I agree with Esmerelda that, considering the scum we let into this country, many of whom actively wish us harm, the Government's treatment of the Gurkhas has been despicable. Despicable, but not surprising. Now Gordon Brown has suffered a humiliating defeat - let's hope there will be many more. From The Telegraph:
In a significant blow to the Prime Minister's already fragile authority, MPs voted for a motion calling for the scrapping of new immigration rules that would prevent many Gurkhas coming to live in the country they served.
With the backing of Labour rebels and the Conservative Party, a Liberal Democrat motion demanding the admission of all Gurkha veterans and their families was passed by 267 to 241.
In all, 27 Labour MPs voted with the Opposition, and dozens more abstained, defying orders to support the Government. One ministerial aide, Stephen Pound, resigned from the Government to vote with the rebels.
The Commons vote was driven by rising public concern over the Government's treatment of the Gurkhas. The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday launched a campaign calling for them to be admitted, with an online petition attracting hundreds of supporters in only a few hours.
Gurkhas have served the British crown since 1815 and have amassed battle honours including 26 Victoria Crosses.
Gurkhas seeking the right to live in Britain have been supported by the actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served with a Gurkha regiment. Last night, she said she was "ecstatic" at the vote and thanked the "wonderful" backbenchers who defied the Government.
The Times leader comments:
Even the thickest-skinned of governments must be realising by now that, on the matter of offering a home to Gurkha veterans, it has not only misunderstood its moral obligations, but has also woefully misread the mood of the nation.
The denial of residency to 36,000 former Gurkhas because they served in the British Army before 1997 has made Britain look mean-spirited and, worse, morally blind.
In insisting that Britain has neither the room nor deep enough pockets to offer a berth to all former Gurkhas who have fought for this country - and been ready to die for it - the Government has behaved like Oscar Wilde's cynic: a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. To anyone but an accountant or a Home Office statistician, the response to the request from retired Gurkhas to be allowed to settle in Britain if they wish has never been a question of costs or of immigration, but a question of moral responsibility, justice and basic decency.
Neither of which forms any part of the make-up of New Labour.