past the school of my youth at the very time I knew the deputy head teacher would be leaving. On seeing him, I swished down my window as he came down the school path and said, “ Oh! Hello sir! Are you still riding that rusty old bike? He looked at me in astonishment, mouth open, no words coming, and I drove off.

Neel Burton MD, author of “Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions,” in one of his online articles, says “one of the ways of dealing with putdowns is humour.” I am unsure if my window-down car driving was humorous, but it felt fun. But Neel Burton quotes two anti put-down stories that I think are worth repeating:

George Bernard Shaw, it is said, once invited Winston Churchill to his new play. The invitation read: "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend—if you have one." Churchill replied: "Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second—if there is one."

An example, just for the fun: The American actress Ilka Chase wrote several novels. One day, an anonymous actress told her: "I enjoyed reading your book. Who wrote it for you?" Chase replied: "Darling, I'm so glad you liked it. Who read it to you?"

So, think before using that, “JUST” putdown: Why am I doing this? Is it because I am insecure?

Lift people up, and you will find that that deals more effectively with your insecurity.

 

Adrian Hawkes.Blogspot.co.uk

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Thursday 7 September 2023

 The Destructive Use of Percentages

I remarked that there are almost 100,000 children in foster care in the UK. On top of that, there are 125,000 children being looked after not by their birth parents but by other family members or friends.

That means there are two hundred thousand children who are, in one way or another, in the UK care system. I am told that if there are one hundred thousand in foster care, there is probably another one hundred thousand on the “At Risk Register.” In other words, children are in danger of going into foster care.   So, conservatively, three hundred thousand children in the UK are at serious risk.

My listener responded, "But ah! that is quite a small percentage of the UK total population."

The current population of the UK is 67,756,193. So, I guess that all those children represented by my figures above are a small percentage of the total UK population. Another note is that the number seems to go up yearly.

Now I am not sure what you think about this.

First, I want to say that I find percentages interesting. However, on this occasion, the reply that it is “a small percentage” offends me.

I am sure that if you are one of those young people who have been traumatized, now being looked after by a locum “parent”, who at first will be a total stranger to you, you would not be interested in the fact that you are currently being regarded as a percentage, a number – and a small number at that.

I am old enough to remember “The Prisoner”,  a 1967 UK science fiction-allegorical television series about a man (Patrick McGoohan) kidnapped from his London home and awakens in a secret location known to its inhabitants as “The Village”, where he is known only as Number Six. The Prisoner constantly complains that he is “not a number.”

The problem with the destructive use of percentages is that it dehumanizes people. “You are not a percentage. You are a person.” I know the names and stories of many of such young people - and turning them into a number is frankly destructive and disturbing.

I guess we people do not like to face specific awful situations, so we dehumanize people. In war, it is not dead people. It's “collateral damage”. For the surgeon, you are often not a person but, “My appendix patient.”

Politicians love it.  Those people dying on the boats seeking safety are not people. They are “illegals” (which they are not). The 6 million people on the planet currently displaced from stable homes because of war, famine, and bad politics are not, after all, “people”. They are “refugees” or “aliens” or merely “undocumented immigrants”, or other worse descriptions.

Maybe, we should think again about our word usage, and casual dismissal of, “well, it’s only a small percentage.” We should perhaps think again about what Martin Niemöller often said and often called “The Bystander's Credo”:

“First, they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I did not speak out.

 Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out.

 Then they came for the Jews, but I was not Jewish, so I did not speak out.

And then they came for me, and no one was left to speak out for me.”

Adrians Blog

www.blogspot.com

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Friday 7 July 2023

 And So…

I arrive on a small boat to the UK. Oh, dear, I have no documentation, so I must be illegal. But I worked for the British in Afghanistan.

Well, did you not know there is a form for people like you who are from Afghanistan that you can fill in and therefore come to the UK legally?

How many people have used that route In the last year? Non. Now I wonder why that is.

