Windrush victory for Black MPs.

Author:Goodwin, Clayton
Position:LETTER FROM LONDON
 
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Over recent months, the 'Windrush scandal' (highlighted by NA in March) has engulfed British politics, forcing the resignation of the Home Secretary. It is a major victory for black British politicians, who are starting to carve out a strong platform for themselves.

There are few times, if any, when African / Caribbean politicians in the House of Commons have been tested as rigorously as they have over the past few weeks, and they have stood up to the challenge splendidly.

They cannot be regarded now as toothless, token or irrelevant. David Lammy and Diane Abbott, in particular but not alone, put such pressure on Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, that she has had to resign and they have given her predecessor in office, Theresa May, the present Prime Minister, such a battering as to expose the government's confusion and cross-dealing.

The combination of politicians and press has brought a widespread scandal, which might otherwise have been swept under the carpet, to public attention.

The bone of contention has been the treatment of people, and here we mean primarily black people, who arrived in the UK with full British citizenship but have been caught apparently offside by the draconian immigration measures introduced by May when she was Home Secretary.

It has become known as the Windrush generation scandal. The Empire Windrush was the ship which brought the first consignment of West Indian immigrants to these shores, an event now recognised as the starting point for mass non-white immigration into the country.

The 70th anniversary of its docking at the port of Tilbury on 21 June 1948 is ceiebrated this month. Over the years the term "Windrush generation" has become short-hand for all black immigration then and in the immediately ensuing years.

The current crisis was sparked by an article in the Guardian newspaper, which New African took up in its March issue. It explained how 61-year-old Paulette Wilson had been threatened with immediate deportation to Jamaica, the island of her birth, after living all her adult life, working and paying taxes, in the UK.

Parliamentarian Kate Osamor, whose parents came from Nigeria, brought attention to similar cases. Very soon it became obvious that this was a nationwide scandal which affected elderly black people who had arrived in England as children when their parents and families answered the invitation of the British government to help rebuild the country after the destruction caused by the Second World...

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