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Joined: 21 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Woolasballs Reply with quote

Very Happy pied here:

video at:

Migrant row minister hit by pie

The minister was hit in the face with a pie while appearing in a debate

Immigration minister Phil Woolas has become the victim of a pie-throwing protester, angry at his call to limit UK immigration.

A member of the No Borders group threw a cream pie into the minister's face while he was speaking at a debate at Manchester University.

A spokeswoman for the group said Mr Woolas had been "spouting right-wing anti-immigration policies".

A Home Office spokeswoman said the minister declined to comment.

The No Borders group, which campaigns against immigration controls, were angered by Mr Woolas' recent remarks, in which he said the government would not allow the UK's population to rise as high as 70 million. We threw the pie because we didn't want to engage in debate and legitimise what he was saying No Borders spokeswoman

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP denied that he wanted a "numerical cap" on immigration.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith later said Mr Woolas had not been "gagged"
after her department pulled him from BBC One's Question Time.

Mr Woolas was targeted when he attended an environmental debate held at Manchester University student union on Friday afternoon.

As he arrived the minister was confronted with a mock "border control"
and was asked for his passport.

Then, shortly after he began to speak, a woman rose from the audience and threw a pie, believed to be made of Bourbon Creams biscuits and vegan cream, into his face at close range.

Phil Woolas wipes pie off face
Mr Woolas caused controversy with recent remarks on migrants

A spokeswoman for No Borders said: "The woman ran away. Mr Woolas was shocked and there was a bit of an awkward silence as he left the room to clean himself up.

"We threw the pie because we didn't want to engage in debate and legitimise what he was saying.

"What he was spouting were right wing anti-immigration policies. The danger is that people like him are making such views mainstream."

Mr Woolas was unharmed and later rejoined the debate. It is not known whether he was accompanied by any security at the time of the incident.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Curry and Chastity Reply with quote

Immigration is key to chastity belt proposition

Ann Treneman, Parliamentary Sketch, The Times, November 21, 2008

Phil Woolas, the new Immigration Minister with special responsibility for putting his foot in it, came before MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday, supposedly ungagged. I was pleased to see him, for I had been under the impression that Mr Woolas was being kept under office arrest. I couldn't see his leg, though, and I suspected that he had probably been tagged.

Keith Vaz, the pugnacious committee chairman, feared for his human rights. "Was there an attempt to gag you?" he demanded. "Did the Home Secretary prevent you from appearing on Question Time?"

"We took the decision that. . . " Mr Woolas began.

"We, meaning me and the Home Secretary and the Government," explained Mr Woolas. Mr Vaz chortled: "The whole Government was involved!"

"The whole Government was NOT involved," Mr Woolas said, denying what he'd said only seconds before, which must be a record, even for him. "We took a decision that it was better. . . "

Mr Vaz pounced again. "So it was a collective gag!"

"It was NOT a gag and it was a collective decision."

The only thing that was clear, after this exchange, was that Mr Woolas had now been gagged on the subject of the gag. Mr Vaz tested the conditions of Mr Woolas's bail further by asking him about comments he'd made to The Times about how the Government would not allow the population to reach 70 million.

"So do you favour a numerical cap on immigration?" Mr Vaz asked. Mr Woolas said that he did not. "Therefore the comments you made in The Times were misinterpreted?" Mr Vaz asked.

"I find it interesting that the debate about immigration and population are confused," Mr Woolas mused. "Fertility and death rates are a major variable of population."

Mr Vaz nodded briskly: "A cap is unenforceable, unless the Government is proposing to issue chastity belts to everybody in this country!"

Mr Woolas sat back. "Mr Chairman, we considered the electoral implication of that suggestion and we decided against it!" "That is one very good piece of news!" Mr Vaz exclaimed.

And so it went on. Denial followed denial. At times Mr Woolas became almost runic. When asked whether the economic nightmare would affect immigration levels, Mr Woolas announced: "That is what Donald Rumsfeld would call a known unknown."

There was a prolonged spat about whether Mr Woolas supported Gordon Brown's statement on British jobs for British workers. Mr Woolas said that he did and then repeated himself (his electronic tag may now have been zapping him).

"But how can you enforce this?" Mr Vaz demanded. "It's actually EU jobs for EU workers!"

"I think that is slightly unfair," Mr Woolas said. Mr Vaz announced: "The statement is not worth making is it?" "It is very much worth making," Mr Woolas insisted.

