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Tensions arise over Zimbabwe crisis

Nick Robinson | 23:33 UK time, Thursday, 11 December 2008

The crisis in Zimbabwe is causing real tension in Whitehall. This week the home secretary warned the cabinet of a possible mass influx of refugees, many travelling on false papers. And she warned of a growing risk of the spread of cholera from the region.

Some in the Foreign Office regard such talk as an attempt to justify tougher border controls to make it even harder for refugees to make it to the UK from Zimbabwe.

Currently any Zimbabwean needs a visa to travel to the UK. Those however who come from South Africa do not. The result is that many refugees flee over the border and buy false papers before making their way to Britain.

The Home Office wants to see the introduction of visa restrictions for all countries in the region, the Foreign Office does not.

There's also a debate going on about what to do about thousands of Zimbabweans who are in limbo here. They have not been granted asylum and therefore cannot legally work or claim benefits but the government is unwilling to send them home.

The debate in each case is about the moral imperative to help those fleeing the Mugabe regime, poverty and disease and the danger of encouraging more from Zimbabwe to stay here and make their way here at an unacceptably high cost to the tax payer.


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  • Comment number 1.

    We cannot abandon the Zimbabeans. We owe them a moral debt, and quite frankly this is a tragedy. However, this country cannot take all those who need to get out, and therefore it is also a world problem.

    PS. Who woke Nick up at this late hour - 11.33PM. My last post got moderated for daring to suggest that he was now working on a Friday!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh dear!

    Perhaps another crisis that our esteemed Prime Minister can fix immediately, and save the world all over again!

    As if the nations of Africa haven't got enough to deal with, Cholera strikes.

    And we in 'affluent' countries have to debate what to do while people die?

    Nothing new there then!

    How about a massive vaccination of the population?

    But then, isn't cholera spread through water (if I remember my studies of Tchaikovsky correctly). If that's the case, there isn't a whole lot for us to worry about.

    Surely, the debate should be about fixing the problems over there? Not worrying about closing our borders to those in desperate need of help.

    A strange thing to appear on your blog Nick - are you getting dizzy with all the comments on your other blogs?

    Getting too hot for you so time to try some diversionary tactics?

  • Comment number 3.

    As long as Zimbabwe is led by a despot it will be a source of refugees. How long will the world stand by and let this Mugabe destroy a nation?

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.


    surely Gordon Brown must turn to the European Union and say that it really is time for some action to be taken. It must be time for regime change in Zimbabwe.

    I would have thought that Cholera was just as bad a threat as Weapons of Mass Destruction. Trouble is Zimbabwe has no oil.

    What might actually happen though is that Zanulabour will take action to prevent an influx of asylum seekers. As you know I have always thought of Gordon Brown as a one trick pony. This is serious and must be resolved. It is totally unacceptable.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Zimbabwe tragedy is all about ‘rich nations’ abandoning/refusing to invest/help a nation that has ‘the audacity’ to call its own tune against potential first-world investors which would prefer to set the percentage stakes to their own anti-Zimbabwe advantage.

  • Comment number 8.

    @#1 Have I missed something? What do we owe Zimbabwe? They have a democratically elected leader (well he was originally) and, when push comes to shove, in a democracy you have to live with what you choose, just like in the UK.

    @#3 Forever quite frankly. I think perhaps we're finally starting to get the idea that we don't have to make all of the world's problems our own and doing so ultimately just turns us into a target. Long may this attitude continue as far as I'm concerned.

    @#4 Just thought that I'd flag it up because I haven't seen that sort of half-witted use of the word nazi in a fair while. Oh well, had to happen sooner or later. Typical commie.

  • Comment number 9.

    It is patiently obvious yet again that Jacquie Smith does not really have a clue, and any morals or intellectual abilities she once had to assess and make the best decisions for the people of this country, and the world, have disappeared, to be replaced by political prejudice.

    Instead of trying to fix the mess that we British have allowed to flourish in Zimbabwe, and save thousands of peoples of lives, she instead wants to condemn them to death by forcing them to stay in Zimbabwe, whilst refusing to have the backbone to stand up to Robert Mugabe. Can she not see that this country has a moral duty to protect these people instead of yet again producing alarmist language that will affect the government's, and the British people's, world view for years to come?

  • Comment number 10.

    Bad news for those who want a military invasion of Zimbabwe, it is too far from the sea - the aircraft carrier borne Harriers cannot reach it. Nor do the neighbouring countries do not want to house the British and/or American military bases such an invasion would need.

  • Comment number 11.

    Jeez! Nick, fly swatting again, I suspect your in real trouble now for this latest leak!

    Who did give you this story? although not new and angle you suggest is a degree short in reality?

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    The Zimbabwe leader's name "Robert"...

    represents "Bright Fame"?

    I should know...I own the exact same illustrious Christian name; though; I could never be so famous!

  • Comment number 14.

    Where is Peter Hain? He helped turn prosperous Rhodesia into disastrous Zim. Well, he is here, in the UK, living off the taxpayer. Of course he is. Wouldn't do to actually live in the shambles he created for others. And the 'saintly' Mandela..?
    Yeah right! Always the same isn't it.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is the first sensible thing Smith has said!

    It would also seem that the world has not learned from Germany's mistake of the '30s! Allow a vicious thug to maintain his grip on power whilst engaged in mass murder. Perhaps what should have been done to Hitler should be done to Mugabe - take him out - permanently! But hey. Zim is poor, black (in the main) & has no oil - so all that will happen is a lot of hand wringing!

    2 million years of evolution slams into full reverse!

  • Comment number 16.

    More dithering from the government,just stop all flights from Southern Africa into the country until SA can guarantee the validity of the documents travellers hold.

    South Africa will be outraged of course , but its within the governments remit to do this.

    If we dont we end up with a situation like we have with France where illegals are encouraged to go to England because it saves them having problems.

    People cannot keep on blaming the UK for Zimbabwe's problems blithely ignoring the obvious, to point the finger of blame at us.
    Zimbabwe have at this time one major problem.
    When the people of Zimbabwe remove him they will find many of their problems will be eased over night.Other problems will emerge but its one step at a time for the people there.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes send "SuperGordon" there he is bound to have the answer but no troops. It's an African problem anyway so it's really up to them to sort it out. If we help too much Africa is bound to call us Imperialists.

    We have suggested to Africa what to do and been called Imperialists, we pour simple aid and money and charity workers in and the Africans take it and never get out of the hole.

    Yes we caused the problem a century ago but are we always going to have to pay for past history like slavery etc etc. Feeling we have to pay for long passed moral mistakes is just a form of moral blackmail (no pun intended.

