Well that didn’t take long did it…
A mere two days into his new job as Home Secretary and we find John Reid writing for the News of the World – where else – and trotting out the same old tired arguments much favoured by his predecessor:
Mr Reid wrote that readers of the Sunday newspaper believed it was wrong for court judgements to put the rights of foreign prisoners ahead of the safety of UK citizens.
"They believe that the government and their wishes are often thwarted by the courts. They want the deportation for foreign nationals to be considered early in their sentence, and are aware that this was overruled by the courts."
There may be readers of the News of the World who also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy as well – it still doesn’t mean they’re right.
Just to be clear on this, there may well be occasions when the government, and certainly the readership of the News of the World, have their wishes ‘thwarted by the courts’ but when it comes to deporting foreign nationals, this happens because the courts are doing their job and upholding the rule of law – and not just any old law but the Human Rights Act and Britain’s obligations under the European convention of Human Rights and the UN Convention Agaist Torture.
There is more at stake here than simply whether we deport a few foreign criminals. It’s about whether we live up to our obligations under international laws and treaties – which, it’s worth noting, were agreed and entered into by politicians, and not the courts – and even more than that it’s about whether we wish to be considered a civilised society and live up to standards, laid down in international law, which dictate that you do not deport someone into circumstances which put their life and bodily well-being at serious risk from regmies which do not espouse those standards and values.
It should be a matter of the deepest possible shame for Labour supporters that we have yet another Home Secretary out there in the Murdoch press pandering to the xenophobia of the ignorant instead of taking a stand for civilised values and the rule of law.