Week 30: Villain – The Home Office

by George_East on July 28, 2013

villain_iconThis Week’s Villain of the Week Award goes to the Home Office for their racist ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ billboard campaign

Just when you thought this government couldn’t get any lower, they manage to show again that there is no barrel, however deep, they are not willing to scrape.

Adopting the rhetoric of the British National Party and the English Defence League is not something you expect the government of the day to do when dealing with a subject as sensitive as immigration.  Yet that is precisely what the government has done, sending a van around parts of London with the message ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ plastered across it on a billboard.   Even Nigel Farage of UKIP has been critical, seeing it for what it is, not a message really aimed at illegal immigrants at all but a naked nasty dog whistle piece of politics (straight out of the Lynton Crosby playbook),

The van is inflammatory, dangerous to community cohesion and, yes, out and out racist.  Why do I use the ‘r’ word – well because the van (or vans – no one seems to be quite sure) is (are) only touring around areas of London with high proportions of their populations of Indian sub-continent descent, including Hounslow, Ealing and Brent.   The leaflets to accompany the campaign are only being translated into Punjabi and Hindi, in case the geography of the van’s travels is not unsubtle enough.

As ever when something like this happens the Lib Dems have started belatedly to complain about it, Vince Cable doing so on this morning’s telly.  They still seem to fail to realise that this being done by the government (of which they are a member) and not the Conservative Party (though admittedly the difference between the two is pretty difficult to spot).  Shame on them.

Encouragingly though this despicable villainy has been the subject of something of a grass roots fight back.   Twitter (following #racistvan) has been used to mount a campaign to jam up the phone line and text number given on the advert with queries seeking free holidays to Barbados, or how to get back to Scotland and Wales, or my favourite of all these tweets from @pukkahpunjabi:

PukkahPunjabi ‪@PukkahPunjabi

Just had a callback from the Home Office after texting the ‪#racistvan. Managed to keep him on the phone for 20mins.

1:35 PM – 26 Jul 2013

PukkahPunjabi ‪@PukkahPunjabi

Eventually established that he would not provide a taxi for me to “go home” to Willesden when I’m stuck in Harrow ‪#racistvan

1:36 PM – 26 Jul 2013

PukkahPunjabi ‪@PukkahPunjabi

Said I didn’t have a visa, he reassured me that I didn’t need one to go between Willesden and Harrow so I was not an overstayer ‪#racistvan

PukkahPunjabi ‪@PukkahPunjabi

Do text the ‪#racistvan number on 78070. You will get a callback from the Home Office, lets waste their time!

1:39 PM – 26 Jul 2013

 

Taxi from Harrow to Willesden! Genius.

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