  • Comment number 18.

    Lets see, 7-8 months down the road, when we have approx 300,000 further immigrants from Zimbabwe and other African nations to deal with the government will announce a plan to stop them coming.

    The people of Zimbabwe don't want to leave a country they know was once a shining example in Africa.
    They want there homes & jobs back.
    They want their country back as it was before Mugabe went on the rampage.

    They want the rest of the world to remove a political party run by an old man who basically has no control and is being used like a puppet by more sinister people within his party.

    Once again it will be, let the horse bolt and then close the door from this pathetic government and Prime Minister

  • Comment number 19.

    It's a sad fact that the only language these dictators really understand is the language of force. Gordon Brown and David Milliband pontificating in the background will have no effect whatsoever. They are merely repeating what we and the rest of The World know already. It's not rocket science after all.

  • Comment number 20.

    This just goes to show the madness of Government:

    Of all the people from outside the country arriving here, surely people from Zimbabwe are the MOST deserving. I would much rather have these almost entirely deserving refugees that the economic migrants claiming to be victims of this or that.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry. should have read NR's blog more carefully. Totally off topic! Just ignore what I said.

  • Comment number 22.

    for years Gordon brown said very little about the sad state of affairs in Zimbabwe....then Condeleeza Rice stood up to be counted and GB immediately jumped on the passing bandwagon and called for international action....shame on you Gordon.

  • Comment number 23.

    Dear Nick
    Zimbabwe, was allowed by the Afiran Union to fall apart, Politiciqans in Africa could not have cared less about what happened to the people ther, Just look at the Rwandan Business and Genocide,
    The rest of the world also sat back and did nothing Including Gordon Brown, and the British Governemnt.
    NOW Britain is expected to House and look after and deal with a possible dangerous medical condition called Cholora.
    What the British People do not Know is that there are 3,000,000 UK pass port Holders in Africa who also have the right to come to Briatin, as well Miliions from the European Union, The Immigration Policy in this country has created a serious problem, for the future, and 3,000,000 SOuth Africans are going to severely add to Britains mounting Multi culturism and the problems it causes.

  • Comment number 24.

    what the hell is the problem with the African leaders and the u.n regards to Zimbabwe? Mugabe is totaly out of control & MUST be removed hes a total mad man, the poor people of the country should be given automatic entry to the uk the same as residents of iraq, we the west have screwed there lifes up enough lets pay back some humanity.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    I am horrified that senior politicians feel able to make comments like this. What is Jacqui Smith really trying to say? That African nationals coming here may a) be 'pretend' Zimbabwean refugees and b) spread disease? Surely this is nothing but extremely thinly disguised racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Whether or not this is in order to win some sort of internal Home Office/Foreign Office battle, I find it hard to believe that it could be acceptable for a senior member of a Labour (or any other) government to promote such inflammatory and factually inaccurate views. The UK receives a tiny proportion of the world's refugees. Millions of Zimbabweans have fled their country, but the huge majority have only made it over the border to South Africa and could never afford or even wish to come to the UK. Moreover, as cholera is water-born and the UK does have a pretty well-functioning public sanitation system, I find it highly unlikely that someone arriving here with cholera would pose a significant public health risk. Instead of talking such nonsense, Jacqui Smith should be spending her time ensuring that her employees are dealing with asylum claimants from Zimbabwe who are already here as quickly and fairly as possible whilst working with her Foreign Office colleagues to offer assistance to the governments who really face a 'refugee problem' i.e. South Africa & Botswana.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    It always AMAZING me how Zimbawe is

    kept on the back burner to bring to the fore

    at a convenient MOMENT.



    Any DECENT UK government would have

    sorted IT.

  • Comment number 29.

    24 stevefiji

    In what way has the west screwed up zimbabwe. At the point of independence, which is what they wanted, the country was in decent shape. I'm a little fed up of hearing about the white mans burden. Africa does not even want the white man interfering and wants to sort it out alone. The problem is they have failed so far. But their position also inhibits the UN. The only acceptable solution in Africa is a black one, white intervention would open up a whole new can of worms.

    The issue of individuals seeking to come here is a different matter when they are under the threat of death.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, it seems that not a lot of support for Brown was forthcoming on the previous posting. Wonder if this odd little insertion will lead to more support for the caring Great Leader?

    Problem with so many political leaders is an intellectual isolation which tends to induce arrogance.

    On paper, Mugabe has a level (and range) of education that makes Brown look like a pygmy.

    But he's surrounded himself by cronies / dependents - many with a similar "intellectual" rather than "practical" background. (Sounds familiar?)

    Of course Mugabe should go. Bush and Blair toppled two Middle East governments (and the USA and Europe broke up Serbia and encouraged the disintegration of the USSR), so we - the "West" - have a track record of imposing change.

    But we can't do it in Africa, for historical and highly practical reasons.

    The US supported the Taleban when they wanted Russia out of Afghanistan. (Actually supported Saddam in the wasteful war with Iran...) But didn't like the outcome in either case.

    And they haven't been too happy with Putin, either. Just goes to show that you have to be careful what you wish for...

    Of curse we should try to help the Zimbabwean people. If that means whacking visa controls on every country in the area, fair enough. Can't see how that's going to help the people suffering. They don't want to be here - they want to be in a safe and economically sane country... Their own.

    Maybe a special fund to buy the farms back from Mugabe's cronies, vest their ownership in charitable foundation, send in agricultural specialists to develop local talent.

    The buy-back could be made contingent on "cronies" retiring from politics.

    Maybe that would clear the way for a new generation of government in Zimbabwe?

  • Comment number 31.

    Haven't we already got enough problems of our own to get on with? There's a basic premise in international diplomacy, attend to your own bean field and don't mess with the neighbours. In this instance, that means Zimbabwe's internal affairs are its internal affairs, and if the population can't fend for itself, that's their tough turkey. It's a lesson we should take to heart ourselves, as we may need to fend for ourselves in not dissimilar circumstances the way things are going, and the way this is being managed in the Home Office, to add yet more draconian powers to an already unacceptably stuffed portfolio of the same, as evinced by this week's Council of Europe decision on DNA storage. I note nothing has been announced on that yet, in passing, the Home Secretary's too busy interfering with the Foreign Office to actually do her job right.
    The Home Office has an easy solution, simply quarantine the area on medical grounds. She has adequate powers to do that so why's she messing with another department's policies outside of her remit? She might have a case if her own house was in order, but it obviously isn't: David Davis confirmed the suspicion I posted here about a week ago, the other dossiers are so explosive it would bring not merely Jacqui Smith down, but HMG and possibly even parliamentary democracy as well. That's what the Green raid was about, therefore, trying to find out exactly how many damoclean swords were hanging over their heads. It sounds as if it's about sixteen, which must leave the Home Secretary rather sleepless at night - she certainly looks rather haggard these days, and it may well be affecting her judgment.
    Time for yet another new broom from the Old Curiosity Shop that's the ranks of Labour potential ministers...

