Windrush scandal: James O'Brien challenges public to put themselves in shoes of victims

22 June 2020, 13:05

By Seán Hickey

On the anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, James O'Brien appealed to the public to support victims of the scandal.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May issued an apology two years ago to victims of the Windrush scandal, who were told that they were illegally settled in the UK.

James O'Brien was pointing out that there has been little coverage of the event on the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush and called on listeners to put themselves in the shoes of victims.

"Just imagine it was you, wherever you're from whatever your star sign is, whatever the colour of your skin may be wherever your parents were born, you had every right to be here and you wake up one morning to find out that the authorities didn't think you did and they were gonna do everything they could to get you out.

"This is where I struggle at the moment with the absence of empathy in British discourse at the moment, surely everybody should have been outraged, same with Grenfell Tower.

"Imagine if you'd burnt to death in you home and they were very very important questions that needed to be answered by authorities and people in your home had been warning for years that a catastrophe was on the horizon.

The Empire Windrush arrived in the UK 72 years ago carrying hundreds from Jamaica
The Empire Windrush arrived in the UK 72 years ago carrying hundreds from Jamaica. Picture: PA

"Surely the human reaction would be identical, you'd just imagine if it had happened to you and respond accordingly but no, this is the big gap in my understanding of humanity, it just doesn't work like that."

James told listeners that 1,275 claims for compensation were made and to date, only 60 people received compensation. He reminded listeners that victims of the Windrush scandal were unable to work after being contacted by the authorities.

He called for a unified response to the scandal but stated that "you can't get that when you're still treating a section of the country as second class and denying that it happened."

"How after two years, two years after an apology can so few of the people whose lives were torn to pieces, how can they still be waiting for proper recognition and recompense from this government?"

An apology to victims of the Windrush scandal was issued two years ago
An apology to victims of the Windrush scandal was issued two years ago. Picture: PA

"Ask yourself how you'd feel if it was you" James concluded adding that is putting himself in the situation of the victims.

"If you're struggling to see why I find this story so troubling is because I find it very very easy to imagine what it must feel like and I just think it's unforgivable and disgusting."

James O'Brien speaks to tearful widow who can only afford to eat one meal per day

James O'Brien speaks to tearful widow who can only afford to eat one meal per day

James O'Brien reveals all the ways he can see out of post-Brexit NI Protocol deadlock

James O'Brien reveals all the ways he can see out of post-Brexit NI Protocol deadlock

Right-wing conditioning Britons to be 'ashamed of being poor' says James O'Brien

Right-wing conditioning Britons to be 'ashamed of being poor', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien tears into Dominic Raab over Northern Ireland Protocol

James O'Brien tears into Dominic Raab's words on Northern Ireland Protocol

James O'Brien's instant reaction to Local Election results

James O'Brien's instant reaction to Local Election results

Anti-corruption campaigner reacts to EU ban on 'Western enablers' of Vladimir Putin

Anti-corruption campaigner reacts to EU ban on 'Western enablers' of Vladimir Putin

James O'Brien asks whether the 'Homes for Ukraine' refugee scheme was 'designed to fail'

James O'Brien asks whether the 'Homes for Ukraine' refugee scheme was 'designed to fail'

Black caller says it's 'very, very rare' black children get chance to 'just be a child'

Black caller says it's 'very, very rare' black children get chance to 'just be a child'

This former Parliament worker details the frequent sexual harassment she experienced there which has led to her to "discourage any woman from going in there".

'I cried almost everyday': Former Parliament worker details shocking sexual harassment

Caller tells James O'Brien Brexit forced him to leave France

'It's been horrendous': Caller tells James O'Brien Brexit forced him to leave France

James O'Brien claims 'even French fascists' think leaving EU would be 'stupid

James O'Brien says 'even French fascists' think leaving EU is 'stupid' after Brexit

James O'Brien's powerful analogy on PM's partygate rule-breaking

James O'Brien's powerful analogy on PM's partygate rule-breaking

James O'Brien's theory of why Tories don't want inquiry into PM lying

James O'Brien's theory of why Tories don't want inquiry into PM lying

James O'Brien's list of scandals Boris Johnson has been in since becoming PM

James O'Brien's list of scandals Boris Johnson has been in since becoming PM

Civil Servant blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg

Civil Servant blasts Jacob Rees-Mogg over 'horrific' return to office plan

James O'Brien caller describes "horrible limbo" as she awaits Homes for Ukraine outcome

James O'Brien caller describes 'horrible limbo' as she awaits Homes for Ukraine outcome