Well, well, well. Once more it’s been severely embarrassing week for the rightwingers and bigots in the Tory party who saw their rabidly xenophobic policies hit a stumbling block in the upper house.
It’s not much in the grand scheme of things but God we need something to cling to at the moment. Rather like an orphan refugee child desperately clutching a piece of flotsam in the Mediterranean.
May and her cronies received a good kicking from the Lords who voted to amend her deliberately ambiguous plans for resident EU nationals many of whom have lived here for years contributing to the economy of these septic isles.
Ambiguous but not exactly difficult to predict.
Peers overwhelmingly voted in favour of an amendment to the Brexit Bill calling for a formal guarantee for those EU nationals resident in Britain that they would not be denied their rights under the legislation.
It’s no wonder the government was pissed off, that of course is in large part exactly what the legislation is intended to do.
What’s the point of going to all this trouble getting out of the EU if you can’t give Johnny Foreigner a kicking as a result?
Among those voting in favour of the amendment were a number of senior Tories, who probably risk getting their membership cards revoked for breach of party policy as a result.
You have to take your hat off to the Lords on this occasion although certainly not tug one’s forelock in fawning obeisance. They are an antiquated bunch of un-elected blowhards and pompous reactionaries in the main, claiming eye-watering daily expenses for, well, sleeping mostly it would seem.
But just occasionally, as with the judiciary, they wake up and pay attention and their hide-bound and rigid views fall on the side of right, not might.
As this column has had cause to mention in the past these are not bold reformers and radicals fighting the system. They ARE the system and have a significant vested interest in ensuring it remains that way.
It is therefore a damning indictment of how corrupt, malevolent and contemptuous of legality and morality this government is when even life peers say: “Hang on a minute this just isn’t cricket.”
Not that it will actually change anything of course. The proposals will now be kicked back to the Commons, which will very probably pass them again with minimal tweaks to the language, if that.
Within hours of the defeat the government issued a statement saying that while it “took the issue of securing the rights of EU citizens very seriously ... the intention is to overturn this in the House of Commons.”
Which shows just how “seriously” the Tories take the matter, as if any further proof were needed.
Already a number of Tory backbenchers who it was thought might rebel seem to have been whipped, or bribed, back into line. One such, Anna Soubry, spinelessly claimed that she was convinced by the government’s argument that the issue would be dealt with as a priority once Article 50 was triggered.
Yes, of course it will.
In other news, increasing numbers of pigs sign up for aviation lessons.
But it is always nice to see the Tories getting a bloody nose from the Establishment they fight so hard to retain.
It’s a bit like the Queen chinning Theresa May.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the following day’s news conference at the Daily Heil.
May who of course notably stayed well back in the shadows during last year’s toxic referendum debate, rather like Jack the Ripper, showing the ambiguity of principle that has long been her calling card, seems now to have fully embraced the cause she did little or nothing to further.
She could not give a toss about what’s good for the country but she has been given a golden opportunity to further her life’s work and lie through her teeth to demonise and victimise foreigners.
And it would appear that this nefarious work is nearing fruition.
New research published on Thursday shows that Britain is one of the worst countries in western Europe when it comes to the treatment of desperate and vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees.
Not that we didn’t know this already but it is nice to have the occasional reminder.
Of the so-called big five nations — Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy — only the Italians fare worse.
The analysis found that: “Britain takes fewer refugees, offers less generous financial support” than other nations, “provides housing that is often substandard, does not give asylum-seekers the right to work, has been known to punish those who volunteer and routinely forces people into destitution and even homelessness when they are granted refugee status due to bureaucratic delays.”
May must be delighted.
It was she after all who said, during her previous incarnation as home secretary that it was her avowed intent to make Britain an intolerably unwelcome place for anyone seeking to come here.
She’s probably got a framed copy on the wall in Number 10, right next to the signed photo of Adolf Eichmann. It was during Eichmann’s genocide trial in Jerusalem, you will recall, that Hannah Arendt famously coined the phrase “the banality of evil.”
Well this is more like the pure blatant bastardry of evil. There’s nothing banal about it, it’s right up there inyour-face bigotry and bullshit and she’s loving every despicable minute of it.
It is just fortunate that she is not as monstrously efficient as Eichmann. Although she is undoubtedly a monster.