Friday, 7 March 2008

the white cliffs . . .

The local paper reports that several restaurants in this town, mainly Indian, were raided by police looking for illegal immigrants in the last few days. Those discovered will be deported though first they will probably have to spend time in the big detention centre on the Western Heights at Dover. I feel pretty ambivalent about this. Possibly these people were underpaid and exploited but aren't there other ways the system can deal with this? Of course the whole Iraq debacle has propelled governments like Britain's into more and more draconian emphases on 'homeland security'. They haven't been as bad perhaps as the former Australian government under John Howard which actually invented scenarios ('children thrown overboard') to fool and scare the general public into supporting their often racist policies. But Britain does seem to have a lot of trouble with the concept of multiculturalism and, as a result, veers more and more to a notion of 'assimilation' that should give grave misgivings to anyone with any knowledge of what this term meant to Australian Aborigines for much of the last century.

The detention centre at Dover uses a former prison and not-so-new maps still mark it as such. The site is spectacular. I wonder if the inhabitants have windows they can see out of. If they did they would, on clear days, make out the French coast.

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