29 April 2009

Gurkhas - how many times can the govt shoot itself in the foot?

An embarrassing defeat for the government today over its plans to restrict the right of the majority of former Gurkhas to settle in the UK. The Lib Dems and Tories joined forces with rebel Labour MPs to back a Lib Dem amendment.

How did anyone in the government think that it was a good idea to try and pull a hard line on this? I have yet to find one person, of any political persuasion, who thinks that stopping the Gurkhas coming here is in any way fair. It seems pretty obvious to me that if you have served in the British armed forces then you should have the right to permanent residency in the UK. The government says it would cost £1.4 billion - fine, let's just put up taxes to raise the money. Could anybody seriously object? 

And well done to all Labour MPs who voted against the government on this - a full list here.

This makes an already unpopular government look ridiculous. And it's a huge PR coup for Dave Cameron and Nick Clegg. 

Government ministers need to try doing something popular for a change.


Tiddlemouse said...

Got to agree with you, it's a shame the government couldn't do the right thing the first time round instead of being bludgeoned into it.

Van Patten said...

Unusually good comment from you. I don't know of anyone who would opposed and from a government which has sprayed money on an incalculable number of crackpot schemes, the fiscal argument against restricting their entry is beyond fatuous.

Tt should be pointed out also that the Gurkhas are usually loyal to the Crown, innately conservative (indeed if they can be described as political at all) and feared both by the KPA and PLA (The likely fallback forces if, as expected the European Defence force turns out to be a paper army). A definite threat to the government, which is perhaps why they would have to be denied entry.