The appearance of David and Theresa at a flat in Slough, and the war in Gaza and debate over both events show that our world desperately needs some consistency. It is one of the reason why those of us who do get to vote for our leaders feel let down. We can apply our own personal ideas with huge inconsistencies, but demand a much higher standard from those that wield the power and budget of our national governments and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The problem with Sloughgate for me is not merely that Mr Cameron and Mrs May should have been hard at work at their desks, rather than grandstanding in the home of people who might be innocent of any crime. Nor that these Politicians were at risk of interfering in the operational role of the UK Borders Agency and their agents. It was not even that having used this raid looking for illegal immigrants that they made a statement about legal migrants being denied benefits with the promise of savings that Number 10 then had to admit was a lie. The real problem for me is that there is no intellectual integrity in the fundamentals of our national policy on immigration. When it comes to discussing economics we know that all Governments believe in a market that is almost entirely unfettered and an open market is close to the ideal, the limits to market freedoms are debated with great care and precision, even in the light of clear market abuses. Yet when it comes to the economics of work and immigration the levels of market intervention are debated with a presumption that a closed market is close to the ideal and the lack of care and precision is clear. The impact of this for me relates to my family roots. I was born in Liverpool, one of the cities that Michael Heseltine cites as being the 19th Century powerhouse of the UK. Yet it was a city that built its wealth on the Slave Trade and then on Industrial development powered by mostly Irish immigration. Creating a strong and powerful city historically has depended in part on the way in which people who have little are put to work to create wealth for others. Arguably there is a link between immigration into London and the ‘success’ of its economy. It is vital that our debates on the economy delve a bit deeper than theorising on the political engineering of Council structures and that those on immigration are examined in a location other than the raided flat of a family in Slough with statements redolent with false statements.
The appalling news today from Gaza that the US Government is to supply Israel with ammunition to ensure that they are able to carry on with their offensive actions in the area is surely too terrible to contemplate. There is a presumption that all nations and indeed all men are entitled to defend themselves. However one is lost in trying to understand any of the present actions in Gaza as being explained as Israel defending itself. Some of my Jewish friends, horrified by the actions of the Government in Israel, nevertheless find the focus on Israel inconsistent when there is so little focus on other Governments across parts of the world that are carrying out far worse actions against people within sight of their borders. They are right to cry foul, although in my view wrong to suggest this is anti-Semitism. The truth is that if the US acted in a manner similar to Russia, we would see far bigger headlines. The inequalities of our media and even some of our politicians in what is treated as an outrage and what is explained away as what happens in that land all the time is something that does need much greater scrutiny. A death is a death irrespective of the colour of the skin or the nationality of either the murderer or the murdered.
The failure of the Gazan experiment needs to be debated by the Israeli Government before they fire any more of their ammunition. They created a closed environment which in theory would prevent Hamas and the people currently living on the land from being able to create weapons. The failure of this approach led to the creation of the iron dome. The actions of people in this land in building tunnels is hardly a surprise. However using airstrikes, tanks and artillery along with thousands of troops to overrun the land, in the pretence of closing down the tunnels from the Gazan side is simply not credible. No one would object to Israel owning technology that could detect tunnels under their own land and using proportionate force to destroy them. Just as the British people need a Government willing to be honest about the value of of living side by side with those from other nations if we are to enjoy the economic benefits that these same Politicians are promising from policies such as City Regions. Equally the men and women living in Israel (Jewish, Muslim, Christian and those of no faith) need a Government that does not simply trump one intervention by Hamas with a bigger trump themselves. The people of the land now known as Israel, Gaza and the West Bank need to live alongside one another. Any peace in that land will require at least as much of an investment as the cost of the ammunition currently on its way from the USA. However there is no alternative. Any further bloodshed by either side will simply delay peace for all of those residents.