I’ve got to be paid for my charity, I do!

Payments made to British families welcoming families of Ukrainian refugees are “nowhere near enough”, amid soaring energy bills and inflation, charities and hosts have said.

Volunteers who host Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion receive £350 a month per family as a “thank you”, provided they don’t charge rent.

But hosts have argued that this money from the Government does not go far enough as energy and food bills continue to rise.

What is it about the difference between a thank you and a covering of costs that escapes people?

Perhaps we should look to the example of Clem Attlee:

Paul Willer obituary
German refugee who fled from the Nazis with his mother and brother and was taken in by the Labour leader Clement Attlee

Never told anyone about it, no press releases, wasn’t known to have happened – publicly – until decades later. And most certainly didn’t ask for any money for doing this.

Attlee had never publicised his hosting of a refugee boy and Willer’s time with the family came to light only a few years ago after a memoir by his mother had been deposited at the Wiener Holocaust Library in London. The AJR organised an event at the Houses of Parliament where among those he met was Attlee’s granddaughter. He praised the “extraordinary love that was found from the whole family, children and parents”. Attlee, he said, “did not try and glorify himself in any way”.

Clem was certainly wrong about many things but not this one.

Britain just isn’t – by comparison – racist

Something that folk do need to understand. Britain, by comparison with many other places, is a joyous melange of diversity:

Yet just yards away, hundreds of Roma people are sheltering in the only place available to them since they joined the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.

Unlike other Ukrainians who have been offered refugee visas, these families have found they have nowhere to go and no one who wants them.

Under socialism the Roma were kept, largely enough, in the Slovakian uplands. Then came freedom and a mass migration. And it’s not so much Roma (although the visceral reaction can be harsh) perhaps as people, culturally, from a previous century of rural habit. That this then is applied to Roma who come in from outside – from Ukraine here – can be seen as harsh but that is the way it is.

By comparison to the cultural divide with the Roma Britain is indeed that near entirely unracist society. Worth reminding people how well we do in fact.

Slightly different statements

Russia-Ukraine latest news: More than 100m people forcibly displaced from their homes

Eh? The majority of the population of the two countries is on the move, forcibly?

The war in Ukraine has pushed the number of forcibly displaced people around the world above 100 million for the first time, the United Nations said on Monday.


Umm, ‘Allo?

Ugandan Asians like me were resettled within weeks in the 70s. What happened to the UK?


As part of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Ugandan Asians in Britain, I have delved into local newspapers of the time to see how they framed the migration of the roughly 28,000 Ugandan Asians who were forced to leave places such as Jinja, Mbale and Kampala in Uganda.

You realise how trivially small the number 28,000 is compared to current migration levels?

Well, depends who is counting

Veil ban in schools sees Muslim girls get better grades and more mixed marriages
French study finds that, despite early criticism, rules forbidding headscarves in schools may have had some positive effects

Plenty of people would argue that more mixed marriages is a bad idea. Those who would like the continuation of their religion, for example.

Not just them either. There’s a definite strand in Black American thought that marrying out is treachery to the race……

So here’s an interesting thought about immigration

Apparently hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are about to descend upon Britain’s cities.


So, is anyone going to monitor their success in this new society? Say that 900k arrive. Just to pick a number. That would be about the same as the portion of the population that is of Afro Caribbean extraction – 1.5%

An excellent natural experiment to see what happens, no? Is Britain structurally racist? That overhand of race and colonial issues? Or does it take the Ukrainians just as many decades to reach party as it has every other immigrating group?


He said that black communities felt “overpoliced and underprotected” and warned that without more black and ethnic minority officers, there would continue to be a lack of trust and confidence within the black community in the police service.

Black, Asian and other people of ethnic minorities represent 14 per cent of the population, but only 8.3 per cent of constables. There are no ethnic minority chief constables, only 4.7 per cent chief officers, and just over five per cent of chief inspectors and inspectors.

Just one of those cultural things about the police and immigration. It tends to be the second generation that go into it, not the first. Think of the Irish going into the NY or Boston police for example.

