Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
- This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
- Factual information might be outdated.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
During the election campaign, Mr Blair said
You cannot determine specifically how many people are here illegally
He even said it was impossible to estimate the number. I know, because I sat and watched the interview when he made these claims.
Also during the election campaign, John Salt came up with a figure of 500,000 illegal immigrants, which ministers called
Of course, how they knew it was inaccurate when they were unable to make the calculations themselves is a mystery.
Now it’s quite understandable that the Labour party would be a little coy about admitting that 500,000 people are in the country illegally when an election is being fought in which immigration and asylum are central themes.
Yesterday, though, the Home Office declared that there are approximately 570,000 illegal immigrants in the country. Which is, no doubt, a help when we’re debating an ID cards bill, which is (nonsensically) supposed to tackle illegal immigration.
Clearly confused, some bright spark asked the Prime Minister’s Offical Spokesperson if it had come as a surprise to the Prime Minister that Home Office were able to produce statistics on illegal immigration given that he had said that such figures were impossible to calculate. The PMOS’s reply? That Tony Blair could not possibly have known the figure during the interview because it hadn’t yet been calculated. So why he said it was impossible to calculate, nobody really knows.
Putting to him that this was convenient that this figure had not been available during the General Election but was now being used to justify ID Cards didn’t get anybody much further. The PMOS simply replied that the figures were not being used to justify ID cards, and…
In all of this we should not lose sight that asylum applications are down 73% from the peak of October 2002.
See what he did there? He jumped from immigration to asylum, despite condemning the Tory party during the election for confusing the two in people’s minds. In answer to a question quite clearly about immigration, he tells us that asylum applications are down!
But we really shouldn’t be surprised at all this. Tony Blair’s public image no longer matters as he’s not seeking re-election, and thus is not accountable to the wider electorate any more. He can do what he likes, and get the dirty work done without having to worry about looking bad in public. And what did Alan Milburn say during the campaign?
I’d do anything to win the election.
Guess what? He has.