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.

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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 AvatarJenny Barnes 20th Oct - 6:47pm
    For me the point of conference is that one can speak on the motions and amendments, if selected, and a good representation do get selected,...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 20th Oct - 6:41pm
    I am very sad that Linda has not been able to continue as a candidate. Very sad indeed. But puhlease don't blame the rules. Ask...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 20th Oct - 6:37pm
    There's another poll today, published by Lord Ashcroft, which puts Lib Dems in 5th place: Con 28%, Lab 31%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 18%, Green...
  • User AvatarMartin Gentles 20th Oct - 6:31pm
    Abolition of the monarchy is exactly the sort of thing we should, as Liberals, should support. And it is exactly the sort of thing that...
  • User AvatarConor McGovern 20th Oct - 6:21pm
    Sounds great, at the very least in theory.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Oct - 6:21pm
    I very much like the sentiment of the article, but as a former tax adviser I don't agree with some of the details. I didn't...