Even Farage thinks the Go Home vans are nasty


1:55 pm - July 25th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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Well, this comes as a complete (but welcome) surprise.

Even Nigel Farage dislikes the Home Office van going around urging immigrants who don’t have a legal right to stay here to ‘GO HOME’.

He told ITV this morning (via Daily Mail):

What the billboards should say is please don’t vote UKIP, we’re doing something.

That’s what it’s all about, of course it is I think the actual tone of the billboards is nasty, unpleasant, Big Brother.

It’ll make no difference. I don’t think using messages like this will make any difference, what will make a difference is enforcing out borders properly.

It’s always worrying when you find yourself on the same side as Nigel Farage, but credit to him here for calling it what it is.

You may argue that his concern is not genuine and he’s only worried about Tories taking back UKIP support of course. Perhaps, but he isn’t the only UKIP member who has condemned this in strong terms.

As I said earlier, the van is an ineffective stunt. Its sole aim is to generate publicity for the government rather than get outcomes.

Secondly, while supporters of the van claim it is only aimed at ‘illegal immigrants’, they miss the point that this was a highly racist neo-Nazi slogan. To bring it into government use legitimises it, regardless of whom it is aimed at.

For almost every ethnic minority person in the UK, Go Home has strong racist connotations. There’s no argument over this at all. It is irrelevant who the Home Office say it is aimed at, this is very much a re-run of ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Immigration ,News ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Farage said they are nasty and unpleasent, yes they are. But lets note “nasty” is not “racist”.

Lets also note they are a knee jerk reaction, trying to gain some credibility over an issue created by the left. If immergration had been held in check, this never would have came about. Well done.

2. Richard Carey

“For almost every ethnic minority person in the UK, Go Home has strong racist connotations. There’s no argument over this at all.”

Bollocks. If the phrase they were using was ‘go back to your own country’ you may have a point.

3. Baton Rouge

Let’s face it an illegal immigrant seeing one of these having floated across oceans on petrol drum rafts, risked suffocation in the back of a lorry and paid his life saving over to a human trafficer is not going to look at one of these billboards and say: `you know what I think I will go home’.

Clearly they are not aimed at these people then. So their only effect can be that Nasti one of cranking up general racism. Don’t get me wrong a democracy has the right to decide the terms of entry but illegal immigrants should be treated with smypathy and humanity and, given their struggles, respect before being sent back to their imperialist ravished lands.

4. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Secondly, while supporters of the van claim it is only aimed at ‘illegal immigrants’, they miss the point that this was a highly racist neo-Nazi slogan.

When was it one of those then?

5. Man on Clapham Omnibus

3 Baton Rouge

‘So their only effect can be that Nasti one of cranking up general racism.’

That may be the case but I think its principal design is to make the Tories look tough and probably for the reason Farage suggests.

They’re not driving a van around London with “Go Home” scrawled on the side in massive letters, though. What the poster actually says is, inter alia, “Are you in the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest”.

Presumably, if the van said, “Are you in the UK illegally? Leave Britain now or face arrest,” Lib Con would cease to have a problem with it, even though its intended meaning is exactly the same.

But that seems pretty hard to believe. My guess is that some other reason to complain about it would be brought forward, because ultimately, liberals don’t want the government to be intimidating poor innocent immigrants, illegal or not.

The way I see it, the liberal belief is that, 1, the government shouldn’t remove illegal immigrants, and 2, it certainly shouldn’t broadcast its intent to remove illegal immigrants. That’s the sort of thing that only encourages people to think that removing illegal immigrants is a good or achievable thing to do.

7. Repoblikon

In the House of Lords 24 July 2013
Lord Roberts of Llandudno (Liberal Democrat)
“Does the Minister agree that so many of those who are homeless and rough sleepers are the most vulnerable and fragile in society and that we must do everything possible in order to give them confidence in their communities? Is the present Home Office campaign not also against immigrants, with those billboards going around saying, “Go home or face arrest”? Does that not cause a great disturbance in our communities, possibly also for the homeless people who may feel under threat?”

