Author: Dr Stella Perrott

Misleading statements from Conservatives about refugees and asylum seekers

Dr Stella Perrott

Following recent criticisms of Home Office refugee policies, particularly in respect of the small boat crossings of the Channel and the death of a Kurdish-Iranian family, a number of people have written to their MPs expressing concern. Some replies have already been received. The answers are broadly similar and conform to Home Office ‘lines to […]

Prisons inspectorate sheds light on broken immigration system

Dr Stella Perrott

If the home secretary wishes to mend the broken asylum system, she might usefully start with improving the systems and processes directly under her control. In her speech to the Conservative Party conference earlier in October, Priti Patel spoke of a “broken” immigration system blaming “activist lawyers” for the Home Office’s failure to return asylum […]

Harsher sentencing proposals are likely to increase serious crime

Dr Stella Perrott

On 16 September, the government announced tougher sentencing measures for serious and violent offenders in the white paper, A smarter Approach to Sentencing, saying it will offer greater protection to the public and time served in custody would better reflect the seriousness of the offence. The proposals are in response to the Conservative’s manifesto commitment […]

Home office evictions of asylum seekers to resume

Dr Stella Perrott

The government wrote to voluntary sector organisations on 18 September to say it is restarting evictions of asylum seekers in England and will consult with the devolved nations before starting them again in the rest of the UK. As reported in the Independent, “Individuals who have claimed asylum and had their cases refused will begin […]

Home Office risks immigration decisions being driven by “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”

Dr Stella Perrott

On 18 September, the Conservative-dominated public accounts committee (which examines the value for money of government projects, programmes and service delivery) published its report: ‘Immigration Enforcement’. The findings are damning, concluding that the Home Office’s approach risks making decisions on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”. The directorate responsible for immigration enforcement has, as its vision: “to […]

Government blunders: learning from the past

Dr Stella Perrott

In their book, published in 2013, The Blunders of Our Governments, Ivor Crew and Anthony King explore 12 examples of government blunders, all of which took place prior to the majority Conservative government of 2015. Their examples are from Conservative, coalition and Labour administrations. A summary of the findings can be found here. They define […]

Select committee criticises coronavirus failures in social care

Dr Stella Perrott
health workers wearing face mask

The government’s “slow, inconsistent and negligent approach” to social care during the pandemic was today (29 July) heavily criticised by the commons public accounts committee. The committee is a cross party group with a government majority of members. The report, Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak, notes that the NHS managed […]

Why forced labour thrives in the UK

Dr Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott explores the continuum between poorly paid employment and exploitative or forced labour and how race and gender underpin workplace exploitation. She discusses the weaknesses of the current regulatory framework and how the government’s ‘hostile environment’ supports the conditions for exploitation

Civil service – reform or destruction?

Dr Stella Perrott

On 28 June Michael Gove, cabinet office minister, delivered the Ditchley Foundation’s annual lecture entitled the “privilege of public service”. It generated considerably more interest than would normally be expected for a speech on civil service reform to a rather obscure think tank, as it followed accounts of Dominic Cummings’ determination to come down on […]

Defunding the police

Dr Stella Perrott

What are the police for? In 1842, Lancashire magistrates, voted by 81 to 55 votes to abolish the police force. In the same year a number of townships petitioned county magistrates to defund the police. Durham Quarter Sessions received 172 (out of a possible 240) petitions, with over 6,000 ratepayers (property-owning males) signatures. Although the […]

Asylum seekers struggling with lockdown

Dr Stella Perrott

The impact of coronavirus on people in the UK has been very uneven. We know that men, people who are black, Asian or minority ethnic, and those with underlying health problems or who are older, are at risk of severe illness and death. People living in the most deprived communities have been hit hardest. The […]

Why the UK does not have Jacinda Ardern as its prime minister

Dr Stella Perrott

Measured by the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths, countries led by women have done better than other comparable countries led by men. In the advanced economies Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand), Tsai Ing-wen (Taiwan), Sanna Marin (Finland), Mette Frederiksen (Denmark) and Angela Merkel (Germany) have been praised for their management of the crisis. The US, […]

An exhausted government, an exhausted civil service

Dr Stella Perrott

As the government lumbers heavily towards its third ‘no-deal’ Brexit deadline, it has strongly asserted that there will be no extension to the transition period. Stella Perrott considers the government’s capacity to deliver a managed Brexit over the coming weeks in the light of the findings of the recent publication of the Institute for Government […]

The Cygnus Report on pandemic flu preparation – ignoring the advice

Dr Stella Perrott

Following publication of the number of care home deaths due to coronavirus, much media attention has focused on the government’s response to concerns raised in 2017 in the Exercise Cygnus report(published by the Guardian on 7 May 2020). The report highlighted potential difficulties for the care home sector in a flu pandemic. Stella Perrott considers […]

Refugees at the mercy of Covid-19

Dr Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott considers the plight of refugees in the coronavirus outbreak and the need for an internationally agreed approach to the disease. During a crisis our concentric circles of attention and empathy shrink, first to family and friends, and then to our local communities as we struggle to make sense of what is happening and […]

Peers call for a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 crisis

Dr Stella Perrott

Fifteen senior peers, including Chris Patten, Bob Kerslake and Helena Kennedy have written a letter to the Financial Times calling for a full public inquiry into the UK’s handing of the coronavirus crisis. They argue that the public but particularly “health and care professions, the medical science community and those who have lost loved ones […]

Brexit negotiations during a pandemic lockdown

Dr Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott considers the impact coronavirus is already having on the UK and EU’s attempt to forge a Brexit deal and the implications for the future. David Frost the UK’s Brexit negotiator reassures us by tweet, almost on a daily basis, that the Brexit negotiations are progressing well. This is in spite of Michael Barnier […]

The Bubonic Plague – lessons for the modern age

Dr Stella Perrott

In 1347, the bubonic plague swept through Europe arriving on the UK’s shores in 1348; possibly caused by marmot fleas which transferred to rats as it moved from Central Asia to Crimea in about 1343. A secondary strain, pneumonic plague was transmitted from human to human through infected droplets, much like the COVID-19 virus today. […]

Scientific authority, whose data counts?

Dr Stella Perrott

The scream of the motos struggling up the hill taking their owners to work suddenly stopped and even the dogs were instantly silenced, with no passers-by to bark at as the Spanish lockdown was introduced. It was immediate, and immediately enforced with loud hailers touring the streets telling people to stay inside. Police patrolled the […]