June 13, 2006

Deportation rocks an island community: People on a small Scottish island are protesting the UK Government's deportation of a young man of Thai-origin.

This tight-knit community has been shocked by the deportation. So far a third of the population of Shetland has signed a petition calling for the release of Sakchai Makao, who was a lifeguard at a local swimming pool.
The reason for his deportation is thought to be a conviction he had in 2004 for fire-raising after getting drunk with a friend (details at bottom of page). He served 15months and on his release was re-instated into his job, and as an athlete went on to represent Shetland and Scotland in the International Island Games.
At the moment the UK Home Office is very aggressively following-up "foreign criminals" since their recent scandals and the press criticism that followed: e.g "We have lost 446 foreign criminals, says Home Office", " Deport more foreign convicts", "Three murderers and nine rapists head list of lost foreign criminals"
Seems ironic that they're deporting this well-integrated and popular young athlete, when the Scottish Executive is promoting the "One Scotland" campaign to welcome migrants and on Shetland other drunken crimes of various sorts take place... with no threat of deportation.

  • So, where do you want to deport those UK born drunks to?
  • The punishment for his crime is going way too far. Torching cars & cabins is not an unusual pastime for Scottish youth. Why, in my day, we were torching whole factories & winos. The government is to blame for not providing larger & more readily burnable structures for the young people of Shetland.
  • @berek We have an island called Rum - with no pubs. @chyren Shetlanders have got a kickass fire festival. Those vikings are a bad influence on today's youth.
  • Excellent post.
  • Since the Aliens Act of 1905, which instituted the first systematic restriction on immigration to the UK, immigration law has been driven by ignorance, suspicion and simplistic jingoism. Here's what the ever-execrable Daily Mail had to say on the matter on 20 August 1938: The way stateless Jews from Germany are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage—the number of aliens entering the country through back door—a problem to which the Daily Mail has repeatedly pointed. I'm not sure we've made much progress since then.
  • Absolutely sickening that individuals like Mr Makao are going to pay the price for a ministerial cock-up. Government by media cycle. It's not pretty.
  • What, exactly, is the current legal situation regarding Shetland and the UK, and Shetland and Scotland? This seems to indicate Scotland has no actual authority,and that the Home Office does, so now I'm confused.
  • I believe all immigration matters are still under the jurisdiction of Westminster.
  • Thanks, rocket88. Here I've been assuming Scotland was a nation -- though, according to the Wikipedia, it lacks the usual range of powers one associates with a nation. ... subjects that are reserved to and dealt with at Westminster (and where Ministerial functions usually lie with UK Government ministers). These include abortion, broadcasting policy, civil service, common markets for UK goods and services, constitution, electricity, coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy, defence and national security, drug policy, employment, foreign policy and relations with Europe, most aspects of transport safety and regulation, National Lottery, protection of borders, social security and stability of UK's fiscal, economic and monetary system. Have to regard it now as a crippled nationhood. Hmmph!
  • This seems to suggest that the Scottish government is a glorified town council. Would that be an unreasonable assessment?
  • More like a glorified regional assembly. The Scottish parliament has powers over education, civil law, the legal system functions slightly differently, that sort of thing. It's a nation, but not a nation-state. The nation it belongs to is the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland, which is made up of two nations, a principality (Wales) and a province (Northern Ireland). 12 pence to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, warm beer, unreported rural murder.
  • The Scottish Executive's site has a list of devolved and reserved matters. Surely Wales is a nation, Monkey Haus? I'd say Northern Ireland was too, perhaps less uncontroversially. I'll be surprised if the deportation doesn't fail on appeal.
  • Wales was annexed by England in 1282, and so is not so much a separate nation as Scotland is. As far as nations and states are defined, the whole United Kingdom/England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland situation is unique and somewhat complicated.
  • i'd consider wales a nation. it has a national assembly and an international rugby team. however, it's administratively closer to england than scotland is, and the legal system is shared. northern ireland, i dunno. the unionists seem to want to be considered british, and the nationalists seem to want to be considered irish. the historical province of ulster includes three counties that are not part of the northern ireland political entity. there are some important differences in the voting systems used in northern ireland for certain elections when compared with the rest of the uk. to add to the confusion, there's a northern ireland soccer team, but a single irish rugby team. all nine counties of ulster compete in gaelic games for the provincial championship.
  • Thanks Plegmund - great news (with the caveat that there's a chance that the Home Office may appeal). The fact that justice finally prevailed and 10,000 Shetlanders supported him will hopefully take away some of the nasty taste left by his treatment from the knee-jerk cretins in the UK Home Office. Here's the story from the Shetland News and the Scotsman newspaper.
  • I am opposed on principle to anyone's being punished twice for one offense, regardless of what the offense is. Once someone serves a sentence and is released back into society, that should be an end of the matter. You don't suddenly decide two years or ten years or x number of years later -- ooops, this one's not been punished enough, now we're going to toss him/her out of the country. That is not justice, that's being whimsical.