In terms of furthering his Tory leadership ambitions, it’s been a very successful year. In terms of tackling the knife crime epidemic, ending the Hostile Environment or providing certainty to the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK, not so much…
1. Blaming the police for Tory cuts
Faced with a surge in knife crime, police forces across the country are crying out for cash to reverse the £1 billion of Tory cuts that have taken 5,000 officers off the streets since 2015.
Instead of giving forces the funding they desperately need, Javid tried to shift the blame onto the police, telling them to “step up their response”. The police were rightly furious…
Sajid Javid told the Met to ‘step up their response’ to knife crime in a call to Cressida Dick yesterday
Police are furious after years of cuts, which MPs said could have ‘dire consequences for public safety’ this weekhttps://t.co/Kd0bV2ytm7
— Lizzie Dearden (@lizziedearden) November 8, 2018
2. Repeating the wrongs of Windrush
Let’s remember why Sajid became Home Secretary in the first place: the appalling revelations of the Windrush Scandal – in which people were wrongly denied their rights, detained and deported – forced Amber Rudd to step down.
Javid was supposedly brought in to fix things, but instead he’s doubled down on the ‘Hostile Environment’ policies that caused the scandal, refusing to scrap the discriminatory ‘Right to Rent’ law that turns landlords into border guards, despite a High Court ruling that it breaches human rights.
3. Death penalty? Fine by him
The UK’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty used to be something governments of all parties agreed on – but not with Sajid Javid at the Home Office.
First, he wrote to Donald Trump’s attorney general offering the UK’s help with prosecutions without seeking the usual assurances that our assistance would not lead to the death penalty being used. Then he resisted Liberal Democrat efforts to require those assurances in a future data-sharing treaty with the US.
Apparently, Sajid is willing to send people to the electric chair to avoid angering Trump.
4. Making Settled Status unsettling
The Tory plan to end EU free movement after Brexit is a nightmare for the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK.
There’s been endless confusion among Javid and his Home Office ministers over the new Settled Status scheme. The app still doesn’t work on iPhones, far too many people have been wrongly refused, and 240 had their email addresses leaked.
By forcing EU citizens to apply for Settled Status by an arbitrary 2021 deadline, Javid is leading us straight into another Windrush-style scandal on an even bigger scale.
Brexit & the Settled Status scheme will create a new Windrush Scandal for EU citizens in the UK.
The @LibDems are fighting to improve the scheme, but the only way to guarantee their rights is a #PeoplesVote & an #ExitFromBrexithttps://t.co/gobHQuxg9X
— Ed Davey? (@EdwardJDavey) March 26, 2019
5. Thinking ASBOs were a good idea
Remember ASBOs? “They were too time consuming and expensive and they too often criminalised young people unnecessarily, acting as a conveyor belt to serious crime and prison.”
That’s what Theresa May thought, anyway. And that’s why we scrapped them in Coalition. But now Javid’s bringing them back as his solution to soaring knife crime.
They won’t work, of course, and will only consume scarce police time, put more young people in prison and undermine the public health approach we actually need to tackle the epidemic of youth violence.
6. Copying Trump’s migrant scaremongering
Instead of bringing tidings of comfort and joy, Sajid used the Christmas period to kickstart his leadership bid by scaremongering about people crossing the Channel and scapegoating refugees for his own failure to get control of our borders.
Just as Donald Trump uses anti-immigration rhetoric to appeal to his right-wing, nationalist base in the US, Javid is trying to use the same tactics to further his own political ambitions.
7. Going full Orwell
Javid’s landmark piece of legislation over the past 12 months was the ‘Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act’. He said it was about “about updating existing powers to reflect the modern age” but in fact it brought in unnecessary, authoritarian new laws that pose a serious threat to the civil liberties of innocent people.
- Created a new offence of “entering or remaining in” areas outside the UK designated by the Home Secretary punishable by up to ten years in prison.
- Makes it illegal to view online material that is “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, with those convicted facing up to 15 years in prison.
- Expanded existing powers to detain people at ports and airports and for the police to retain innocent people’s DNA.
The Liberal Democrats were the only party to vote against these illiberal new laws.
We have consistently stood up to Javid’s authoritarianism, incompetence and politicking, and we’ll continue to do so in year two of The Saj.