Every so often, one reads something that not only makes one viscerally angry, but also demonstrates why no decent progressive could contemplate voting for New Labour. Today’s Independent reports that Jacqui Smith has justified returning gay asylum seekers to Iran on the grounds that they will be safe if they adopt a discreet lifestyle.
It is a view that beggars belief. Gay people are routinely executed in Iran – up to 4000, according to human rights groups, although the Government claims it is fewer.
What is disgraceful here is not just how it confirms the sheer inhumanity at the heart of the British immigration and asylum system, led by Ministers whose sole aim seems to be to pander to tabloid prejudice; it’s the sheer abject stupidity of what Smith is saying. It’s the implication that by daring to be open about their sexuality, gay people in Iran are bringing this on themselves. It’s at heart no different from the argument that women who wear revealing clothing are asking to be raped – is this what Smith believes? Is this New Labour’s position on sexual equality – cover up or you deserve what you get?
I cannot think of a more graphic illustration of the sheer moral squalor at the heart of New Labour. I assume that these people believed in something once – but now there’s just a vacuum. No humanity, no self-respect, no decency.