Baroness Hanham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Conservative)
“My Lords, there are two important questions there. On the first, about rough sleeping, as noble Lords know and as I have made clear in this House, the Government are intent on stopping rough sleeping. There is the No Second Night Out initiative, in London, The Passage and other initiatives by organisations such as St Mungo’s and St Basils. There is support for rough sleepers and we do not expect them to have to stay rough sleeping for very long.
Regarding the second matter raised by the noble Lord, this is a new initiative that has just been undertaken by the City of Westminster to try to encourage those who should not be here and have not got accommodation to think about going home. It is intended to be helpful; I do not think that it is meant to be intimidating but to address the reality of the situation, as there are people coming here without jobs and accommodation.”

Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 24 July 2013, c1311)

8. Shatterface

Secondly, while supporters of the van claim it is only aimed at ‘illegal immigrants’, they miss the point that this was a highly racist neo-Nazi slogan. To bring it into government use legitimises it, regardless of whom it is aimed at.

Bit like New Labour’s ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ which they borrowed from the BNP.

Of course the Tories are just threatening to jail illegal immigrants themselves rather than jailing their children as well so they’ve still got some way to go.

The difference between Nigel Farage’s UKIP and the Conservative party is that UKIP really do want to send illegal immigrants “home” whereas the Conservative party simply wishes to impress the Daily Mail readership that they are doing something about this issue.

This surprisingly unpleasant excercise will have no impact on illegal immigration however it will register with the Daily Mail readership.

I think that in the coming decades we will see much more immigration and so it would be useful if people get used to the idea. Why more immigration? Well human beings move around much more than they ever used to, so inevitably each country is going to contain increasing numbers of people from other countries and cultures.

“For almost every ethnic minority person in the UK, Go Home has strong racist connotations. There’s no argument over this at all.”

*sigh* Playing the racist card is so easy, Sunny! The aim is always to shut down discussion. And, on the left, sensitivity to racism (and feminism)is so often a matter of competitive display. All you are saying here is I-am-more-anti-racist-than-thou and you-can’t-disagree-with-me-because-my skin-is-brown.

Bollocks! This van display is not racist at all, and all the ethnic minority people I know detest illegals.

11. Avoid Nutters

All the quiet batpeople who I know think this is an omnishambles.

It’s astonishing how quickly the freedom-loving free marketeers and libertarians forget their so-called principles when a foreign person is involved.

Of course “Go home” was used by neo-nazis. Lenny Henry joked about it early in his career, saying he came from Dudley.

There’s a lot of wilful dissembling here from the usual hypocrites and liars.

TONE: “all the ethnic minority people I know detest illegals.”

Ob: “Lets also note they are a knee jerk reaction, trying to gain some credibility over an issue created by the left.”

I think we have found the intended audience for the van, noting that pretty much everyone agrees that in terms of encouraging people to leave it’s about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

From the Home Office Website:

“Voluntary returns are the most cost-effective way of removing illegal immigrants and save the taxpayer money. This pilot builds on the government’s current work on voluntary returns, which saw 3,699 voluntary departures last year.

“The areas were chosen because they have either significantly higher or below average numbers of voluntary returns, meaning that the success of the pilot can be assessed. Community and faith leaders across the six boroughs have been involved in creating the messaging and materials.”

Sunny writes:

“…..while supporters of the van claim it is only aimed at ‘illegal immigrants’, they miss the point that this was a highly racist neo-Nazi slogan. “

So could you arrange to interview some of these neo-Nazi Community and faith leaders across the six boroughs about their conversion to this despicable ideology, so as to establish what motivated them to throw their lot in with the far right of the political spectrum?

It does rather seem to have slipped this site’s notice that the Liberal Democrat bit of the coalition is utterly disgusted by and opposed to these vans, too. Ministers didn’t know and hadn’t cleared them. See here on Lib Dem Voice for details. http://www.libdemvoice.org/finally-media-pick-up-on-coalition-split-on-offensive-poster-vans-35483.html

16. The Green Lantern

Farage’s opposition is purely self-serving. He sees a tax payer funded travelling party political broadcast on behalf of the Tory party.

“Go home” is totally inappropiate. They should change it to “Fuck off”, as it is the correct way to address these criminals.

18. Mr Turmoil

No, he is quietly laughing !

As annoying as the campaign is, it’s not racist. If it was, then telling your hard-working ethnic minority colleague that they’ve been working too long today and should go home is racist, as would police telling a drunken ethnic minority to go home and sleep it off. “Go home” is not owned by racists. Telling illegal immigrants to leave the country is not the same as telling all immigrants to leave the country, unless you’re looking to be offended. Why should they be allowed to stay when thousands have come here legally and did it the right way?


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