Newly published from myself on Manchester Mule:

The student movement against fees and cuts has been a pretty big fail by our stated goals so far. Tuition fees have tripled, our teaching budgets are still being cut by 80 percent, and I don’t think anyone outside the student bubble even noticed the day the Commons voted to stop thousands of 16 year olds from getting to school now they won’t be receiving their Educational Maintenance Allowance. And much of the Daily Mail readership now thinks that students are scrounging, racist, violent thugs. The student movement hasn’t had a great campaign to date.

Or have we? Let’s look at these statistics.

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Dear Ms. May,

I am writing to you with great concern regarding the pending deportation of Brenda Namigadde this week. Brenda came here in 2003 fleeing persecution as a lesbian. Even setting aside the horrors of a system that has left her in legal limbo for no less than eight years, it seems hard to believe that very system has also apparently deemed her not a lesbian. Given that Brenda fled to the UK in the first place as she faced threats on her life because she was living with her female partner, Janet Hoffman, I can only wonder by what criteria the immigration service deemed someone gay at all.

However, regardless of these questions, which go well beyond the specifics of an individual case, the fact remains that of Brenda Namigadde is deported to Uganda, she will be arrested, tortured, and killed. Whether she is in fact lesbian or not, though all evidence before everyone but the judge suggest that she is indeed gay, is absolutely irrelevant to this case: the Ugandan government clearly believe that she is a lesbian, and will duly persecute her as they persecute all homosexuals. David Bahati, a Ugandan MP, has already called for her to “repent or reform”, saying that “Brenda is welcome in Uganda if she will abandon or repent her behaviour. Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn’t want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals.” Mr. Bahati is also responsible for trying to introduce a law that would sentence people found guilty of gay sex with life imprisonment. Only international pressure has commuted his original attempt to introduce the death penalty.

With this background then, it seems unfathomable that as a nation we can be knowingly sending a woman back to her certain death because of ideological views on immigration. Economic migration is a matter of fair debate, but when the Daily Mail holds sway over our policy-making over asylum seekers, we are playing with people’s lives for political expediency. As an LGBT person myself, I am horrified that the rights which I have the luxury of taking for granted, like the right to life, the right not to be tortured, the right to be out and proud, are to be denied to another simply because of the country she was born in.

As Home Secretary. you have the power to stop this from happening. I beg you to re-examine Brenda’s case and intervene so that she can have the right to life she is entitled to and we do not have blood on our hands.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah McCulloch

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