Which does mean that when you’ve a bolus of immigration there’s going to be that 30 year delay in the ethnic make ups of the population and the police force. The mass BAME immigration into Britain is a fairly new thing. It’s something we can still see in the basic demographics, age cohorts and such. So that we see it in what tends to be a second generation job…..shrug.

Entirely the wrong calculation

The company behind Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru made a $101m profit last financial year – more than $500,000 for each of the fewer than 200 people held on the island.

It’s true, but it’s the wrong number to be calculating.

The idea of using Nauru is to stop folk sailing across dangerous waters to try to get into Oz. So, the benefit/value – assuming that we consider stopping would be immigrants to have any value at all, which not all will – is how much does it cost per immigrant who doesn’t set sail?

Highly likely that the Simple Shoppers in government are still paying too much but that is the correct number we want to know.

Rather misses the point really

Britain will have to allow asylum seekers to make applications from France if it wants a deal over Channel migrants, sources close to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, have said.

Only partially mind. This is something I get shouted at over every time I point it out. It is true all the same.

Of course, anywhere can offer asylum to anyone they like. So it’s not “necessary” to apply for asylum in the first safe country. On the other hand, asylum is, according to international law, a right. If you’re unsafe then a safe place must let you in. There’s clearly a slight logical gap there – or potentially so.

What it is is that the *first* safe place must let you in. Any subsequent safe places may do so if they decide to. The right, rather than the privilege, applies to that first safe place only.

France is a safe place by these usual rules. Therefore asylum seeking from there to the UK is something the UK authorities can accept or reject as they wish – using that base international legal thing.

As to the Macron proposal? Take him up on it and reject the applications as much as anyone wants to. Be entirely and wholly within the law in doing so.

Demographic change

No, neither for nor against this:

The most recently published official figures for the ethnic make-up of the population come from the 2011 census. It found that 86pc of people in England and Wales were white, down from more than 94pc in 2001. That matches the current workforce statistics for this year, which show just under 14pc of those in work or looking for work are from ethnic minorities.

But it is one hell of a change, isn’t it? 8 percent of population in only 10 years. 8% is about the level of white population in South Africa for example.

One hell of a change.

It’s almost worth asking who was asked about this?

Interesting number

South Africa despite whites making up 8 per cent of the population

The UK BAME population is getting on for twice the size of the South African white one.

It is socially acceptable to call for Africa for Africans and not to do the same for the UK. Or, perhaps, the inverse. Funny that.

Note what I’m not saying, that calling for Britain for Britons is a good idea. It’s just the difference in the social acceptability of the two which I find interesting.

Just to clarify on asylum seeking

Any time you say something like “asylum seekers should seek in their first safe country” you get referred to this Full Fact piece. Which is a masterpiece of not quite being clear. It’s necessary to read between the lines more than a little to pick out the real story here.

Do refugees have to stay in the first safe country they reach?

The answer to that is, of course, no. Anyone can, of course, go to any country that will have them.

The trick being performed here is in this phrase:

Incorrect. The UN Refugee Convention does not make this requirement of refugees, and UK case law supports this interpretation. Refugees can legitimately make a claim for asylum in the UK after passing through other “safe” countries.

Sure, anyone can make a claim anywhere.

But there’s a huge difference between who *must* grant a claim and who *may* grant a claim if they should so wish.

The asylum seeker, refugee thing, is a right in international law. Rights are things which must be granted. They are not privileges which may or may not be, they are rights which are due simply as being a human being in this specific situation.

If you are at risk in your own country then you have a right to seek safe haven.


However, that *right* extends only to that first safe haven you reach. It’s not the one next door, it’s the first your reach. That first safe haven *must* grant you that asylum, that safe haven. That’s what the right is.

Now, other places might well be willing to grant you safe haven. But they don’t have to. Those after your first safe lace might well do so – and just to be clear I’ve no problem with the UK doing so for all sorts of people in large quantity too – but that is a privilege at their discretion, not a right to be had a of, umm, right under international law.

Which is why people do get denied asylum in the UK as they are deemed to have that right elsewhere – in, perhaps the previous place they were before the UK.

Which is why I say that asylum seekers *should* – please note, not have to – claim in that first safe haven. Because that’s where that asylum is a right to which they have an absolute claim under international law. Claiming anywhere else is a privilege which they may or may not get granted.

