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Offshoring in Rwanda isn’t a ‘dead cat’ to distract from Partygate, it’s just plain inhumane | Moya Lothian-McLean

A loss of trust in politicians means every policy announcement is seen as a diversion – but conspiratorial thinking blocks action

In British politics, nothing is as it seems – apparently. Barely had news of the Home Office’s draconian immigration deal with Rwanda broken on Thursday when it began to be proclaimed a political diversion. Journalists and MPs alike invoked the tired image of a “dead cat”, the phrase associated with the strategist Lynton Crosby to describe the act of wilfully talking up one hot-button issue to divert attention from another. Members of the public took to social media to agree that, yes, the plan to process certain asylum seekers in offshore centres, thousands of miles away, was indeed just an attempt to push Partygate off the front pages.

Except, this explanation doesn’t really tally. Attempts to “outsource” asylum applications have been in the works for nearly three years. Negotiations with Rwanda reportedly took place over eight months. The plan forms a key part of the breathtakingly inhumane plank of immigration policies the home secretary Priti Patel is introducing – a cruel (and illegal) attempt to make an already hostile environment completely unliveable. So why the conviction that this latest proposal – hardly shifting criticism away from Boris Johnson, who took ownership of the policy – is not a means to an end, but a smokescreen to shield him?

Moya Lothian-McLean is a journalist who writes about politics and digital culture

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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