By Myles Harris with a complementary essay by David
ISBN 1 903 386 25X
This is a timely book on Britain’s asylum policy. War in Iraq
could displace millions; many will flee westwards. Harris, adopting
an apparently right-wing stance that will dismay liberals, argues
that only repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 can solve the asylum
problem. In 2002, 111,000 asylum applications cost Britain’s
economy £1.8bn. The number of deportations arising from failed
applications and illegal immigration is a drop in the ocean, with
thousands “disappearing” annually into the black economy.
Britain is already over-crowded and cannot absorb indefinitely the
consequences of policies in complete disarray. Harris’s examination
of the history of immigration shows how the present was shaped:
when it suited, government actively solicited immigration; when it
did not, the bolts were slammed home.
Harris touches on but does not explore how Western foreign policies
provoke large-scale human dispersals and denude other nations of
their resources. Asylum is an international issue that requires a
concerted, international approach.
In this neurotic and increasingly xenophobic age, Conway’s
accompanying illuminating essay on nationalism is also extremely
Although undeniably controversial, the book deserves to be
Alison Taylor is a novelist.