Left-wing critics of Suella Braverman’s have spent the last day or so hammering the Home Secretary for her hardline speech in Washington DC, in which she blasted “absurd” asylum treaties, including the UN 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, for creating “huge incentives for illegal migration”, and demanded reforms.
The easily outraged brigade has also been quick to slam Ms Braverman for her comments that national migration systems will be overwhelmed if “being gay or a woman and fearful of discrimination” is “sufficient to qualify for protection”.
With their vitriol, they appear to have fallen into the trap of believing that the Home Secretary’s speech is part of a new Tory push to divide the country and pursue a so-called “culture war” agenda – and failed to spot she has, in fact, merely revived the same talking points raised by previously lauded “progressive” centrist governments, including Sir Tony Blair’s and David Cameron’s.
In 2000, three years into Sir Tony Blair’s Government, Labour’s Home Secretary Jack Straw similarly pressed for a “complete revision” of the Geneva Convention on refugees, in order to introduce a “two-tier system to cut the flow of asylum seekers” being smuggled to Britain.
Mr Straw wanted to agree on an internationally recognised list of “safe countries”, from which Britain and other EU countries would not generally consider asylum applications.
Reports at the time said the Labour Home Secretary wanted to “spark a Europe-wide debate about placing the Geneva convention on a ‘more rational basis’”.
Nine years later, Labour immigration minister Phil Woolas reignited the same debate, which now attracts such hatred when raised by Ms Braverman.
Mr Woolas said: “The Geneva Convention was intended to protect individual people from persecution.
“A significant number of people who claim asylum are doing so for broadly economic reasons.
“So I think it is right we look at the framework, as indeed other European countries are doing.”
Suella Braverman’s comments about multiculturalism have also come under fire, with News Agents podcast host Jon Sopel tweeting: “‘Multiculturalism has failed’ says Suella Braverman who is from Kenyan and Mauritian background and married to a Jew, serving as Home Secretary in a govt led by someone whose family came from India”.
He pondered: “[I] Wonder what multicultural success looks like…”
However Tory candidate and former Theresa May adviser Nick Timothy has pointed out that both David Cameron and race adviser-turned-broadcaster Trevor Phillips have both said similar things.
In 2011, David Cameron said “state multiculturalism” has failed in the UK and pledged to cut funding for Muslim groups that failed to respect British values.
As Britain’s Chairman of the Commission on Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips told the Times in 2004 that the Government should stop supporting multiculturalism, as it’s now out of date and encouraged “separateness” between communities.
Ms Braverman’s views used to be the mainstream. It is the liberal left who have chosen to completely abandon the centre ground, to the point that Tories repeating their own arguments from 20 years ago now appear outrageously foreign and offensive.
No wonder they can’t understand why the public buys what Suella’s selling.