  • Comment number 32.

    Whilst I disagree with what freecornwall 23 has to say in other threads, I do think what is saying has merit.

    It is an African problem and must be solved by African politicians. We have enough enemies and are not the world's policeman, mind you Flash Gordon in his mission might think so.

    The time has come for us to put up the shutters to immigration from whatever country. Give an amnesty to all the illegal immigrants and close the doors.

    The first rule of survival is don't put yourself in a position of danger to endanger either yourself or others. We are fighting an economic battle and my belief is unemployment will be at 3 million some time next year and borrowing vast amounts to survive.

    Zimbabwe, we have to be humane and do what we can to help the people and aid must be given when they and Africa asks.

  • Comment number 33.

    It all goes to show what a complete farce the asylum system is and how it completely fails genuine refugees. It is a pity our politicians are such incapable hypocrites. The asylum system must be scrapped and then be replaced with a system which looks after the welfare of genuine refugees. It is absurd for Zimbabweans to attempt to reach Britain - only the fit and relatively wealthy can make such an arduous journey. There should be a proper mechanism in place, run via the UN, to provide proper care and treatment for refugees in the regions where they are displaced. For Zimbabweans, this would be in the border regions of South Africa and Mozambique.

    The current asylum system is useless and is exploited by economic migrants and people traffickers, causing community and racial tensions in the countries people claim asylum in. It must be scrapped - it is no longer appropriate in today's world of mass transit.

  • Comment number 34.

    Now, if you really must deal with Mugabe, the only realistic way will be to coax him out of the country and hope an accident befalls him en route - it's the way most African Traditional Heads of State meet their ends these days, I observe.

  • Comment number 35.

    re stevefiji @24:

    In what way did WE screw the Zimbabweans' lives up? From my (admittedly somewhat hazy) recollection, Zimbabwe has been an independent state for a few years now, with Mugabe - an elected leader - in charge and running the country.

    All learned opinion in the world outside Zimbabwe's borders - apart from a few sycophants and schemers here and there - says that if anyone's screwed up the Zimbabweans' lives, it's Mugabe.

  • Comment number 36.

    10. Well said. As the neighbouring countries won't support the use of force then there is no viable military option unless you are prepared to force your way through a neighbouring state, Mozambique would be the obvious choice, and then attack Zimbabwe. Only the Americans have that sort of capability. If you got a force into place the hostilities would be over very quickly, the Zimbabwean military has been run down by Mugabe with only elite units left fully equipped to protect him and his cronies. The rest are good at beating up women and children, and just like the Iraqis in 1991, if confronted with a proper military opponent they'll either surrender or run. The real problem will be trying to impose order in the aftermath, i.e. Iraq 2003. No western government will want to take on that challenge. And as for the Africans? No chance, they're all a nice cosy cabal anxious to shield each other.

  • Comment number 37.

    I fear it's a continuation in another form of the New Labour philosophy of people as only being worthwhile if they are 'economically productive units'.

    That's how many of the unemployed are treated (or mistreated), extending working age is encouraged whatever your personal circumstances, now it is being extended to immigration.

    No matter the moral case for allowing access, what matters is if you can work cheaply in an area the economy needs support in you are regarded as 'useful' and allowed in, but if you are fleeing disease, political oppression or natural disaster, there's no profit in you so no reason to allow entry.

    The true irony - this policy is designed by people who have never been anything other than a professional politician, have never been of any productive value to any country, and think they understand the lives of people when in fact their closest contact with reality was reading a report someone else wrote them about it.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have English relatives in South Africa, one has been there forty years. The Zims people are causing riots over there as the South Africans say the Zims refugees are taking their jobs.

    Look, Gordon and Nu Labour should stop trying to save the world and look after the indigineous population here.

    If this government really does want to carry out their typically liberalist looney lefty ideals then why not get hostels, training and education set up OVER THERE.

    Also, why is it that these people can cross ten countries to get here, not staying in any of them, to get to thie "land of milk and honey" ?

    Some of my English relatives in South Africa are having a hard time getting citizenship and although they are well heeled and employ blacks there have themselves threatened with deportation back here!

    Do you know, if you wish to leave here and settle there you first have to satisfy the authorities there that your income must be at least £2000 sterling per calendar month? And that is ONE person, it's double for a couple.

    Wake up Foreign Office, get out of your cloistered environment and ask the real people who are affected instead of trying to give yourselves the feel good factor at Christmas. Self gratification - mad.

    Mad as Mad Bob.

  • Comment number 39.

    Man from Milan post6

    HEY THERE a compliment????

    GUESS you read them then.

    Zimbabwe should be dealt with NOT

    played with by GORDY.

  • Comment number 40.

    The problem is our politicians suffer from moral cowardice - they won't speak out truthfully and take the actions which are necessary. It is clear the asylum system set up after WWII is no longer fit for purpose and must be scrapped. It is abused by those healthy enough and wealthy enough to make their way across continents to claim it. Scrap the stupid asylum system and replace it with a well thought out, international agreement on how to support genuine refugees from countries like Somalia, Zimbabwe, the Sudan and other basket cases.

    As for Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans have been betrayed not only by their own government, but by South Africa, the regional power which could have put an end to Mugabe's misrule years ago!

  • Comment number 41.

    Surely this is a problem that started in America?

    For sure it'll be somebody else's problem.

    The main problem with Zimbabwe (as with Afghanistan) is that it doesn't have a coast. So in order to 'do something' you have to get the agreement of one of its neighbours.

    Since South Africa has obviously got plans (actually happening as we speak) to emulate the exciting land-redistribution policy of Comrade Bob and no other African country wants to take on the mantle of being an 'Uncle Tom' nation then Mugabe can do what he likes.

    So he does.

    I blame this Labour government. Claire Short particularly.

  • Comment number 42.

    Listen, I am not going to be popular for saying this but my English relatives and relatives of our friends too who have been in SA for years, ALL say SA was better under apartheid.

    Yes, it was! Now they have to have electric gates around their houses, their car windows are smashed at the robots (traffic lights in our language), they have a real problem with violence from the local tribes.

