It has been a terrible week for some victims of the Windrush scandal and those of us who support their ongoing fight for respect, justice and compensation.
First, we had written confirmation from current Home Secretary Sajid Javid that at least 11 people -wrongfully deported from the UK – had passed away.
[Page 9 of Javid’s report to the Home Affairs Select Committee did also confirm that the Windrush related deportations started in 2002. When the Labour Party was in power.]
We also learnt how some Windrush scandal victims were having difficulty completing the compensation consultation scheme 63-page booklet. A booklet definitely designed to put off folks from completing correctly. An old government trick when it comes to them having to pay out.
Euten Lindsay told the Guardian of the booklet “It wasn’t easy. It took me quite a while just to fill it in and I think I did the best I could. The wording that was used, they didn’t make it simple or easy for people,”
Winston Jones described completing the booklet as a “psychedelic experience”
To cap off a bad week for Windrush scandal victims, Amber Rudd – who resigned months earlier as Home Secretary over the scandal – had returned to Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary.
I was disappointed at how quickly many of us -who said they were championing the Windrush cause – fell silent and did not keep up the squeeze on the government. Just when the Afro-Caribbean community had the government on the ropes, once again, we let them off the hook. Thus the pressure for the government to act quickly AND respectfully to address the Windrush victims’ concerns eased.
That was why I felt we were moving too fast to dish out praise and gongs to Caribbean and UK political figures for their efforts in supporting the Windrush victims’ cause.
October was black history month in the UK and all of a sudden there were a raft of events to “celebrate” the Windrush arrivals and its impact on UK society. Windrush became the theme of the month. There were tv and radio documentaries, exhibitions, concerts, speeches, plays, publications, talks etc.
Even Theresa May made some PC-friendly statement on the subject of black history month where the Windrush generation got an apologetic mention.
So Rudd resigned in April this year and walked away to leave her replacement – Sajid Javid – to clear up her mess. Yes, a subsequent report predictably cleared Rudd of any wrong doing. But such reports never criticise former favoured Ministers of a sitting PM. The report was just a whitewash orchestrated to clear Rudd’s return to May’s cabinet.
With BREXIT proving such a nightmare for Theresa May, she was desperate for Rudd to return the cabinet. As Rudd has long been May’s get-out-of-jail card whenever there is toxic discontent – over BREXIT – amongst senior Conservative ranks.
So in essence the biggest “winner” of this Windrush scandal is indeed Amber Rudd.
Certainly not Sarah O’Connor, whose harassment by the Home Office happened under Rudd’s watch. Sarah O’Connor lost her job and had her dignity ripped apart. Sarah O’Connor (below) died in September.
To see Rudd so swiftly compensated with a cabinet appointment is just insulting. I hope the opposition MPs make their feelings clear to Rudd and May over the next few days when they return to the front benches in parliament. The optics from a Afro-Caribbean community stand point is truly awful.
Just further proof of the heartless and inimical attitude that the Prime Minister has towards the UK’s Afro-Caribbean community.
Home Secretary update to the Select Committee