Author: Annabal Bagdi
Beverley Knight has joined the campaign for justice for the Windrush generation, warning that there has been a ‘build up of isolationist rhetoric’ in Britain.
The Wolverhampton-born songstress, whose parents came to Britain from Jamaica in the late 1950s and early 1960s, said the UK needed a ‘fresh approach’ to immigration.
She was asked about the Windrush scandal, which has seen thousands of migrants that were invited to the UK from the Commonwealth face deportation over their residency rights.
“I am shocked that this has happened, but if I’m honest I’m not entirely surprised,” she said.
“To me it would appear that Britain is saying to the wider Commonwealth, ‘you are something very very separate to us, until we need you, until we need you for trading or whatever purposes’, and it feels to me as though the message that’s being communicated to the sons and daughters of the Windrush generation, whether born here or not, it feels as though the message is ‘you’re British until you’re not, until we tell you’.”
Knight added: “The first thing that needs to happen, two words, ‘fix it’. [Compensation] is just the beginning, the rhetoric needs to be broken down.
“The compensation needs to happen pretty swiftly, the Government need to apologise to the people concerned, not to the Commonwealth leaders – that’s all very well behind closed doors, it needs to be to the very people caught up in this nightmare.
“They need to be reeling back some of the hostility, that needs to be rolled back now.
“We see what language can do, it’s so powerful. I deal with language, that’s what I do as a songwriter and actress.
“Words are very powerful and you need to be very careful what you say and what you put into law, you need to be so careful. That needs to be rolled all the way back and we need a fresh approach to the entire question of immigration.”