Advertising watchdog probes Home Office ‘Go Home’ illegal immigrant campaign

30th Aug 2013

Advertising watchdog probes Home Office ‘Go Home’ illegal immigrant campaign
[The Home Office has been condemned for the campaign, which has seen mobile vans drive through six London boroughs carrying billboards telling illegal immigrants to return home voluntarily.]

Elham Asaad Buaras

The Home Office’s contentious ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ campaign is under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)  after the watchdog received 60 complaints from the public accusing the campaign of being racist, misleading and inciting racial tension.

The Home Office has been condemned for the campaign, which has seen mobile vans drive through six London boroughs carrying billboards telling illegal immigrants to return home voluntarily.

The billboards have been driven around the London boroughs of Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge.

Leaflets and posters highlighting the advantages of returning home voluntarily were also circulated.

The ASA has is now investigating whether not the advert is in violation of the advertising code because it is offensive and irresponsible.

Many of the complainants believe that the adverts are “reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past and could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities.”

The campaign has also caused a rift in the Coalition, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal-Democrats, Nick Clegg, has described the campaign as not a “clever” way to deal with immigration while Business Secretary, Vince Cable, branded it “stupid” and “offensive”.

Former member of the ASA’s Council and Labour Peer Lord David Lipsey, is among the complainants who argued that the campaign was misleading by claiming that: ‘106 arrests last week in your area’, because it implies arrest is the automatic consequence of remaining in the UK without permission.

“The Government is deliberately misleading the public by aggregating figures over an area which no one would describe as theirs,” said Lord Lipsey.

“If the Government is to mount a campaign of this nature, it is incumbent on it to ensure that it does not exaggerate or lie, in breach of the advertising code of practice.”

He added: “On the face of things, this advert falls far short of the standards insisted on by the ASA. I have accordingly asked it to rule urgently on its acceptability.”

Criticism of the campaign has not been exclusive to Labour and Liberal-Democrat politicians. Conservative MP Douglas Carswell described the billboards as an illustration of “the breathtaking stupidity of the people in charge of our immigration system knows no bounds.”

Downing Street initially defended the campaign insisting the billboards were attracting “a great deal of interest” and confirmed that an evaluation of the pilot scheme could lead to it being rolled out more widely.

The Prime Minister’s office said: “This pilot that is currently running is about targeting [illegal immigrants] and it is working.”
A spokesman for the Home Office confirmed to The Muslim News that they are in contact with the ASA “over this investigation and will respond in due course” but refused to comment if the pilot scheme is to be extended.

Human Rights organisations including Amnesty, Refugee Action and Freedom from Torture, described the campaign as a cynical ploy that would foster hostility toward minority groups.

One Response to “Advertising watchdog probes Home Office ‘Go Home’ illegal immigrant campaign”

Iftikhar AhmadAugust 31, 2013

Anyone who arrives from overseas, to work, to pay income tax , national insurance, who wants to contribute to our economy and society should be made very welcome in our country. The vacancies they fill are mostly the jobs that most local people avoid like the plague. A vast majority of economic migrants are ambitious,resourceful,possess,”A Can-Do” attitude and a very strong work ethic. just like the one’s who leave the U.K. to make their fortunes in Canada,Australia,New Zealand, The U.S.A..Dubai etc. So the next time we are served in a shop,or restaurant, when we are cared for in a hospital or taking the night bus home,or ask directions from a stranger and,” Shock of Shocks” they turn out NOT to be a White Anglo Saxon native English speaker. Perhaps we can be a little more compassionate, welcoming, considerate and refuse to,”Buy in” to the hysteria that the DM,U.K.I.P and all the other bigots would like to create. It’s funny how British people complain about Europeans. But Europeans are not the ones on benefits. Europeans that come to Britain cannot afford to be on benefits and that is not how they were raised in their countries, that is why they migrate don’t you think??? Otherwise they could sit on benefits in their own countries and still have (most of them) sun all year round! If it wasn’t for foreign workers, Britain would be far worse than it is. Employers have found that foreign workers are prepared to work much harder than the locals so he employs mostly foreigners. This is not to say that the Brits are lazy, but I would say that people who immigrate from their home country do so in order to earn money and therefore they are prepared to work harder. The vast majority work hard, pay their taxes and contribute to the British economy. How are they able to move to the UK and get jobs? Simple – the 2.5 million Britons who are parasites on capitalism and too lazy to get a job. If the Britons who are state scroungers got off their lardy arses and got a job, there’d be no jobs for immigrant workers and they’d go elsewhere. The root of the problem is that state benefits in the UK are too high and people see no economic reason for becoming a decent member of society.

I have to say that this really can only be a good thing. If they are here for work, then great. These people provide better levels of service and are much more attractive and cosmopolitan. I have to say that I prefer the Mediterranean attitude to life. The Brits with their binge drinking, kebabs, street fighting and vomiting could really learn a thing or two from their new guests. So welcome, one and all. People from foreign countries have a reputation for working for a living, so what’s the problem? It’s people with a culture of thieving and dishonesty that I would baulk at.


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