Well, people fill in the form, send it in, and oh dear, it takes forever for the UK to reply, and often they say you have filled in the wrong form, and you need to start again with the right one, so I guess lots more months of waiting for a reply.

So why do you need to come to the Uk? Well, because I worked for the UK government when you were in Afghanistan, I was in hiding because the Taliban wanted to kill me for working for the UK. So, apply properly to come to the UK.

Another problem is that; the UK government wanted their form completed and a passport, birth certificate, and children's passports (The Taliban will not issue children's passports). The UK wanted an adoption certificate for some children, but no such document exists in Afghanistan.

To make matters worse, the UK insisted that each document is endorsed by the country's government, the Taliban. The problem with that is they are the people trying to kill me. If I apply to them, they will know where I am hiding, so I will be killed. I think I will run away and get there by small boat. Oh, but then you will be illegal. Yes, but alive!

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/afghans-arap-taliban-documents-mod-b2288164.html

 

 

Monday 5 June 2023

 Language and the Liniker small boats debate

 

The great pity of this debate is that it has concentrated on Linakers tweets rather than the home secretaries words in Parliament. Words have power. Never forget that. Words can inspire action and deeds. Do you think that the riots in Merseyside? Do you believe that it has no connection with terms used by parliamentarians? If you feel that you are nieve in the extreme.

Words affect people and cause them to act accordingly. That is why the Home secretaries' words are so dangerous. Much like the former president of the USA claims that riots in the US have nothing to do with him.

So what was that dangerous rhetoric? Well, illegal to start with; It is only illegal if you are undocumented and don't claim asylum when you enter! We won't talk about those other unproven words implying that all fleeing are rapists and criminals; what terrible language to use without proof.

Think about those documents too. Kossovans had their paperwork, passports, marriage certificates, and birth certificates burnt in front of them in the Kosovo conflict. They even took the number plates from their cars. The whole idea is to make them a non-person, is that what the home secretary wants to do?

Then think about the constant inflammatory use of the cost to the poor UK taxpayers—millions in hotel charges. However, if you allowed the people here claiming asylum to work and pay tax, just the ones here now would generate half a billion pounds for the government tax take. You could continue to process their asylum claim, which is probably easier. Then you could make such people responsible for their accommodation, as they are earning  saving the exchequer a further half a billion pounds while filling those one million plus work vacancies in the meantime. One billion pounds In sounds like a good idea. 

In the meantime, word inspires attacks on residential places where refugees are housed. Why wouldn't you attach them? After all, they are illegal rapists and criminals; top politicians told us so.

And don't you know there are one billion displaced persons in the world, all trying to come to the UK? A bit like the whole of Turkey was about to move here if we didn't Brexit!

Refugees fit the bill so well. The big issue is that that would take away falsely created enemies, i.e. those who can least defend themselves. And then how could the government keep us in fear which might mean we might not vote for them to protect us from these terrible catastrophes?

 

Adrian Hawkes

Adrianhawkes.blogspost.com

W. 438 

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Compasionate Conservatism

 

I must confess that I had not heard this phrase for a long time. I thought it had been given up. I was under the misapprehension that they had returned to that other phase used by conservatives, the nasty party. Apparently not.

I like words, but for words to have meaning, they must clearly define what they mean. So compassionate, I need to know what is being done to demonstrate compassion practically.

So, conservatives of recent date have awarded their friends with million-pound contracts for PPE that did not work and had to be destroyed. Is that compassion conservatism?

Then again, they have recently told us how to eat right, go and eat cake! Oh, sorry, it wasn't cake; it was turnips. Is that what is meant by compassionate conservatism?

However, they have recently tried to compassionately help us British in attempting to deport vulnerable refugees fleeing from war to Rwanda; perhaps that is what they mean by compassion.

In the U.K., at the moment, we have more people using food banks than ever before, but thankfully the conservatives, In the shape of Conservative MP Lee Anderson, has come with some compassionate help. Lee Anderson, Conservative MP, was very compassionate to himself; he claimed £219,703.44 as business costs - higher than the average M.P. He said that people using food banks do not know how to budget or cook. I also wonder if they have enough money to put the cooker on?

