There are, as we all know, many who insist that government should be doing more to run our lives and society. This does rather run into the brick wall of how appalling government is at running our lives and society when it does try to do something. The case of the Afghan interpreters is illustrative here – and the Iraqi ones aren’t far behind either.
The essential case being that when we sent the armed forces into Afghanistan – no, whether we should have done that or not is another matter entirely – we found that we needed people who could speak both English and Dari, Pashtu and so on. We thus hired locals who could do this. Given the success of our intervention those who aided us by working for us are now at risk for their lives.
What should we do?
Afghan interpreters will be allowed to stay in Britain without being forced to pay thousands of pounds, ministers are set to announce, in a shake-up of immigration policy following the Windrush scandal.
A group of translators who worked with the British army in Afghanistan and later came to the UK feared being forced to leave after it emerged they would have to pay £2,400 to renew their visas when they run out in the next couple of years.
But last night Whitehall sources told The Telegraph that the group will be allowed to stay in Britain and given Indefinite Leave to Remain free of charge, in recognition of their sacrifice.
Well, it’s obviously that. But it’s not in recognition of their sacrifice or anything close to it. It’s pure pragmatism.
If we don’t let them settle here then their corpses will be gutted and hung up to dry in the blowing winds. We thus protect them so that the next time the British armed forces go anywhere we can find people who will work with us. On the grounds that the last lot who did didn’t end up corpses gutted and drying in the blowing winds.
Yes, government has got to the right solution here. But only after an awful lot of shouting and a general insistence upon doing the wrong thing. All of which is instructive about the greater desire for more government generally, isn’t it?
If we’ve got to apply the full nelson to get the governmental apparatus to do something obviously both morally and pragmatically correct then why in buggery would we give them more power over our lives? This is something that could and should have been settled before even the decision to go in. That it wasn’t is evidence that government ain’t very good at doing things, isn’t it?