As the Guardian says:

There is no obligation under the refugee convention or any other instrument of international law that requires refugees to seek asylum in any particular country. There has, however, been a longstanding “first country of asylum” principle in international law by which countries are expected to take refugees fleeing from persecution in a neighbouring state. This principle has developed so that, in practice, an asylum seeker who had the opportunity to claim asylum in another country is liable to be returned there in order for his or her claim to be determined.

The BBC:

But what happens if they have passed through a safe country on their way to the UK?

There is a general principle observed by many countries that asylum seekers who have passed through a safe third country where they could have claimed asylum can be sent back there in order to make their claim.

All of those waiting in Calais to cross the Channel fit into this category. They are in a safe country but few will have reached France without having crossed another EU border beforehand.


However, asylum-seekers may be returned to a country that is deemed safe based on reliable, objective and up-to-date information, and where they could have sought asylum provided that a fair process is available to them, there are proper standards of reception and their rights under the Convention will be respected in practice.

Me, I’d say this is all a fair enough basis for saying asylum seekers *should* apply in first safe haven because that’s where they’ve got that legal right to it. Anywhere else it’s a privilege which they may or may not be granted.

And I’ve got the Guardian, the BBC and UNHCR on my side in this too. And, as it happens, international law on asylum seeking.

Plus the law:

7.3 However, as currently drafted, they allow claims to be treated as inadmissible only if
the asylum applicant is accepted for readmission by the third country through which
they have travelled or have a connection. A stronger approach to disincentivise
individuals is needed to deter claimants leaving safe third countries such as EU
Member States, from making unnecessary and dangerous journeys to the UK.

7.4 The changes separate the readmission requirement from the inadmissibility decision,
allowing us to treat applicants as inadmissible based solely on whether they have
passed through one or more safe countries in order to come to the UK as a matter of
choice. They will allow us to pursue avenues for their removal not only to the
particular third countries through which the applicant has travelled, but to any safe
third country that may agree to receive them.

Note the point being made there. The first safe haven point always existed. The change in the law (Dec 2020) doesn’t change that first safe country thing either. It changes the ability to deport to, but not that general ability to refuse an application if this is not first safe country.

Or, The Guardian:

Ministers have quietly changed immigration rules to prevent people fleeing war or persecution from claiming asylum in the UK if they have passed through a “safe” third country, prompting accusations of a breach of international law.

From 1 January, claims of asylum from a person who has travelled through or has a connection to a safe third country, including people coming from EU member states, will be treated as inadmissible.

As you can see that’s slightly garbled from what the law says but that same distinction about safe countries is still made.

As here:

In the first two quarters of 2021, 7 cases were deemed to be inadmissible, meaning there was sufficient evidence that the asylum applicant had travelled via, or has connections to, another safe third country, and that country will take responsibility for the asylum application. The UK is preparing the return of these applicants.

First safe haven might be something the UK government can ignore if it wishes. It might be of minor relevance to the vast majority of cases. It could be that it’s a distinction that *shouldn’t* be made on moral or other grounds. But there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a concept that does exist in the relevant law.

As to the other country being willing to accept them. This is rather “Hmm, so, does the concept of first safe haven exists” “Err, yes” “So, what do we do about it?”” “Ahh, that’s difficult”. OK, it is difficult, but we have established that the concept exists, haven’t we?

A natural experiment

It is not surprising the bishop couldn’t recall Swealmeen: the Anglican cathedral had confirmed hundreds of asylum seekers from Muslim countries in recent years. The Home Office regards this as something of a scam: if the conversion to Christianity is accepted as genuine by a tribunal, asylum will be granted because such apostates are at risk if returned to their country of origin.

Last week The Times revealed an ad placed on Instagram by a people-smuggling network, claiming that conversion to Christianity was a way of winning an asylum claim “in the shortest possible time with the lowest cost”. In 2016 the Dean of Liverpool admitted there had been no similar rush to convert to Christianity among Muslims who already had British citizenship: “I can’t think of a single example.”

If you change just the one variable then do you get a different result?

Just poking around on a Sat afternoon

And came across a Spanish property site. Sorta, Zoopla for Spain.