·         N.B. The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) represents more than 500 independent food banks operating across the U.K. IFAN has identified at least 1,172 independent food banks across the U.K. in addition to food banks in the Trussell Trust network, Salvation Army, and school-based food banks.

·         In its mid-year statistics, the Trussell Trust reported a 23% rise in the number of food parcels they distributed from April to September 2019, compared with April to September 2018. The figure rose from 658,048 to 823,145 parcels. This is the steepest increase it has recorded in five years. Around a third of these were requested for children.

By the way, the government is very compassionate to M.P.s, especially regarding food. A three-course cordon-bluer meal In the Palace of Westminster will cost an M.P. about £10.00. A braised pork belly with black pudding bonbon and apple salad starter was £2.70, while a rib-eye steak with bĂ©arnaise and hand-cut chips (I trust these are now being stacked in "the tower arrangement") was generously priced at £7.80. Who subsidises this? Well, the taxpayer, of course.

OK, now you tell me I have got it all wrong, so I look forward to hearing how this compassionate conservatism works.

w.452

Adrian Hawkes

4th March 2023

 

Thursday 26 January 2023

 BLACK OR WHITE

 

It is nice when people know what is right and wrong, black, or white, to do or not to do! Unfortunately, there are lots of shades of grey. It's a great pity that the real world we live in is not, yes or no, up or down, right or left like that. It would be so much easier if it was, black or white right or wrong, without any intermediate spaces or opinions – wouldn't it?

Of course, the thing is, even God compromises and accommodates that which He does not want to happen. I'm so glad He does, aren't you?

So, “what brought this on?” you ask.  Well, I have seen many things on Facebook about electric cars. Mostly, it’s all about how they don't work, are too expensive, and they exploit children and therefore we shouldn't buy them, and on top of all that, they won't get you where you need to go.

Of course, I am missing out that most of the writers have never driven one, never been in one, and, if we are honest, know nothing about them - but hey! that never stopped our prejudices did it.

But for me, it does throw up the problem of child exploitation, and yes, I have thought about it, and yes, I have driven Electric cars for almost ten years if you include the original hybrid cars. I believe doing so is better for the environment. For me, I think the last ten years has saved me around £11,000 in running costs from running my previous petrol car. That does not include the free parking, the (sometimes) free electricity, the low cost of tax and the government perks as well as the free driving in Central London, (i.e., not paying the congestion tax.)

However, we cannot ignore the child exploitation that is utilised to get the material for the battery. However, if we are going to think about exploitation for the construction of car batteries, shouldn't we also think about the exploitation in other areas of both children and working adults too?  The exploitation of workers in clothing factories, exploitation of children making footballs, exploitation of the environment and local people via oil pipelines and the pollution of food sources in coastal areas. Wasn't there a whole load of innocent working people killed in the Rana Plaza building collapse?

I do listen to the people trying to represent such situations. However, the grey area is that the people who are being exploited tell us to not stop buying the goods, because if we do, they do not have any work at all.  So, the result of or black and white moralistic cry is starvation.  Sometimes in some countries, the only working person in the family is a child.  Is that right? Of course not! However, the grey area is that there are choices. Either, we stop buying such things, creating even worse social and financial situations for those families, or we buy making loads of noise to those in power to change the working conditions in the relevant countries, stop children from working and employ adults. The end-product of that change will mean that our clothes, batteries, food, and the oil will become more expensive, maybe it should be.

As a follower of Jesus, I am sure that we have an international responsibility to prophesy to power. To call out the misuse and injustice towards children and working people We need to seek and pull down the Kingdom to our time-space world, handfuls of Kingdom justice, righteousness, equality, and wholeness. Let us make a noise. We can do something - doing nothing is not an answer, but neither is not buying.  Sadly, there is no black or white - just lots of different greys.

Adrian Hawkes

7th August 2021

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www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.co.uk