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Give the Gurkhas their Dignity and Rights

29 April , 2009

A short piece to say no more than thank goodness common sense and righteousness prevailed in the House of Commons today. It doesn’t happen all that often, but Nick Clegg’s stand against Gordon Brown’s ludicrous attempts to prevent people who fought for this country coming to live in this country is to be commended. The Tories, the LIb Dems and many ordinary people in the UK have supported this important campaign – a taxi driver (usually London’s most right wing crowd) swore and blinded at the Government this morning for the atrocious and shabby way in which the British government has treated these 36,ooo Nepalis who retired before 1997, yet fought for Britain. Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister’s response to this moral outrage was “what am I supposed to do? Let them all in?”.

The legacy of colonialism is not dead, and both the Gurkhas and the Chagos Islanders cases are illustrative of the high handed way in which central government can pretend the “other” has no rights.

Joanna Lumley, leading the campaign, stated today that,

“We want the policy changed as swiftly as possible. What is not widely known is that there are Gurkhas living here who’ve made applications, who are not allowed to work, not allowed to have social security or to go to the NHS, who are living in fact in limbo, and in great hardship and poverty, and sometimes in great illness. ”

The Government’s defeat is not only humiliating for them, but should haunt them politically. They have been deprived, yet again, of the moral high ground and until this move with speed to correct this shameful policy, their duplicity should be their undoing.

April 29th 2009

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