by Micha Horgan

In this era of jaw-dropping politics and marionette-style blunders, Boris Johnson has done it again. This time, though he may not have landed any more mums in Persian clinks, it seems he’s just landed Britain in a little more shit.  

‘Is anyone else seeing this?’ I thought (admittedly with some relish) as I read that 600,000 Hong Kong citizens are, on Boris’s invitation, seeking permanent residency in the UK within the next two years. 

At the time the offer was made public, just a few months ago, I was a little surprised, but until reading recent headlines I, perhaps not unlike Johnson, had all but forgotten about it.

Taking up the mantle of a Norman Tebitt idea that was brought to the table in the 1990s – that people living in Hong Kong should come to the UK and bring their work ethics with them – Johnson, albeit rather bafflingly, has taken the same tactic at what might just be the single worst imaginable time to do so: at the precipice of Brexit and a crucial China-UK trade deal, and during China’s latest effort at imposing its political control over the city’s administration, quashing all opposition.

Johnson, albeit rather bafflingly, has taken the same tactic at what might just be the single worst imaginable time to do so

Personally I think the idea of half of Hong Kong coming to London is a wonderful one, a vision that encapsulates the kind of multiculturalism I think many would gladly see nurtured. But set against  a backdrop of an immigration driven Brexit, Johnson’s open-armed invitation is at best politically brave and at worst extremely foolish. Even before we get to how China might view this undermining of its own colonial enterprise, it is a move likely to seriously piss off anyone who voted OUT of the EU on immigration grounds. 

And yet even so, as this story of mass exodus unfolds, and as elsewhere in London people continue to speculate about the repurposing of Canary Wharf in face of reduced office space, I find myself staring out of my window imagining a different kind of Wharf, one abundant in new life, culture and food. As the number of applications for permanent residency rises I say, and with great love, ‘Bring it on Hong Kong, Bring It On.’ 

Featured image by author

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