"But you cannot enforce it, Minister!" "I see no contradiction," Mr Woolas said. The subject turned from immigration to curry (as it so often does at Westminster). Mr Woolas, after a recommendation from the committee, was allowing more curry chefs into the country, thus averting the much feared chicken tikka crisis. So had the minister had any reaction from the curry industry?

"Mr Chairman!" cried Mr Woolas. "I think I should declare an interest. . . " Mr Vaz chortled: "On behalf of all of us!" Mr Woolas looked almost shy. "The Leeds Tandoori is extremely grateful."

So there you have it. Mr Woolas, unplugged though still clearly gagged and bound to government policy, tells all on chastity belts and curry. But on immigration, well, it's not so clear.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:52 pm    Post subject: Phil 'The Grinch' Woolas V Helen Bamber Reply with quote

via: John O/NCADC

Immigration minister calls for changes in 'outdated' Geneva convention
* Woolas says asylum system is being abused
* Proposals mirror views of French president

Labour is to call for a revision of the international convention on refugees, arguing that it predates mass migration and leads to abuse of the asylum system. Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, said he wanted to start a debate about the 58-year-old convention which enshrines individuals' rights to asylum from state persecution. His proposals mirror those of the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy.
Patrick Wintour, political editor, The Guardian, Saturday 10 January 2009

From Belsen to Zimbabwe
Sorry minister, but to call the Geneva conventions outdated traduces 60 years of torture and abuse

I have worked in human rights for 60 years. I was a member of one of the first rehabilitation teams to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 and have since continued to help survivors of extreme brutality and human rights violations. At the Helen Bamber Foundation I see on a daily basis victims of torture, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

I find myself compelled to speak out publicly in response to comments by the immigration minister, Phil Woolas. Calling for a review of the Geneva conventions - which he described as outdated - Woolas argued that "a significant number of people who claim asylum are doing so for broadly economic reasons".
Helen Bamber, The Guardian, Tuesday 13 January 2009

Lack of accountability is at heart of this mistreatment
A disturbing feature of Britain's record on immigration is the treatment of failed asylum-seekers. Successive governments have overseen the establishment of a system that is best suited to meeting deportation targets, rather than the care of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Immigrants who have committed no criminal offence can be locked up for as long as three years. Failed asylum-seekers have few rights and often know very little about the legal system in which they are held. In such a climate, it is easy to see how those employed to guard them are in a position to abuse their power.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor, The Independent, Wednesday 14th January 2009

BNP links to immigration service staff
After nearly 300 allegations of brutality and racist abuse, official inquiry is launched

An official investigation has been launched after two immigration service staff working with asylum-seekers were found to have links to the British National Party, The Independent has learnt.

One guard employed to look after asylum-seekers at a detention centre has been forced to resign after his name was found on a membership list of the BNP. Another man has been suspended while his employer investigates alleged links to the same far-right organisation.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor, The Independent, Wednesday 14th January 2009
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 9:30 pm    Post subject: carry on woolas!! Reply with quote
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a shameless piece of bandwagon climbing, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has published a piece on LabourList claiming that his department is fair on LGBT asylum. He says he is proud that people were at Saturday's Pride march who have won asylum.

Practically nothing written in the article matches the actual experience of LGBT asylum seekers at the hands of the Home Office and the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

He claims that his department does not tell people to 'be discrete' and send them home - that's the Court of Appeal.

From time to time we are accused of expecting gay men and lesbians to be discreet, effectively to suppress their sexuality in order to avoid persecution. This is not an accurate representation. The Court of Appeal has found, in line with our policy that whether a gay claimant can reasonably be expected to tolerate behaving discreetly is something that must be considered on the individual merits of the case.

This is so barefaced as to take my breath away. Who writes the rules, the courts or the government?

Following an eight year ordeal the Ugandan gay asylum seeker John 'Bosco' Nyombi has finally won asylum in the UK.

Despite a well-documented media and government anti-gay campaign in Uganda, which has included articles and photos of Bosco, he was deported in September last year. The UK Border Agency making it usual claim that LGBT can be safe in such countries if only they are 'discreet'. However the method of his deportation, which involved deception, violence and rule breaking, led to a historic decision by a British court following which the Home Office was forced to return him to the UK in March, where he was immediately put into a detention centre due to an 'error'.

John finally got leave to remain a few weeks ago.

It took a major international campaign to secure leave (which was exceptional and outside the department's strictures) for Mehdi Kazemi, the 19 year old Iranian whose boyfriend had been executed.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi LGBT group told me that Home Office evidence submitted in all cases of Iraqis in the UK says they can return and 'be discrete'. This in a country where death squads are actively seeking out and torturing and executing gays in large numbers.

