What hasn’t yet reached the point of visibility is the real reason why the UKBA cock-up is life-threatening.
Whatever the argy-bargy, we know that Theresa May’s Home Office condoned (at the very least) the lifting of strict migration checks. Quite how far that complacency went is open to debate, a debate not yet near finality; but it is common ground that May’s Home Office was aware that the strict checks were off. And that knowledge went to ministerial level. May is dumping on everyone around her: either she shuts up or Brodie Clark (suspended from UKBA) will sing loud-and-long to the Home Affairs Committee and (unless he is bought off — an admission of guilt in itself) to an industrial tribunal or whatever.
Now shift focus.
Ever since the General Election campaign Cameron has been banging on about the need to cut numbers of migrants. He has made two very important speeches (14th April and 10th October — hardly coincidentally with semi-annual regularity) this year alone. His repeated phrasing has been “tens of thousands” not “hundreds of thousands”, and a return to 1980s levels of immigration.
Let’s not argue that for now — though the historic numbers are here — and they aren’t “tens of thousands”.
What does leap out, though, is how on earth numbers can be assessed, when nobody is doing the count.
Whatever formula of words were agreed with Brodie Clark and UKBA — and Yvette Cooper had the leaked text — if not May, then Damian Green underwrote a plan to make sure such a count was impossible, at least over the summer peak.
And that takes the doggie doo-dah right onto Cameron’s doorstep.