Monday, 30 July 2012

Asylum Seeker needs your help

Please help by emailing Theresa May mayt@parliament.uk to stop the deportation of Lofinda Dahlia Kitolo to Congo (home office reference number K1281657, port ref number ASC/2332697, DOB 6/9/84) tomorrow.

 She has been a victim of torture for opposing the Congolese government, and is pregnant and suffering from significant mental health problems, she believes her life would be at risk if she returned to Congo. 
The Congolese ambassador gave evidence to a parliamentary committee, saying some Congolese returned from the UK would be punished on return to Congo. On 5/7/2012 a high court order was made stopping a planned removal to Congo due to the high risk the returnees would face. The judge called on UKBA to investigate the Congolese ambassador's comments, and hopefully this order can be used to stop Lofinda's removal. UK Border Agency officials are currently investigating claims of torture in Congo. 
Please please help if you can by sending a few lines to Theresa May, it will take less than 5 minutes and every letter she receives is documented.
 Here is a letter I wrote earlier which you can copy and paste into an email to Theresa May: 
Dear Theresa May,

I am writing to you about the case of Lofinda Dahlia Kitolo a Congolese asylum seeker who has been detained in Yarl Wood Immigration Removal Detention Centre. She has removal directions on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 to Congo at 8pm on Tuesday, July 31st. Her Home Office ref no is K1281657, her port ref no is ASC/2332697 and her date of birth is 6/9/84.

I am protesting against the removal of Lofinda Dahlia Kitolo. She claimed asylum in the UK in 2008 after experiencing imprisonment and torture in the Congo. She was active in an opposition movement. If she returns to the Congo she is at risk of being targeted by the authorities. She is fearful that her life is in danger.

Lofinda Dahlia Kitolo is vulnerable as she has survived torture, suffers mental health problems and is also pregnant. The Home Secretary must do what is right and stop this planned removal.

I sincerely hope that Ms Lofinda Dahlia Kitolo is not removed.

Yours sincerely,
3 minutes ago ·
 

An absence of morality

When a crisis rips through an economic system, questioning whether that system is fair becomes more frequent and urgent.  The sight of tents pitched by a Cathedral that had once been the towering symbol of London, but now dwarfed by the temples of the City, seemed to evoke, in one curious image, the changing and uncertain nature of our times.

The Occupy movement’s diagnosis that there is something wrong with stratospheric wealth for a tiny minority seemed to be correct and yet their solutions were a mixture of the incoherent and the economically dangerous. From the usual left wing suspects, to Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph, there have been wide ranging proclamations of the indecency of our economic order. But still we are in the same situation. We know there is something wrong. But where do we go from here?

The problem, I believe, is rooted in the way that, in recent years, economics has had only a rather fragile connection with moral questions and, up until the crisis, bereft of large-scale public debate. Think of the most popular and controversial intellectuals of recent years. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are probably two of the most discussed and debated thinkers of recent times. Are there two writers who have focused on the morality of capitalism who have been as popular and read as Dawkins and Hitchens? It is ironic that the debate over whether religion is an opiate of the masses, in a way became an opiate of the masses.

In recent years, issues over the fairness of gaping inequality and the way our economy is run have not been raised. We have been taught to believe that the hideously rich are good for us or we have been taught to see everything simplistically and unquestioningly. Economics has either been interpreted using mind numbing banalities like ‘tax is theft’ or is presented using a mass of incomprehensible statistics.

This absence of morality has strayed into our evaluation of personal economic choices. When George Osborne lowered the high income tax rate from 50% to 45%, an astonishing argument was put forward. Apparently the current tax rate was leading people to avoid tax and so it had to be lowered. Put aside your other views on the tax for the moment and consider simply this argument. Does it not reek of a worldview that is sorely lacking in moral content? People were not paying what it is their duty to pay and yet the Chancellor’s answer is to benefit those who are doing wrong.

This absence of morality in economics and money has long led to a morality that has gorged itself on other areas. Social issues are enormously important, but it is inaccurate to portray morality as only relevant to debating abortion and homosexuality, divorce and sex.

It was ironic that the Occupy movements were pitched by a Church. That a protest against the way our economy has been run was positioned by the most striking emblem of this obsession with social issues seems to be a metaphor for a society that must recognise that it is also economics and morality that go hand in hand.

This was written for Shifting Grounds and can be found here

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Asylum Seekers

I have written a piece on the Labour party and asylum seekers for the blog Shifting Grounds.

Here's the link.

I hope you find it interesting.