In an epically inept week for our flag-festooned government, the home secretary wins top prize for incompetence
Gibraltar: for some the least appealing rock, bar Paul Burrell. News that the British overseas territory is being considered by the Home Office as an asylum-processing location, along with the Isle of Man, turns out to be exactly that – news. News to Gibraltar and news to the Isle of Man, whose chief minister responded tartly: “Along with ideas to build a road tunnel under the Irish Sea or a bridge above it, this latest idea simply adds to the rich tapestry of life we are dealing with at present. April 1 isn’t until next month.” We’ll pop him down as a maybe.
So, then, to Priti Patel’s plan to overhaul the asylum system, a plan she has brilliantly failed to mention to the territories about to get a shoutout. Can it really be just six months since Patel was looking at processing asylum seekers on Ascension Island, a place as volcanic as her own temper? Can it really be just the same six months since we learned she’d considered giant wave machines to force boats back to France? Can it really be just four years since Michael Howard was suggesting Theresa May would go to war with Spain over Gibraltar, just like Margaret Thatcher went to war over the Falklands? Can it really be that Patel has yet to cross the streams and alight on the idea of processing asylum seekers in the Falklands?