    Zims. was better with Smith when it was Rhodesia; as Desmond Tutu said "the bread basket of Africa".

    Mad Bob won't give up till he dies - he is Chief of a Tribe and he's there for life. Mad Bob's cousin is married to Mugabe. We don't know the half of it.

    Perhaps the Foreign Office has some hang ups about our Colonial Days. Forget it. Work from NOW.

    Do we want more lawless immigrants with weapons, imported diseases, strange rituals, totally out for themselves with no interest in us, our laws or our culture - look at the Somalians here!

    As a staunch Conservative I hate to say it but for once Jacqui Smith is my hero! Hang on in there Jacqui.

  • Comment number 43.

    The Zimbabweans wanted rid of white rule, they wanted Mugabe.

    They were warned that they would get 'one man, one vote', once.

    They have got all that they wanted. We owe them nothing.

    The ones who are already here should be sent straight back as a simple message to the rest, 'it's your mess, you sort it out'.

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with the comment that Jacqui Smith is just being alarmist. Zimbabweans have been jumping ship for years now because of the political impasse that has led to the country economic downfall, not cholera or even HIV which has taken more lives than cholera!

    The use of fake documentation is hardly a Zimbabwean problem. Many people from different countries all over the world have been trying this since time immemorial, and I believe its wrong to try and single out Zimbabweans for this, just because there has been cholera. Given the new developments in biometric passports and checks, certainly a few numbers dare to try using fake documentation now and their chances of getting through limited.

    A few days ago I watched a programme on CNN on how the world ignored atrocities in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. Thousands had to die brutally before the world leaders had the guts to do something about it. How many have to die before Zimbabwe gets intervention?

    The time for dialogue has long expired, is it going to take another 5 years for the world to see that?!

  • Comment number 45.

    Zimbabwe wanted independence, they fought for it & now they have it !
    no longer our problem !
    South Africa supported butcher bob because he was a liberation fighter (terrorist ?), they can now pick up the pieces !

    but to the loony left it must be the white man's fault !
    none of my money to Africa please !

  • Comment number 46.


    I'm a little fed up of hearing about the white mans burden. Africa does not even want the white man interfering and wants to sort it out alone.

    Meanwhile the Chinese are quietly cleaning up in Africa. They're all over Sudan and Zimbabwe and Zambia and any other number of African nations securing their oil and natural resources.

    In another generation the Africans will have a new colonial master.

  • Comment number 47.

    Our responsibilities for Zimbabwe stopped when Harold Wilson destroyed the legal government and handed the country over to a dictator. It is Africa's problem, not ours. This country is already stretched to the limit with immigrants from all the countries of Africa and a line must be drawn somewhere. Our own people must now come first, charity is all very well but the crass stupidity of allowing uncontrolled immigration is not charity , it is national suicide.

  • Comment number 48.

    The only way Zimbabwe is going to recover is if there is a revolution.

    Western intervention is not the answer. Havent we learned anything from Iraq and Afghan?

    Freedom from tyranny and oppression comes at a price. Considering how much of an electoral mandate Morgan Tsvangeri had, do we hear anything of what the MDC is either working towards or has acheived?

    Lets also keep things in perspective. Whilst Cholera is an insidious disease that is both treatable and preventable, Africa as a continent has far more pressing medical problems than a localised outbreak of Cholera, specifically rampant HIV/AIDS, Malaria and the (thankfully less rampant)presence of ebola.

    These diseases are killing people in their thousands, tens of thousands.

    And a note for those pressing for regime change... It wouldnt matter if they had oil or not. The UK does not have the capability to project power that deep into Africa nor the numbers of troops or the logistical ability to achieve it.

    Aint gonna happen.

    If Brown volunteers our troops for an African mission such as this, he will be making an enormous mistake.

  • Comment number 49.


    Zimbabwe............ if there was ever a case for UN intervention - then this was it.

    Our failed Iraq policy and planning means we don't have the resources or the moral respect from others to be able to step in.

    Delaying the Aircraft carriers, in favour of wally projects like ID cards, means that we continue to degrade our ability to help others around the world.

    Incidently ...... nice "resisting" of other news stories. Surely it is a remarkable political story that other Germans have come out to rubbish Brown's 'spin' from yesterday and to use the phrase 'failure of Labour policy'?

    "Peer Steinbrück's comments have nothing whatsoever to do with internal German politics as Prime Minister Brown has suggested. In questioning the British Government's approach, Peer Steinbrück is exactly expressing the views of the German Grand Coalition. After years of lecturing us on how we need to share in the gains of uncontrolled financial markets, the Labour politicians can't now expect us to share in it's losses. The tremendous amount of debt being offered by Britain shows a complete failure of Labour policy."

  • Comment number 50.

    The trouble with rights of asylum seekers, is like the trouble with a fully convertible currency on the gold standard.

    It only works so long as most people don't queue up and demand their rights. Just suppose that 5% of the Chinese were dissidents wanted to come to the UK?

    In practice, asylum in Britain is limited to those Zimbabweans who can afford an air ticket. The big problem now is with the neighbours. They certainly could invade Zimbabwe, and should do so. If not, let them deal with the refugees. Of course, adult able bodied refugees could be armed to help liberate their own country? Let's face it, in the UK our forbears fought for their own (and our) freedoms.

    The UK no longer does have a moral responsibility. Zimbabwe became independent a quarter of a century ago. It seemed to work reasonably well for a while, but Mugabe was never a Mandela unfortunately. The responsibility now rests with those neighbours who have sustained him in power for too long. I appreciate that it is difficult for them to accommodate the refugees, but they should either do so, or remove the cause of the problem. I'm sure they would get UN backing and help.

  • Comment number 51.

    Zimbabwe is a tragic story. When I last visited 10 years ago, it was one of the best run, prosperous countries in Africa. British trained, naturally.

    Britain was instrumental in removing the illegal white minority Smith government and holding free and fair democratic elections in which Mugabe was elected back in 1981(?). We should be proud of our role in establishing this black democracy.

    The decline began when Mugabe kicked out the white farmers, using blatantly racist propaganda and tactics, because he was worried they were supporting the opposition MDC, as is their right under a democracy. Britain has spoken out time and again against this racism and the wholesale destruction of the economy which has resulted. Despite this, we remain one of Zim's largest aid donors.

    But it is no longer our right or role to act: independence means just that. To think otherwise is sheer arrogance. We (and they) can't have it both ways. We have no strategic interest at stake; anything we do would just be seen as colonialist/racist; we don't even have the power to act even if we wanted to.