Armfuls of places at €20k. Houses of some size at €40k. Some of which aren’t ruins but look habitable. OK, this is Huelva province, by the Algarve border.

But what else is it I’m missing. Are these prices plus take on a mortgage? Or is this what property costs in some parts of Spain?

And are there nice parts where this is still true?

Bloke? What’s it like your way? No, not sheds in the wilds, but townhouses/big flats even if around a backstreet somewhere?

Couldn’t possibly happen, don’t be absurd

Of all the ludicrous things to predict:

Mass migration due to climate change may lead to an increase in racial tensions and community clashes in the UK, police have been warned.

Abject nonsense. After all, having 14% of the nation foreign born has led to nothing but the joys and strengths of diversity. Why would more of the same not have the same outcome?

Ms. Shriver does have a point though

For Britain to remain Britain, it has to remain predominantly white. To say so, Shriver insists, is not racist. It is difficult, though, to know what else it could be. “For westerners to passively accept and even abet incursions by foreigners so massive that the native-born are effectively surrendering their territory without a shot fired,” Shriver claims, “is biologically perverse”.

This is the language of the British National party, of the AfD in Germany, of Marine Le Pen in France. To describe immigration as “incursions by foreigners”, to view black or brown people moving into your town as “surrendering one’s territory” and to regard non-white immigration as “biologically perverse” is not just to stray into racist territory, it is to jump head first into the swamp.

We can recast the argument. For Zimbabwe, or South Africa, to remain truly African it is necessary to cast out the Europeans. One place did so and there are plenty making the same argument in the other. Entirely true that it didn’t work out well and it wouldn’t, but that’s not the same point.

If ethnicity, or race, or culture, don’t matter then they don’t matter. If they do they do.

It’s not the poor moving, is it?

Jadhav*, 18, from Bangladesh, arrived in Italy 10 months ago, but is still haunted by memories of his journey with people smugglers across the Mediterranean Sea.

Only the poorest of the poor would risk such horrors, eh?

Determined to seek a better life in Europe, Jadhav had flown to Egypt via Dubai before reaching Libya by land. He worked for a year in Tripoli – in a supermarket, as a welder and laying roads – where he was jailed for 11 days, tortured, and released only after his parents sent ransom money.

Well, actually, no. To be able to afford that as a Bangladeshi he’s upper middle class at least. The poorest of the poor, the rickshaw drivers, the farmers on an acre of paddy, these folks are on 3,000 Tk (£30) a month. Plane flights don’t feature in their possibilities.

Well, OK, And?

Black, Pakistani, Bangladeshi people, whose very presence in Britain is inextricable from our colonial past, still live in the most deprived areas, in crowded housing, in places with the worst air pollution, subject to a range of toxic conditions that have huge impacts on health outcomes.

Large scale migration into Britain is a pretty new thing. A siubstantial portion of that BAME population is first genreation.

OK, so which society has ever had first generation migrants at the top of the socio-economic pile. Other than those which have been invaded that is? For we do have that example of the Normans in our own history.

So, the discovery that first generation migrants are not top of the socio-economic tree is a surprise to whom?

That’ll do it!

The Home Office has ordered a major overhaul of the Border Force amid growing frustration over the failure to stem the flow of illegal Channel migrants.

The two directors general of Border Force and Immigration Enforcement are to quit their posts and will be replaced by a single supremo tasked with curbing the crossings and overhauling Britain’s “broken” asylum system.

Consultants are also said to have been recruited to investigate a merger of the two Home Office directorates as the Government seeks to regain the initiative after a doubling in illegal migrant crossings this year and the failure to deport any to “safe” third countries.

Let’s shuffle the bureaucracy!

Alternatively, we could get St Steve with his performing lions on the beach at Dover……


Children of immigrants from deprived backgrounds are up to twice as likely to have a degree compared to their white peers, but this doesn’t translate into greater employment prospects, research has found.

That the first generation all run corner shops, the second are doctors and accountants is a cliche because it happens so often. Education is seen as the way up.

The counterfactual – at least, an interesting one – is what happens to the second generation without the education, not what happens with the second compared to the indigenes. And the effect is of course considerably better off and greater employment possibilities.

Just look at what happens to the second generation where education isn’t so prized……