Author Archives: James Harper

Opinion: Assisted dying

LilyThe Assisted Dying Bill returns to the House of Lords this week following high-profile interventions by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby , and his predecessor-but-one, George Carey.

While the bill may receive a second reading in the Lords, it stands little chance of progressing in the Commons. This is because key MPs, including David Cameron and Nick Clegg, are firmly against it. I respect the sincerity of Cameron and Clegg’s concerns, but I also believe their stated views show that they have not approached the issue in the right way. It is vital that any debate in the commons is open and honest, and not skewed by prejudice or emotion. MPs could do worse than begin the debate by considering the views of the two archbishops, which actually advanced the quality of the public discourse quite significantly.

photo by:
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 17 Comments

Opinion: Thinking about “foreign criminals”

Watching the recent episode of ‘Dispatches’ on Channel 4 entitled ‘Inside Immigration’, got me thinking a bit about attitudes towards ‘foreign criminals’ in the UK. The idea of the programme was that undercover reporters worked as temps in the UK Border Agency’s processing offices and gave the inside story on the chaos and disorganisation there.

Halfway through, during a ‘pause for thought’ about the real consequences of maladministration, the narrator piped up: ‘Gabriella’s story as a shocking example of what the human cost can be when things go wrong’ at the UKBA’. But the story was somehow not what I was expecting- …

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Opinion: We must prevent another immigration “legacy”

Is there an amnesty for illegal immigrants? Keith Vaz seems determined to prove that there is, although so far without success. But the reality behind the bluster is rather more serious.

In 2007 the Home Office ‘found’ (or so the apocryphal tale goes) 500,000 asylum cases which had not been dealt with, ‘lying around’ in a room in the depths of Lunar House, Croydon.  This backlog was termed the ‘legacy’ of unresolved asylum cases.

A new department was set up and given the grisly task of looking at and resolving these cases, some of which had been untouched for over 10 years. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Immigration service must do more to protect human dignity

The UK Border Agency’s recent decision to hire G4S and Serco to deliver the housing scheme for asylum seekers is not only a bad one in its own right. It is symptomatic of the deep inadequacy of an organisation that exists purely to deal with people, but which lacks the same standards and people-focused ethos we expect of other organisations responsible for looking after human beings.

Last week we discovered that asylum seekers in the Midlands have had their doors painted red by the company responsible for housing and accommodating them, G4S. G4S did not think this would be a problem. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarsimon 2nd Sep - 9:49pm
    I see that a former British soldier David Haines will be the next western hostage beheaded by IS, Presumably by his fellow "Briton" from the...
  • User AvatarPaul K 2nd Sep - 9:13pm
    As well as protecting the environment and tackling climate change, we should be defending localism. If Southampton residents want to expand their local airport that's...
  • User AvatarTim13 2nd Sep - 9:11pm
    The point is, no country has ever joined the EU having previously been part of another member state, So that assertion of Alexander's is meaningless....
  • User AvatarMartin 2nd Sep - 8:48pm
    Oh dear Danny! I thought you had begun to switch to a more positive mode. Statements like this read as an act of political hari...
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 2nd Sep - 8:42pm
    I am told that pegging one currency to another, while avoiding a black market situation, requires a central bank to buy and sell foreign currency...
  • User AvatarHelen Dudden 2nd Sep - 8:40pm
    At A fairly recent meeting on law, I spoke about the problems of children and international law. Not one of your MP's are in the...