    It's up to those with a strategic interest, ie Zim's neighbours, to act.

    Re the issue of refuguees: there are 20+ million Zimbabweans. We can't fit them all into our already crowded little island. Frankly, right now, we can't afford to either.

    The best places anyway for the refugees are Zim's neighbouring countries: they are culturally and geographically much better placed to help than we are. We can help more people by providing aid and support locally than we can by accepting a very lucky few.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    okay, to be fair, one or two (probably one) person in the FO has said to you that "we think this is trying to justify tougher .... "

    There, that has brought it back down to the insignificant size that it should be.

    She has made a good point, although I doubt she thinks there will be a massive wave of refugees desperately gambling their future on forged papers, but their could be some.

    If they have cholera, the chances are they will be too sick to travel anywhere.

    Cholera is rarely spread from person to person, though this can happen. The reason it spreads so fast in refugee camps is that the bacteria which infests what is known as "rice water stool" gets into the ground water supply, potentially infecting everyone.

    The Home Secretary's warning is a useful reminder that we need to get out their, get hold of the refugees and get them into camps where hygiene is the paramount consideration. This will help protect them against the spread and allow the rapid treatment of those who are ill - cholera can kill within hours!

    But this only helps those who are coming out of Zimbabwe. With Mugabe going into denial mode "cholera no longer exists" (Bloomberg), the worry is that it will be left uncontrolled in Zimbabwe itself. despite the increased aid from the US

  • Comment number 54.

    Nick Robinson, I find your comments about Zimbabweans buying passports in South Africa and coming to Britain both stupid and outrageous! So this poor guy is dying from cholera, possibly hasnt worked in years, yet he has enough Zim dollars to convert into rands buy a passport buy a ticket and Bob's your uncle he's at Heathrow claiming asylum and begging to be allowed to be homeless in London.
    As for Zimbabweans staying in England who are not "entitled to claim benefits or work" I quote. How can these same people then stay here or make their way here at an unacceptably high cost to the tax payer!?
    Xenophobic racists like you are no different from Robert Mugabe, get your facts right. The majority of Zimbabweans in this country are hard working and law abiding and we cost taxpayers nothing because we pay taxes too!
    Find something else to write about baldy!

  • Comment number 55.

    Here is Gordon Brown's Christmas card for this year - I suspect Mugabe isn't on his Christmas list:

    Merry Christmas!

  • Comment number 56.







  • Comment number 57.

    Shame that Mugabe hasn't got any oil. Sorry, I meant Weapons of Mass Destruction pointed at us on a 45 minute trigger, or pictures of an alleged concentration camp like in Bosnia.

    "The fact is that Fikret Alic and his fellow Bosnian Muslims were not imprisoned behind a barbed wire fence. There was no barbed wire fence surrounding Trnopolje camp. It was not a prison, and certainly not a 'concentration camp', but a collection centre for refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished.

    The barbed wire in the infamous picture was not around the Bosnian Muslims; it was around the cameraman and the journalists. It formed part of a broken-down barbed wire fence encircling a small compound that was next to Trnopolje camp. The British news team filmed from inside this compound, shooting pictures of the refugees and the camp through the compound fence. In the eyes of many who saw them, the resulting pictures left the false impression that the Bosnian Muslims were caged behind barbed wire. "

    Then we may be able to see if Brown has the courage to take on a REAL humanitarian crisis. So far his cowardice is palpable and nauseating in equal measure.

  • Comment number 58.

    Many illegal Zimbabweans in the Uk may be working doing cleaning jobs or something to get by. Zimbabweans want nothing for nothing. We have a very high standard of education and living and in most cases we ask no-one for nothing. Why can't you allow those Zimbabweans to work and sustain themselves legally instead of hiding to survive. What gives you the right to play God over their lives, after all they are humans who are striving to survive. What have you got against Zimbabeans Ms Jaqquie Smith.

    Zimbabweans are definitely not used to hand outs. Please allow us to work and help our people at home.

    We are watching our loved ones die and be unmercilessly murdered by the hand of Mugabe. Why is the world watching this, why can they not help. You are accessories to the Zimbabweans plight, You sit and watch, yet you do nothing. Help Us

  • Comment number 59.


    I don't think that many people have yet understood what is actually happening.

    Yes Zimbabwe is now a failed state, it is bankrupt it has hyper-inflation there is Cholera which is in danger of spreading to other countries, because disease does not recognise artificial man-made borders.

    I firmly believe that this is a foretaste of what will happen on a global basis as the second Great Depression begins to bite.

    If Gordon wants it in his terms then this is Global Downturn II. When we see the collapse of the American car industry then surely everybody can see that Keynesian economoic policy, in the long run, does not work.

    Zimbabwe cannot be saved from its fate, but neither can many other countries which will face similar problems. We are in for a terrible time and the politicians, philosophers, and economists just do not know what to do. They are completely lost, they have no narrative and will try to do what they can to save themselves let alone the rest of us.

  • Comment number 60.

    talk about dodging the top story.

    What about some comment that a second German Government spokesperson has said that Browns fiscal stimulus is wrong. He went on to say that Brown was incorrect to dress it up as "internal politics"

  • Comment number 61.

    Is it just me or are the majority of the blog comments being made by rabid conservatives with a small 'c'? Is this an example of right wing spamming? Or people suffering from multiple conspiracy theory syndrome. I would find these debates more interesting if people were not continuously looking for somebody to blame. Usually Nick Robinson or Gordon Brown, yawn.
    The issue here is that Zimbabweans are in serious trouble and understandably looking to the UK, or anywhere else for an escape route. Do we have an obligation to look after them due to our colonial past? I would say yes, but with certain limitations - and introducing Visa applications to neighbouring countries would be a good way of doing this.
    Meanwhile any UK government would have to be diplomatically cautious about any action with regard to Zimbabwe, because of frequent accusations by African countries of post-colonial interference.

  • Comment number 62.


    just to say that I heard David Milliband on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning. He was asked about the fall in the currency, and completely failed to answer the question when asked was it not Gordon Brown who said that a weak currency was the sign of a weak economy.

    When pressed he said that he would not get involved in a running commentary on the issue. Now should we apply the same logic to everything.

    Zimbabwe, no running commentary, national security, immigrants overload the system

    The occupation of Iraq, no commentary, disloyal to the country.

    Dafur, DR Congo, Chad/Cameroon Oil Pipeline Project, no running commentary, foreign governments,

    China, no running comentary, need to borrow their money to support our failing economy

    Germany, oh no commentary, I mean they know where a failed economy ends up

    The war in Afghanistan, no commentary , national security, disloyal, war on terror.

