PM's toughened migration policy cannot fill ‘gaping pit of racist hate’ says James O’Brien

14 December 2022, 14:23 | Updated: 14 December 2022, 16:23

James O'Brien reflects on the migrant boat tragedy in the Channel



“Deep, deep down these policies are built upon genuine hatred of foreigners,” says James O’Brien, after Rishi Sunak announced a five-point plan to speed up asylum processing.

James O'Brien’s comments come after the Prime Minister announced a five-point plan yesterday to clear the asylum backlog within a year, with a specific mention of “swiftly” returning Albanian migrants back to Albania as it is “a safe, prosperous European country”.

About four percent of asylum claims were processed last year.

James said that Rishi Sunak “knows what he’s selling” and that he is “in pursuit of the cheapest votes in the country - the sort of votes Nigel Farage used to hoover up before lunch”.

“Would you believe that when he actually turned his head in [Chi Onwurah’s] direction, he closed his eyes!” James told his listeners in disbelief.

Labour MP Chi Onwurah asked Rishi Sunak yesterday if he thought she and her family should have been “obliged to remain” in Lisbon where it was “safe”, after fleeing the Biafra War, or if they were right to travel to Newcastle where her grandmother was.

James O’Brien said he “utterly failed to answer her question” and “couldn’t bring himself to look at her”.

“You know what we say on the programme don’t we, sometimes, about holding up mirrors and my angriest callers are the ones who most hate what they see in it”, he added.

“He closed his eyes when he turned to an elected Labour politician whose family sought refuge in Newcastle, despite ticking all the boxes of the quasi-racist rhetoric that Rishi Sunak has signed up to with his full chest”, he continued.

James described the focus on Albanian migrants as “very deliberate and quite disgusting” before calling out the “ghoulish politicians, racist demagogues and right-wing newspapers”.

“We’ve got a disgusting system that this morning killed people, but it’s not disgusting enough for the current government. We’ve got a lethal system in place but it’s too lenient for Rishi Sunak”, he swiped.

Caller accuses migrants of wanting to come to the UK to claim benefits

James pointed out that these migrants are “in pursuit of 20 percent of the life we take for granted” and that families must be “terrified” by the news of the boat capsizing today, wondering if they are their loved ones.

READ MORE: Four dead and '43 saved' in migrant rescue operation after boat with ‘up to 50’ on board capsizes in freezing Channel

“What does success look like for Rishi Sunak?” he asked. “The idea that this gaping pit of racist hate could ever be filled with policy is as gross as it is pathetic.”

“Support for these sorts of policies is driven by the worst of us”, James continued.

“Deep, deep down these policies are built upon genuine hatred of foreigners, the most irrational and dishonest impulse that humankind is capable of mustering”, he said, pensively processing the latest developments in the national conversation on migration.

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