A diplomatic row broke out between Donald Trump and Theresa May yesterday after the Prime Minister hit out at his “completely unacceptable” language towards liberal congresswomen.
The US president tweeted that his fellow politicians should “go back and help fix” their “broken and crime infested” countries in a widely-condemned Twitter outburst.
Nicola Sturgeon responded that “the President of the United States telling elected politicians – or any other Americans for that matter – to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly”.
And a spokesperson on behalf of the Prime Minister said that “her view is that the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable”.
But the comments are hardly any different from the “go home” billboard messages that were sprawled across vans when she was Home Secretary.
Indeed, much of the hostile environment policies that she implemented embody the same sentiment of Mr Trump’s tweets.
She was two years into her job as Home Secretary when she made the strategy explicit, telling the Telegraph in 2012 her aim “was to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration”.
The Windrush scandal that followed exposed the scale of that strategy, but its reach stretches far beyond that.
Thanks to the hostile environment migrants do not face border officials only when they enter the country for the first time, but as a constant part of daily life.
They have to prove their immigration status whenever they try to rent a property, open a bank account or access the health services. Landlords and employers must become immigration enforcers – or risk hefty fines.
So it’s all good and well Mrs May responding in the way she did towards Mr Trumps remarks, but people in glass houses should not throw stones.
She is just as culpable as he when it comes to the disgraceful discourse around immigration in today’s political environment.
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