Why is Wales so silent on the Windrush scandal?

Protestors from Global Justice Now demonstrate outside the Home Office in London demanding an end to the Hostile Environment policy. Photo: David Mirzoeff/Global Justice Now (CC BY 2.0)

Leena Sarah Farhat, Diversity officer for the Welsh Liberal Democrats

You may have heard the word mentioned. Windrush, the generation, the scandal and the ongoing pain to a group of people who came to the UK with the best of intentions.

Between 1948 and 1970, nearly half a million people moved from the Caribbean to Britain, which in 1948 faced severe labour shortages in the wake of the Second World War. These immigrants were later referred to as ‘the Windrush generation’.

Despite their British citizenship, it became apparent that in 2018 many had been wrongly detained, denied their legal rights, denied benefits and medical care, and deported.

So, what is the latest on this government-created, institutionally racist scandal? On Monday, a Home Office flight deporting convicted offenders to Jamaica left the UK. Some had grown up in the UK and it was the only home they had ever known.

The British government tried to offload its own criminals onto another nation. How very colonial!

The deportations happened despite a last-minute legal challenge and court ruling. Lawyers had argued that mobile phone signal problems meant some of the detainees could not get legal advice.

Downing Street said 17 people were deported, but 25 others had been stopped because of the court order.

Campaigners have argued that all deportation flights of this nature should be suspended until a report on the Windrush scandal has been published.

The Liberal Democrats have also campaigned to scrap that clause in the Data Protection Bill that means that if another Windrush scandal happened, the Home Office could cover it up.

We believe that responsibility for processing applications for citizenship for Windrush generation people or any victims of British imperialism of that generation should be moved out of the Home Office altogether, into a dedicated, non-political unit. Applicants should be treated humanely and be given the support they need to prove their right to citizenship.

 

Forgotten

What has been very concerning has been the lack of Welsh voices speaking up to condemn what is happening.

Over this past summer, I was lucky enough to hear from some of the Windrush generation who settled in Llanelli and in Newport respectively. I recall walking out of the event to some amazing traditional Caribbean music and dancing, but I cried.

I remembered the way that my own family talk about British imperialism and the impact that it had and continues to have on my family today. Even today, generations later, we have not fully decolonized our mindset.

Those from the Windrush generation feel that they have given the best years of our lives to the UK/Wales who have then gone on to deny their official existence.

They told me that they are one of the many communities that devolution forgot. Despite being just a hundred feet or so from some of the most diverse communities in Wales, the Senedd has remained largely deaf to their concerns. We have built our political voice in Cardiff Bay but they remain voiceless.

I have yet to hear a voice in Wales talk about this so I will, and that is the Welsh Liberal Democrat way – to build a brighter future and create an open and tolerant Wales.

I urge other parties in Wales at all relevant levels of government to do the same.

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Ernie The SmallholderRhosdduC.MaxwellSimon GruffyddSian Caiach Recent comment authors
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Minydon
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Minydon

Because the fact is most of the windrush generation don’t live in Wales! Would you like to import some? so we could meet the diversity criteria!

Richard
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Richard

What about those who DO live in Wales? Don’t they matter?

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Course they do. I hope they are safely integrated into our communities. If not and they become threatened kick up a fuss but don’t count on a duplicitous Unionist party to back the case.

Jonesy
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Jonesy

Of course this matters to me and others as it is a disgrace, but deportation and home office affairs are not devolved . Does she know that. Maybe like a lot of Welsh people she is confused about devolution and who does what, quite common for the main Westminster parties

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

Perhaps it is time for the Liberal democrats in Wales to realise that the UK cannot be reformed while it is in this regime.
It is better to become individual independent nations again: Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England as equals.
We can share our common heritage which is as Europeans as European citizens – lets reform the EU.
There is no such thing as a separate British identity – we are Europeans!
When Wales becomes an independent nation and takes its seat in the UN and the EU we will have a better relationship and understanding with other countries.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

You are a cad ! Fancy trying to create a demand where one doesn’t exist ! LibDems doing their best to stir something up otherwise we might forget them. Ms Farhat would be better off joining a party with a touch more sincerity than LibDems. After all they are renowned for flexibility of principles.

Robin Lynn
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Robin Lynn

Any suggestions Mr Davies?

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Take a look around you. You might see something worth joining although joining a party might not necessarily meet all your preferences. Be careful in Wales as you might easily fall foul of the thought police.

Carole Kinsey
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Carole Kinsey

This is a diversion. The fact is, there is a great injustice happening & we need to stand against it,, even if only one person. It’s counterproductive attacking the Lib Dem’s. We need to protest st yet another injustice and double dealing this government is doing on a daily basis it seems.

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

Why is Cymru so silent about this group of people? Probably because most Cymry do not see it as an issue that concerns them, although, bearing in mind Wales’s colonial status, some in this country might possibly put their own struggle for cultural and economic survival aside for a minute in order to empathise with the Windrush people’s predicament. It is unlikely, though, that Welsh people would take to the streets over this issue, if they are faced with day-to-day problems of their own. London might be a better bet for the Lib Dems over this one.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

This mantra of “severe shortage of workers”! My Dad was lucky to get a job as a bus driver after WW2.
Before his long service in the army, he was training to be a valuer. It was really hard to get jobs right up
to the sixties, and even during the sixties I had to get my head in my books to get something in the end.

Sian Caiach
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I am surprised that Leena met any significant numbers of West Indians of the “Windrush ” generation in Llanelli. I Know one lady who is of West Indian heritage who was adopted as a baby by a local couple. We both had sons of a similar age in a local secondary school. I also have a friend ,originally from Trinidad, who married a local man who returned to retire in Llanelli. There appear to be few other West Indians locally. My sister in law is of Jamaican descent, She , my brother and my niece live in London and and… Read more »

Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

Having sailed to and lived in the Caribbean on a number of occasions I can confirm that life there is a virtual paradise compared to life in Britain. Former Monty Python star John Cleese, fed up with the downward trajectory of life in Britain has pulled up sticks and moved there permanently. I wouldn’t shed too many tears for anyone sent there to live – complete with a complimentary plane fare paid by us taxpayers. It anything, I would feel a little envy.

C.Maxwell
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C.Maxwell

Be real, there’s no social help in Jamaica. Those deportees can’t live on Sunshine

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

Disgraceful. But what can Wales do about it?