    The state of the economy, no commentary, playing with peoples jobs, disloyal to to the country, national security

    Aircraft Carriers for the Navy, no commentary, national security, build them and then mothball them

    Glenrothes Bye-election, no commentary, ok we announced the aircraft carriers just before the election and now...we won it so!

    Leaks to MPs, no commentary, ongoing inquiry, disloyal, national security

    Government failures, Gordon doing a great job, everybody agrees, national crisis, we must all pull together

    I think you get my drift, so is there anything else where we should leave the narrative to the politicians. Mind you what on earth would we do with you if you keep saying there will be no running commentary, except from the politicians of course.

    In the meantime there will be no cover-up in Downing Street.

  • Comment number 63.

    This announcement and this blog are just a smoke screen to get us talking about anything but what the Germans have said about our fiscal stimulus.

    The Mods can delete anything that mentions it as off topic

  • Comment number 64.

    Lets just stay out of it shall we.

    Every time Brown opens his mouth he adds power Mugabes elbow.

    We should just quietly get tough with South Africa, only they can resolve this.

    I bet if the EU and US stopped all flights to and from South Africa Mugabe would be dead in a fortnight.

    But that would be bad for business wouldnt it... forget I mentioned it.

    Lets just face the fact we dont really give a dam...much more important things going on at Woolworths like half price iorning boards.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm left wondering exactly what is the point of the government rhetoric.

    Does closing our borders to the refugees say "we want nothing to do with you" or "you must remove Mugabe because we can't get support from other nations"?

    Either way, all this decision ensures is that the refugees will gather on the borders causing problems for those countries and Mugabe will presumably struggle on with fewer mouths to feed.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Are all the governments in the world spineless when it comes to Zimbabwe.
    Come on Putin, you invaded Georgia to protect the people of Osettia, so lets see what kind of world leader you are. Apologies to Putin's puppet but I cannot remember his name.
    As for our government, well the latest priority seems to be hiding cigarretes under shop counters.
    Oh and South Africa your a joke.

  • Comment number 68.

    The message should be simple and blunt

    "NO ENTRY"

    Anyone arriving at any gateway to the United Kingdom without valid and certifiable accreditation should be sent back IMMEDIATELY from whence they came!.

    No more illegal immigrants
    No more freeloading so-called political prisoners.

    IF the people of Zimbabwe are so desperately unhappy at their plight - there is a simple solution...

    Get rid of Mugabe themselves! whatever means they see fit..

    Its not a British problem,its not a European problem,its an African problem and Africa must sort it out!

  • Comment number 69.

    Plenty of REmovals today.

    Pickfords at the PC BBC are SOOO Busy.


  • Comment number 70.

    If Zwimbabwe's economy is in such a mess and they have people scavenging and begging for food and no one has any money then I have just two questions?

    1) How can they afford to come to the UK?

    2) Even if they could afford it would anyone in their right mind want to come to the brave new world of ZanuLabour?

  • Comment number 71.

    the Zims must learn to govern themselves.
    Will the MDC be any better than ZanuPF?


    Will South Africa be any better if we help the Zims?

    Waste of time and effort.

  • Comment number 72.

    Zimbabwe is an Africa problem and will have to be solved by Africa. When they agree to do so it will be solved overnight. Nothing that we in the West can do will make any positive difference. Until then we should require visas to travel to the UK from anywhere in the African continent.

    About 30% of the adult population in Southern Africa has contracted Hive/Aids. Are we in Britain supposed to pay for retro-viral drugs for 30% of the people coming into the UK then not be allowed to return them to their own country because they wouldn't receive treatment because that is the reality of our current policy?

  • Comment number 73.

    We need Zimbabwen's coming into the U.K. at this time of our worse ever Recession, like we need a Hole in our Heads.

    For a start this will place a direct burden upon our already under-funded NHS, secondly we do not have enought Social Housing going spare in any of our Town's, or Cities.
    Thirdly, We don't have any Employment places, for Non - Educated People who will end up on State Benefit at a time when we are told that everyone should have a Job at this time of a Rising - Tide in Unemployment that is exspected to last for mant Years.
    Fourthly, we will find that most of these Zimbabwen's don't even speak English.

    Britain is too over - populated already, how many more can we take?

  • Comment number 74.

    Much hand-wringing and little else by the Brown government over Zimbabwe is a dangerous game.

    Prime Minister Brown has about the same results in Southern Africa as Mbeki and Mugabe's mutual strategy to solve a problem. It is to believe there is no problem: Crisis what crisis? Now that there is no cholera, there is no cause for war. The ANC is ZANU-PF is New Labour is Old Labour.

    These parties make the same difference in rhetoric and resolve. They look to their own partisan interests. Besides that how can one unelected statesman tell another unelected statesman that he is illegimately in power? That this is a political stalemate of note seems to be a fait accompli.

  • Comment number 75.

    #73 - LondonHarris - you are essentially correct, but the UK has been totally betrayed by the moral cowardice of our political classes. It was clear during the recent boom years that the immigration and asylum system was completely unfit for purpose - now we are in recession, it is completely unsuited to our times.

    The asylum system must be scrapped and replaced with a proper system for helping genuine refugees and all immigration to the UK from outside the EU must be halted forthwith.

    It is time our supposed Government started to look after the interests of its own citizens. This country is full to bursting and with mass unemployment looming, that it plain scary!

  • Comment number 76.

    #55 johnathan_cook

    Love it! Brightened up my morning that has :)

    #51 bluntjeremy

    Nail on the head, well said.

  • Comment number 77.

    66. post removed. In essence it said that our cold weather wouldn't and doesn't suit them. Nature equipped them for the immense heat. Think about it.

  • Comment number 78.

    #51. At 09:25am on 12 Dec 2008, bluntjeremy wrote:
    "Re the issue of refuguees: there are 20+ million Zimbabweans. We can't fit them all into our already crowded little island. Frankly, right now, we can't afford to either.

    The best places anyway for the refugees are Zim's neighbouring countries: they are culturally and geographically much better placed to help than we are. We can help more people by providing aid and support locally than we can by accepting a very lucky few."

    Your post is 100% spot on. If only our pathetic, self serving politicians could be as honest and clear. This country is very badly served by its political classes.

    As for Zimbabwe - South Africa is the regional power and it is scandalous that it has sat by and allowed Mugabe to completely destroy a once prosperous and stable nation on its border.

  • Comment number 79.

