The Times – Britain’s breach of honour over Iraq interpreters: More than half the Iraqi interpreters who applied to come to live in Britain have had their applications rejected, drawing accusations that the Government is “wriggling out” of its promise to help former Iraqi employees. The Times has learnt that 125 of the 200 interpreters who took up the offer to resettle in Britain have failed to meet the strict criteria laid down for eligibility… In three cases seen by The Times, former Iraqi employees were told that they were ineligible because of “absenteeism”. The 200 interpreters are among a total of 600 Iraqis who have applied to come to Britain, all people who have worked for the British and who today face intimidation from Iranian-backed Shia groups.
PA – Iraq interpreters ‘can get help’: A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that a total of 400 applications had been received but would not confirm how many had been turned down. She said: “Although we cannot discuss individual cases, we have a very clear policy that staff who terminated employment as a result of intimidation are eligible for assistance. We fully recognise the difficulties of such staff and do not insist on official or formal notification or on staff working out their notice period. Individuals who are recorded as having let us know by telephone or any other manner are still considered eligible. Decisions are taken based on records taken at the time but where individuals who feel they have further evidence to support their case for assistance they should notify us immediately.”
1. Note how mindful the government has been in not calling them cowards. See? They *do* care.
2. Remember that the charge of absenteeism is made against those claiming to have done 12 months service, when the typical service period was 6 months. So we have a clear pattern of whittling down as well as wriggling out.
3. Is it 400 or 600 who have applied? Or are we looking at more whittling here?
4. The Danes evacuated first and sorted the paperwork back at home, where there were fewer death squads determined to complicate matters (see #6 and #9). We left Basra a month before any policy regarding those we left behind was made or announced.
5. And this government had to be goaded into that. Miliband’s announcement was effectively a last-minute face-saving spoiler designed to take the wind out of the campaign to save these people. Classy.
6. The people being targeted daren’t show their faces on *any* street… and the facilities/routes one might use to seek escape are being watched very carefully. Oh, but any special measures that might be required to rescue those we left behind? You can rule them out in roughly two weeks’ time. Not that our government has an intention of taking these measures, it’s just that they will soon have a perfect excuse not to bother.
7. A tactic not unlike the one used by my Conservative MP, Anne Milton. I asked her if she would be signing EDM 2057, but she didn’t answer. I pressed her for an answer a couple of weeks later, and was told that she wouldn’t be signing it because it had effectively expired. [Why won’t you drink the milk? (No answer.) Why won’t you drink the milk? (No answer.) Why won’t you drink the milk? (Because it’s past its use-by date. Ha-ha!)] Now I’ve asked her – twice now – if she’ll be signing the renewed version, EDM 401, and guess what? No answer!
8. Check the latest EDM. To date, it’s been signed by:
– 22% of Liberal Democrat MPs (14 out of 63)
– 3.6% of Labour MPs (13 out of 352)
– 2.5% of Conservative MPs (5 out of 194)
Everybody needs to lift their game, but you would expect a better showing from Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, wouldn’t you? What’s holding them back?
9. A tip for those on the run and in fear of their lives: due to the very real possibility that we may not have kept records of any reported absences, it is important that you keep a firm grip on any relevant paperwork as you dash from bolthole to bolthole, because you certainly can’t leave it in the care of any relatives or friends whose home may be invaded and searched at any time.
10. If you haven’t yet done so, you should at the very least ask your MP if they will be signing EDM 401. If they will… great, you can take things from there. If they won’t… ask them why.
UPDATE – Dan Hardie – Red tape and murder… read and share.