AT LEAST PLAY FAIR
In one of this morning's papers there is a front-page story about the high cost of Appeals for people who want to come to the UK - the story suggests that there are some 1,000 appeals brought every week by people who have been refused Visas by UK Diplomatic posts overseas : and that this is costing the British Taxpayer almost £1 million per week.
Now : I am sure that these figures are more-or-less accurate; and it is certainly correct to say that the Taxpayer is footing the bill.
However, the implication is grossly misleading and unfair - and should therefore be unacceptable to any Catholic Christian; namely that these people have no right to come to the UK, and that it is the poor taxpayer who is picking up the tab for their unjustified desire to fight the quite justified refusals of their applications.
Unfortunately, that just isn't true. If we forget, for a moment, the appeals which relate to unsuccessful applicants for Political Asylum - which are a rather different issue - a very large percentage of these appeals against decisions by overseas posts are successful.
This means, ultimately, that it is the original decision to refuse the application that was wrong, not the application itself - so that a good percentage of this £50 million bill is, in effect, being caused by the people who make the wrong decisions, not by the people who submit the appeals - who have, in all probability, been put to considerable trouble and expense by the decision to refuse their applications, and may well have missed some important event as a result.
In fact this is not only a problem with immigration decisions nowadays : there are now more occasions than ever before where the decisions of public servants come to be considered by the courts; and the frightening thing is the high percentage of the time that those decisions are found to be wrong.
I've said for years that there needs to be some effective way of persuading public servants to put a high premium on making the right decisions first time; and I stick to that view.
If the truth of the situation about these immigration appeals can be highlighted now, with a General Election in the near future, perhaps the electorate can make it clear to all the parties that increased governmental involvement in everyday life is not necessarily important : what is important is that any such involvement gets it 'right first time' . . . if only so the poor taxpayer doesn't have to foot the bill even more !