Vince Cable: UK needs to take lead on Afghan refugee crisis

Writing in the Independent, former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable talks of harrowing scenes at Kabul airport and asks if Britain is planning to take enough Afghan refugees and whether the Home Office is thinking of treating them with a generous spirit. Some Afghans working for our government will be told they do not have a strong enough connection with Britain, even though the documents showing that connection could qualify them for execution by the Taliban. Are we an overcrowded island? Or will we benefit from people who bring skills, entrepreneurial energy, cultural diversity and a supply of labour to regenerate an ageing country? Or should we simply accept refugees out of compassion?

In the Independent, Vince Cable says:

The harrowing scenes at Kabul airport, as desperate refugees try to reach planes bound for western countries, are provoking a moral and practical crisis: for whom are we responsible? Specifically, is Britain – with its offer to take 5,000 people this year and eventually 20,000 – doing enough?

The mindset of the Home Office officials who will process [Afghan] claims to asylum should they get here is seemingly not generous, nor are the policies to which they work. And they will not be approved as refugees to be provided safe passage here if they are among the hundreds or thousands of Afghans whose connection with the UK is deemed too slight… even though the connection may qualify them for a Taliban execution…

Indeed, Afghans now have the awful dilemma of whether to keep their official papers to convince British bureaucrats of their identity or to destroy them to avoid betraying their foreign links to the Taliban….

At every crisis over asylum and migration there has been a schism between those who believe that Britain is an “overcrowded island” which is “full” and can’t afford the cost of newcomers, and those who see merit in admitting people who bring skills, entrepreneurial energy, cultural diversity and a supply of labour to regenerate an ageing country – or simply merit compassion…

While the Home Office will be doing everything it can to keep the numbers down, there is a chance for Boris Johnson to confound expectations by blocking its institutional hostility from the off.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.

One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Aug '21 - 1:16pm

    This is only valid as a debate. You cannot say this is as it is and have not one moment of debate.

    We do not have a supply of doctors, nurses, admin, teachers, social workers, like other countries.

    Sir Vince shrunk the state in coalition.

    Most states combine far more social market input on eg. healthcare. Hence supply and demand are far more fluid. We fail. Pre covid, already this was so. Now, far more so.

    Sir Vince should own up to his, New Labour in later years, and the Tories, failure to do much about that ratio.

    Then he can lecture on whether a busy community are allowed to be concerned with longer waiting in pain.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • John Waller
    Thank you, William. Tom Arms offered us Warfare or Welfare. Hopefully our larger body of MPs will push the new government hard to analyse the causes of th...
  • Jenny Barnes
    Godalming & Ash :)) and my little legs are all worn down from delivering hundreds of leaflets. The local Town Fair had a lib dem event for children : H...
  • Mick Taylor
    @PeterMartin. Uncritical support of the EU??? Not at all. Liberals all over the EU are very critical of the EU and want to make a lot of changes. I'm sure they'...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Peter Martin: No-one was saying that at all, except maybe @Adam who is relying on BtL comments on news articles which cannot be taken as representative of anyt...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Chris, Adam and David, So can we all agree (except perhaps Alex ) that being in favour of the EU does require uncritical support? This is a big problem...