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Priti, why Rwanda when Mordor and Mars are free?

It makes more sense for the home secretary to send incoming asylum seekers to be “processed in” Mars than Rwanda

The red meat planet? Mars could provide Priti Patel with a popular alternative to Rwanda. Photo montage: TNE

Even by the standards of the current administration, the recently announced plan to send incoming refugees and asylum seekers to be “processed in” (ie permanently banished to) Rwanda has caused something of a stir.

Critics of the scheme (that is to say, literally everyone except Priti Patel, Boris Johnson and whoever it is who’s producing those gleefully fascistic Children of Men-esque promo videos) have pointed out that quite apart from being logistically unworkable, morally execrable and economically ruinous, the plan is probably illegal and will be knocked back by the courts in the event of the government actually trying to implement it.

Canny observers have opined that this is very possibly the whole idea; float out a nicely racism-adjacent bit of “red meat” for the delectation of the, shall we say, xenosceptic voter base of the Tory Party (“Look! We’re sending the immigrants to that scary-sounding place in Africa where they had a GENOCIDE!”), then score a two-fer by blaming “activist woke lefty judges” when the whole thing gets kiboshed.

If the “send ‘em to Africa” plan is indeed derailed (and while we’re here, it is worth noting that nobody seems to be suggesting that the current grudgingly accepted trickle of Ukrainian refugees be packed off to Rwanda – because why would you send WHITE people to Rwanda?), then here are some more places Priti Patel could decide to send asylum seekers…

AUSTRALIA

It’s far enough away (and inhospitable enough) to satisfy the xenophobes, and if the Australians start complaining, we have simply to remind them that the United Kingdom’s fine tradition of kicking out undesirables and stranding them on the other side of the planet is the only reason their country’s there in the first place.

NEW ZEALAND

See above, except we wouldn’t have to worry about the New Zealanders complaining because they’re just so damn polite.

THE FALKLAND ISLANDS

Again, nicely remote, and let’s face it, we’ve spent 40 years wondering why we fought so damned hard to hold on to the things, so it’s about time we actually found some sort of use for them.

UKRAINE

No, no, wait, hear me out… We’re already sending tanks and weapons to the Ukrainians to assist them in their heroic stand against the Russian invaders, but obviously we’ve stopped short of sending any actual British TROOPS in, because, you know, world war three and all that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t send ANYONE…

Oh come on, they’ll be fine! Most of them are already fleeing hideous civil wars, so they’ll feel right at home in Mariupol.

MARS

Even if Elon Musk completes his purchase of Twitter, he’s soon going to need to find something else to occupy his time. If he fails, he’s going to need to do something to cheer himself up. In either case, the smart money reckons he’ll throw himself wholeheartedly into his only slightly demented scheme to colonise Mars. Given that it will be very difficult for him to find actual VOLUNTEERS to go to their almost certain doom on our uninhabitable sister planet, perhaps we can persuade him to take some refugees off our hands. After all, they’re used to being ripped off by people who then send them off on barely survivable voyages.

MORDOR

Okay, I know it doesn’t – strictly speaking – EXIST, but as I said earlier, that’s not the point. The idea isn’t actually to SEND immigrants to somewhere appalling, it’s just to ANNOUNCE that you’re doing it in order to give the Little Englanders enough of a tingly feeling to forget about the whole partying-hard-while-you-watched-your-grandmadie-on-Zoom thing. So why not go all in and announce that henceforth, any and all immigrants arriving on our shores will be loaded on to the backs of giant eagles (because one does not simply walk into Mordor), flown over the Black Gates and cast into the fires of Mount Doom under the all-seeing eye of Sauron the Abhorred.

If nothing else, Peter Jackson will get a whole new trilogy out of it.

UGANDA

No particular reason, except of course that it was Uganda from which Priti Patel’s own parents immigrated to the United Kingdom in the 1960s (before Idi Amin expelled all their fellow ethnic Indians from the country in 1972), a journey which, had Patel been in charge at the time, would have seen them interned and deported. But hey, there’s no point being a Tory if you can’t deny other people the advantages you’ve already enjoyed.

POEM OF THE WEEK

He went across to India
And skipped his own debate
But nothing Boris does can make us
Forget about Partygate.
Announcing racist policies
Trying to stoke some hate
Whatever Boris does, we still
Remember Partygate.
It’s lingering in the headlines
Day after weary day
Why won’t this tawdry little scandal
Ever go away?
The 1922 boys
May yet decide his fate
Because they know that no one’s
Forgetting Partygate.

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