    #51. bluntjeremy: Tragic decline yes, but primarily because Smith an upholder of civilised British rule went under the rod of idiots like Carrington. The fruits of Lancaster House speak very loudly in Zimbabwe. Never mind failing the burdensome Zimbabwean asylum seekers, what about our forgotten needy Brits out there like
    thousands of OAP's with British pensions frozen now facing penury, disease and starvation in a hostile Zimbabwe. The Harare airlift was overdue years ago with constant tension and malice of the Zanu-PF
    directed against Zimbabwe's favourite whipping boy - the last few remaining British settlers. Whose side are we really on?

    Does anyone out there care about helping British pensioners in Zimbabwe? The answer is No! We apathetically worry more about Mugabe's Zimbabwean nationals getting safe asylum back home here in their green and pleasant land. Something is seriously wrong with this picture where kith and kin are inhumanely usurped by years of pathetic political correctness and socialist human rights charters.

  • Comment number 80.

    reading through the above posts 99.9% not wanting Zims. immigrants, migrants, refugees here. Call it what you want.

    ok, Jacqui, Crash Gordon that's a NO.

    But perhaps it helps you for us the state the bloomin obvious because ZanuLabour don't seem to see it.

  • Comment number 81.

    Whilst I agree that the countries of Southern Africa need to be a lot tougher on Mugabe and exert as much pressure as possible to oust him, I am appalled at some of the comments on this blog, especially those attacking 'the loony left' and saying 'this is Africa's problem' and 'none of my money to Africa, please'.

    Iraqis and Afghanistanis never asked for world intervention, but of course the situation was a good excuse to stabilise and take control of vast oil supplies, whereas Morgan Tsvangirai (representing at least half of Zimbabwe) BEGGED Western nations to intervene and Mr Brown and co made a few gruff noises, wagged a few fingers and moved on with life.


    What you people clearly don't appreciate is that centuries of British occupation and pillaging of other countries' natural resources created the fantastic infrastructure you now enjoy (yes, in comparison to the vast majority of the world, your infrastructure is fantastic) and their natural resources created Britain's abundant wealth that paid for your NHS, generous pension funds, and anti-poverty schemes (those who think people in Britain live in poverty should go visit a shanty town or two to see what real poverty looks like).

    No, Britain does not ‘owe’ support to Zimbabwe, but morally I wouldn’t expect anything less than the same assistance it extended to those poor Middle Eastern nations it now occupies…

  • Comment number 82.

    We owe nothing to Zimbabweans (or others) except our compassion. If that means we allow someone into our country because they have a genuine need then we must do that, and properly integrate those that are allowed in.

    What we must not do, is allow every Tom, Dick & Harry from Africa into the UK, because of a guilty colonial past, or because UK is better and therefore it's only fair!
    The immigration policy as it stands has been a disgrace.

    For example, vurtually everyone from the DR Congo wants to escape to Europe - specifically France, Belgium or the UK, and they will do whatever is necessary to get here. Cholera or not.

    We now have MPs speaking French during their surgeries because there are so many immigrants from Francophone African countries. This is also a disgrace.

    I spend much of my work in Africa. I cannot imagine how long it would take to properly integrate some of these people who come from countries with values fundamentally different to ours - where life is cheap, pity does not exist, and getting what you want/need always involves either corruption or violence.

    What do we do? We allow huge groups of these people to form inner-city ghettos (in the name of multi-culturalism) where they apply their own values and live as they did in Kinshasa - and wonder why there is a growing problem with criminal gangs and knife crime.

    Yes we have our own home-grown problems - but then the police force was designed to deal with those numbers. The amount of self-inflicted problems, notwithstanding the loss of culture and ethos, and inability to deal with the problems is down to a wet or non-existent immigration policy.

    It is now probably too late to do anything to recover the situation.

  • Comment number 83.

    The situation is Zimbabwe is appalling, and whilst innocent people are dying, Mugabe continues to oppress the population and defy his electoral defeat. He urgently needs to let in relief workers who know what they are doing. At the moment, even the BBC is banned.

    Swift action is needed to restore safe drinking water.

    They need to remove the sewerage - and that includes Mugabe.

  • Comment number 84.

    #80. flamepatricia: When things are getting worse and worse, the last thing a nanny state government will do is entrust it to the vote.

    If it were put to the vote in 1948 at least 99.9% would have voted to sink The Empire Windrush before it docked at Tilbury.
    Successive British governments couldn't agree legislation controlling immigration until at least 1962.

    Thankfully no one got to vote NO back then. Look at Great Britain today. Grateful white women everywhere. So what if we add a few million more Zimbabweans to the melting pot history of multiracialism in the United Kingdom.

    Good humoured Englishmen know that if cold water is slowly heated, the frog will never jump out in time before boiling point is reached. Start handing out free tickets to them illegals in Harare.

  • Comment number 85.

    81. At 11:43am on 12 Dec 2008, jbktorias wrote: "What you people clearly don't appreciate is that centuries of British occupation and pillaging of other countries' natural resources created the fantastic infrastructure you now enjoy (yes, in comparison to the vast majority of the world, your infrastructure is fantastic) and their natural resources created Britain's abundant wealth that paid for your NHS, generous pension funds, and anti-poverty schemes".

    That old canard. So, our wealth and prosperity was not created by the hard work and grind of our own working classes during the 18th and 19th centuries? So our "dark satanic mills" did not create our wealth. So our enterprise and ingenuity did not create the industrial revolution?

    Yes, we had an empire and for a time (to our shame) we tolerated slavery, but to suggest the wealth of this country was created by colonialism is a travesty which dismisses the hard work, suffering and enterprise of the peoples of these islands!

  • Comment number 86.

    Once again Smith reveals a tendancy to talk first and think afterwards. This is blatent scaremongering and every time it happens it undermines any sensible thing she might say.
    Is it just me or does she really seem to think that the job of the Home Secretary is to introduce new rules to control people? I'd far rather than instead of introducing new rules that she just did the job so that the rules we already have are implemented - or is that just too much to ask ?

  • Comment number 87.

    Somebody on here saying we enjoy a great infrastructure as compared with African countries.

    Well yes we do. However, poverty is subjective and relative. A "poor" African living in a mud hut with no tv, MP3 player, mobile phone, takeaway food, etc etc etc. does not actually know or think they are "poor".

    My relatives in SA tell me that the SA government gives handouts to these people to help them out of their mud huts but, you know what, they spend it all on beer and skittles. They don't want to leave the life they have always known.

    Maybe it is us who are squiffy about it. Look at their faces on the tv news reports. They don't actually seem to care one way or another.

