Saturday, 12 December 2009

sign of the times (8) – UKBA Christmas Card

When I saw this Christmas card yesterday I hoped it was a joke but it isn’t. The card is produced by the UK Border Agency, a department of the Home Office and it is a work beyond parody.

ukbroderagencychristmascard

This card is wrong on so many levels:

Who thought it a good idea to hi-jack a Christian Festival simply to promote a political message? I know it happens, however, this is just shameless.

The irony is that if the Holy Family had fled to England under Herod’s persecution today, then this is the agency that would have locked them up until they could be fast tracked back across our borders. David Keen has written more about this on his blog.

It speaks volumes about the state of the asylum and immigration debate in our country. Our politicians are involved in a pissing contest to show the public who can be tougher and harder on this issue. I am sick of hearing Phil Woolas, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, bragging about how tough he is and the other party spokespeople trying to out do him. The truth is that the weakest and most vulnerable seem to be removed from our shores with a complete lack of compassion and in a deliberately callous manner. People like Elizabeth Rushamba and her two children Hilary-Marie and John.

Recently the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre refused to allow St Nicholas to deliver Christmas presents to the estimated 35 children held in the centre; presents that had been donated by London churches. What a great way to celebrate Christmas and how reassuring that our government and its agencies seem so determined to re-enact Dickens’s Christmas Carol (well, the first part anyway). Read more here.

How much did this card cost to produce and distribute? I hope someone will be able to find out because this misuse of tax payers' money is a scandal. In a week when the government offered its pre-budget report setting out its spending priorities, I trust this sort of rubbish will be axed; sadly its more likely that the budget for asylum seekers will be cut.

At least the card says Season’s Greetings rather than Happy or Merry Christmas, because there is nothing joyful or Christian about this obnoxious piece of nonsense.

Update: I have posted a follow up blog here.

There is a video of St Nicholas trying to deliver his presents to Yarl's Wood on the Church Times blog here.

H/T @Jon_Bartley and Ekklesia

10 comments:

philgroom said...

Well said, Phil - couldn't agree more. Obnoxious indeed.

Anonymous said...

actually, It's an e-card, distrubuted by email to save money.

Philip Ritchie said...

Phil, thanks for the comment.

Anon, thanks for the info: the e-card distribution may save money but I presume someone still had to design it and if past govt record is anything to go by I would suspect an agency was paid rather a lot to come up with the idea. I'd be very happy for someone to clarify the costing for this piece of propoganda.

Darren G Lilleker said...

Perhaps a modern nativity should be produced, the three wise men would be immigration officers, shepherds the police force, the location a detention centre. Herod could be recast as killing babies to reduce the official numbers seeking asylum. All such seekers would receive these cards in a nice gold envelope scented with a hint of frankincense. Of course Joseph and mary would be refused as he would ot have the skills required and she would be a single parent. I could go on.
Thanks for highlighting this, it takes the promotional culture to a new, darker level.

J Bonington Jagworth said...

"clarify the costing"

Indeed. Freedom of Information Act..?

Dr Deviant said...

It's interesting that you note the lack of availability of St Nick at the detention centre... full of people who probably don't celebrate Christmas. I's nice that you don't embrace this politically correct attitude of allowing people to have their own beliefs and you want to convert them all into god fearing Christians before you send them back.

I'm not sure why I pick on that point particularly as I think I basically agree with you, but all corporations send christmas cards to their clients, customers, suppliers to make them feel loved and want to buy more stuff... a sales ploy... why can't we stone a few salesmen. I'd pay good money to see that.

Mind you, if you ban designers, then you will also have to make television ad makers as well. That would be cool, tv without ads. no one would want Tivo or Sky plus any more though... hmm...

:)

Philip Ritchie said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Dr Deviant, the gifts being taken to Yarl's Wood by St Nicholas were just a gesture to brighten the lives of the families locked up in the centre over Christmas. There were no conditions attached to the giving of the gifts and no expectation that people would be converted in receiving the gifts.

Anyway, what makes you think that the families in these centres are all non-Christian? At least some of the families detained and deported recently have been Christians.

My main point is that I strongly object to the actions of the UK Border Agency carried out in my name as a UK citizen and I find it offensive that they chose to advertise their activities in this manner.

Anonymous said...

The UK Border Agency are getting out of control.

They are quite rude to my in laws when they visit from another county. They don't know their own rules and quite frankly I am ashamed that they claim to be acting in my interests,

uk visa serf said...

One certainly cannot accuse the UKBA of being tasteful!

mewmewmew said...

Perhaps a modern nativity should be produced, the three wise men would be immigration officers, shepherds the police force, the location a detention centre. Herod could be recast as killing babies to reduce the official numbers seeking asylum. All such seekers would receive these cards in a nice gold envelope scented with a hint of frankincense. Of course Joseph and mary would be refused as he would ot have the skills required and she would be a single parent. I could go on.



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