Of course they get the right to settle

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?

Support Continental Telegraph Donate


  1. Depends what you mean by “government” in this case. Pretty sure, if you’d asked any member of the current government or, barring a couple of its more lunatic members, those of a putative Labour government, their opinion – it’d coincide with yours. Further, if you canvassed the entirety of the sitting MP’s, you’d likely get a similar overwhelming majority for the motion. So what you’re actually talking about is the bureaucrats who operate the machinery of government. And it really doesn’t matter whether you’ve got more or less government or even what political flavour’s in charge, you’re still going to have bureaucrats administering things like this.
    The problem seems to be a bunch of shits with more interest in their own agendas & careers than the interests of the nation they’re paid to serve.

    • This is always the excuse, but the reality is that some ministers do get the civil servants to do things, while others don’t. The one success of the Cameron years is free schools, and that’s because Gove really wanted it done.

      Most politicians have no idea about managing things, no experience of managing things, and little enthusiasm for change.

  2. Government didn’t inadvertently reach the right decision, like the blind squirrel; it merely found a way to spend more (forego revenue) with an appeal to pity. That we might need these translators in a future war assumes we cannot hire new locals, as we did during the war, or even learn Pashtu ourselves. The credulity toward claims that foreigners face murder at the hands of their kin is most stark compared to our disinterest in the risk faced by Christians in a country undergoing a Muslim civil war.

  3. As an aside the job of interpreter was very lucrative for at least some. My source is an MOD civilian who worked over there dealing with compensation claims. The interpreter would tell the Afghan farmer what to say, get him his compo based on the story then take a cut. This particular one was fired for it then re-hired, don’t know why. Probably lives in Surbiton now.

  4. I’m fully supportive of the principle that if you work for the state you get paid with citizenship. Grand Roman tradition, and used to be a solid British tradition as well until people started meddling.