The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) writes in a letter responding to his article:

The UKBA (and judiciary) often argue something along the lines of "if you kept quiet about it before, you can go back and do so again". Such argumentation does not acknowledge that fears for repercussions along with internalised homophobia and shame usually are the - very damaging - reasons for such 'keeping quiet' or 'staying in the closet'.

Also worrying is the consideration given to the 'social norms and religious beliefs of their country of origin' as a factor in assessing whether an LGBT person could be required to be (more) discreet. Even the Indian Delhi High Court recently stated that arguments of cultural relativism - or indeed the views of a majority of the population - can not 'hold captive' principles of equality and non-discrimination!

Moreover, Phil Woolas' reference to discretion 'being required in all sexual relationships', does nor reflect the realities of most LGBT asylum claims: these applicants simply want a life in which they can be open and honest about who they are and/or who their partner is, without fearing violence, rape, prosecution, forced marriage or losing their livelihood or homes.

Their claims are not about wanting some sort of freedom to 'public indecency'. However, within the legal, social, cultural or religious framework in many of their home countries, an (open or secret) LGBT identity or same sex relationship is often in and of itself considered 'indecent'.

These are policy decisions - not court ones - and nothing to do with the 'merits of the case', unless Woolas seriously believes Iraqi gays should just 'be discrete' and hence avoid having their anuses glued or Bosco could survive in Kampala despite a rampant Ugandan media after his blood (he actually went into hiding) or Kazemi could safely be returned into the arms of the Basiji.

Woolas claims that there are "clear instructions" to caseworkers that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum. But the UKLGIG reports that:

Currently there is no Asylum Policy Instruction (API) on LGBT issues. UKLGIG have been requesting such an instruction from the UKBA to guide their staff for a long time.

Woolas says country information used to make decisions in accurate and up to date. Well in the case of Iraq the UNHCR "advises favourable consideration" for persecuted the LGBT minority two months ago. Human Rights Watch and others have been reporting the pogrom of Iraqi gays for several years. Woolas claims country information comes from such sources and "does not contain any Home Office policy or opinion". If that was the case why are his lawyers opinions saying gays can be safely sent back to Iraq?

Here's why, the independent governmental Advisory Panel on Country Information recently (October 2008) published a very critical review of the quality and quantity of information on LGBT issues within the country of origin information (COI). UKLGIG say they are hopeful that new COI reports "will show a significant improvement".

LGBT asylum seekers are not safe in the care of Woolas' department, in accommodation provided for them or in detention centers as a recently published groundbreaking report found out. They suffer high levels of homelessness, discrimination and exploitation. Cases of rape are described in the report.

Asylum staff and adjudicators receive race and gender awareness training but, again contrary to Woolas' claims, have only just started extremely limited training for a few caseworkers on sexual orientation issues. Lack of training results in them often making stereotyped assumptions: that a feminine woman can't be a lesbian or that a masculine man cannot be gay. They sometimes rule that someone who has been married must be faking their homosexuality.

Cuts in the funding of legal aid for asylum claims means that most asylum applicants - gay and straight - are unable to prepare an adequate submission at their asylum hearing. Most solicitors don't get paid enough to procure the necessary witness statements, medical reports and other vital corroborative evidence.

It is left to groups such as UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and campaigners and hard-working solicitors. They are the people responsible for those asylum seekers on the Pride march- not Woolas.

For him to claim otherwise is nothing short of outrageous and not to be believed, and isn't by many, including many members of his own party.

Labour LGBT passed a motion at its recent AGM which said that "the experience of LGBT people in the system does not often match the up to the high standards of treatment we would expect from the UK" and that "the UK Government should not return people on the pretext that they will have to 'hide' their sexuality on return to their home country." It mandated its executive to question the Home Office.

And amongst those who signed a petition on this issue to Gordon Brown were Labour MEPs Eluned Morgan, Claude Moraes and Glenys Kinnock, Mick Houghton, Secretary Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils, Labour MP Celia Barlow and former Minister Stephen Twigg.

It is great that Labour members are finally waking up to this issue. Perhaps Woolas' brazenness will finally provide the push for the changes in LGBT asylum which are so desperately needed for those that I know most right-thinking people believe deserve our protection.

Visit our website, LGBT asylum news (formally Save Medhi Kazemi)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject: what a disgrace Reply with quote

"An argument that is not aired strongly enough in my view is the benefit of the presence of our armed forces and other countries' is to help us control immigration."

words fail me
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