UK paperback

An enforced route for returns

Unspeaking deportation

The UK Border Agency is annoyed that people aren’t meekly going along with its wheeze involving “the forcible removal of failed asylum seekers to Baghdad”, which is in breach of UN guidelines. The Border Agency’s chief executive, Lin Homer, responded testily:

Having an enforced route for returns is an important part of our overall approach.

An reader pounces:

This seemed a bit unspeaky to me. First there is the usual casually dehumanizing bureaujarg of “route for returns”, where the fact that it is people who are being returned (rather than a trip to the counter at John Lewis to take advantage of their returns policy) is conveniently lost sight of. But the second thing is the way “enforced” has been transferred from returns to route — so that it now sounds as though she’s simply advocating using a fixed route, rather than forcibly returning people. ((Thanks to Dave P.))

Yes! I have written before about the description of people as failed asylum seekers, but an enforced route for returns does Unspeak human beings even more completely, consigning them to the category of unwanted goods, or unsold books.

Isn’t an enforced route for returns, actually, just the kind of thing that the racist rabble of the “British” “National” Party so dearly desire? “Hi, I’m returning this: it’s the wrong colour.”

One comment
  1. 1  Alex  October 22, 2009, 12:24 pm 

    In context, also, she’s using the very existence of “an enforced route for returns” as if it constituted success, despite the fact that her planeload of deportees was humiliatingly eighty-sixed by Baghdad immigration. (They threatened to SET FIRE TO THE PLANE if it didn’t leave within two hours.)

    Any honest person would consider this to be spectacular, epic, embarrassing failure. But not Lin. After all, epic fail is something she is a specialist on; who was it who mismanaged an election so badly in her last job that the results were overturned by a court after (among other things) votes were found lying around in carrier bags, people were spotted destroying a bag of proxy ballots, and a Labour party ward chairman was caught taking a ballot box home? That’s right – Lin Homer, as chief executive of Birmingham City Council.

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