    I do agree they could be helped to live a better life but you are treading a fine line between what they need and what WE think they need.

  • Comment number 88.

    Most Zimbabweans are lovely people - honest and industrious.

    They are going through a difficult time.

    Let's help them out: we'll take in bona fide refugees if they agree to take our ZaNuLabour government and its 'world-saving' ministers off our hands.

  • Comment number 89.

    #81. jbktorias: Well-meaning as you are in suggesting we OWE it all to Zim refugees.

    It is the UK government's duty to act to protect what is in British interests, and that is to immediately bar all inbound flights from Southern Africa into the UK until the South African authorities will agree to guarantee the validity of the travel documents its own citizens hold.

    Possibly infected Zimbabweans fleeing a cholera stricken country to successfully enter the UK using fake South African passports poses a serious health risk to the entire population of the British Isles.

    South Africa's Department of Home Affairs will be sobered by this course of action,
    but if the Home Office does not act Britain will end up with a burgeoning problem
    like Calais where France's illegal migrants are encouraged to simply slip across to England because it is seen as a soft touch on refugees and asylum seekers.

    At UK immigration centres there is real crisis to ensure all detainees receive free Sky and many other comforts of home where ZBC TV is hogged by bloated and unelected ZANU-PF demagogues.

  • Comment number 90.

    Mugabe: There is no cholera in Zimbabwe

    Brown: No more Boom and Bust

  • Comment number 91.

    Tragic though the Zimbabwe situation is I'm not convinced it needs analysis by the political editor of the BBC?

    What's the matter Nick, did your mini rebellion yesterday get your knuckles rapped?

    For my two pennys worth the first step to solving Zimbabwe's problems is for Mugabe to die as soon as possible, surely someone can arrange that?!

  • Comment number 92.

    Well said that man - you have to understand that 90% of the users of this blog are bitter bigots lacking any milk of human kindness.
    They keep threatening to leave the country. If they don't like a caring government - why not try Zimbabwe?
    Bring it on!
    Ha ha

  • Comment number 93.

    #57 I seem to remember that was the subject of a libel action in which Penny Marshall and ITN won a substantial sum of money against a magazine which put forward the same argument you just did.

  • Comment number 94.


    The whole "Empire" argument is defunct and we must wean ourselves off using it. Times have changed. The moral views inflicted on us/by us in days of other centuries no longer exist. The Empire created problems - yes, and caused pain and suffering - yes. But there was no avoiding it. If it wasn't us, it would have been someone else. It is the way the world develops. There was no UN or world police force to stop it.

    What we can do, however, is put today's moral values onto today's problems. Of course, our moral values do not often correspoond with those in the third world and vice-versa - and hence the problem. The Government does not understand this. Gulf wars, our ineffectual 2.3 Tn pounds of aid into Africa over the last 50 years have achieved nothing of significance (except putting money into the pockets of dictators who subjugate their people in the way colonial leaders might even have considered excessive!

    So let's try to get over the easy socialist argument and guilt of empire. Here is a plain (some will find contraversial) statement - Without it, we would not be celebrating the first Black President of America.

  • Comment number 95.

    Whilst we are on Colonialism:

    We lost India. Mind you, we have most of it back now.

  • Comment number 96.

    #92. At 12:02pm on 12 Dec 2008, Laughatthetories wrote:

    Well said that man - you have to understand that 90% of the users of this blog are bitter bigots lacking any milk of human kindness."

    No, not bigots but realists.

  • Comment number 97.

    92 Laugh.

    That is fundamentally not true. It is abusive and blinkered. I work for charities and we provide what we can on a largish scale. Our immigration policies have failed. You give a typical Labour apologist flat view, based on an immovable prejudice, without any real consideration.

  • Comment number 98.

    I do hope all those people saying that it’s none of our concern and we should wash our hands all support UK’s membership of the EU. I also hope they are not the ones who say we should get out of the EU and rebuild our links with Common Wealth.

    So the Common Wealth citizens are no longer going to be supported by the UK, fine then cut them free and give them their own heads of state, admit that great age of Britain ruling anything land or sea is over. Gives us the delightful option to sink on our own or finally bow down and accept European partnership.

    By all means also ban any immigration from outside the EU, no matter the religion or colour of your skin. I’m happy with banning American’s, Canadian’s and Australian’s from the UK, or don’t they count since most of them are rich and white?

    Personally I think the UK does bare some responsibility for Zim, not saying we should go in guns blazing or accept every immigrant with open arms, but we helped put Mugabe in power through our actions and inactions last century. I thought we were British, not American and did not simply walk away from our mistakes!

  • Comment number 99.

    So much for "moses" brown saving the world then! Would that be the world except for Germany, the US and now Zimbabwee?

    Anyway, back to the subject.

    The UK cannot continue trying to support everyone from these countries who cannot sustain themselves. It's long past time for the powers that be to publicly admit that there are far too many people in the world.

    With Zimbabwee, there are plenty other african nations who are not lifting a finger to help. It's their problem not ours.

    As a final point - how many countries are between Zimbabwee and the UK? We need to ask ourselves WHY they want to come here, that's the basic problem.

    And of course this incompetent government is incapable of controlling immigration.

  • Comment number 100.

    #85. crowdedisland: Well said! Amazing how much working-class human history a bleeding heart can trample in a few lines.

    Monsters like Mugabe and his ilk cannot keep on packing all Zimbabwean problems on the UK. Send us your nurses and doctors but for God's sake leave the AIDS victims and Cholera sufferers on the landing strip!

    The Foreign Office would like to avoid any more ugly fingers of blame pointed at Britain's ostensible guilt over the bleeding orphans of her Empire. Yet more sidestepping of the real issues to avoid muddying the waters over Zimbabwe. That route will eventually mean burdening UK residents with more huddled masses and an added risk of pandemic cholera or other social virulence.

    Zimbabweans are seriously ignorant of the one glaring yet overlooked problem they face. And that is what to do when Mugabe is gone, unlikely as it seems, that the old man could drop dead in office at some point. Yet when the people of Zimbabwe do finally relieve themselves of Mugabe's regime they may find many of their woes have only just begun. Britain's problem again in future? Hopefully not...a stitch in time etc.

    Other bloody minded men like Mugabe or worse will doubtless emerge to assume his position and fill the vacuum. Unfortunately this is an African problem being dealt with in the usual African way. It will be short on steps with no sense of urgency for people dying there in droves as usual. Gingerly stepping over the bodies is by now the accepted role of UN peacekeepers - arriving just in time for mopping up operations in the aftermath.


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