No surprise, alas, that the government should still be trying to find ways to deny Gurkhas the right to live in this country. The most charitable interpretation of today's announcement is that the Brown ministry is making it more difficult than it should be for Gurkhas who retired before 1997 to live in Britain. A more accurate assessment might be that this is a typically mendacious, mean-spirited, shameless, pointless piece of bullying bullshit from a government that's so past its sell-by date that there's no point in even wondering whether there's any further use for it.
Here's the BBC account:
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas denied he had betrayed the Gurkhas, adding: "This improves the situation."
He said: "It has never been the case that all Gurkhas pre-1997 were to be allowed to stay in the country. With their dependents you could be looking at 100,000 people.
"It's simply not true that we have betrayed the Gurkhas. When people read the guidelines they will see the sense of them."
Note too how the government argues that pre-1997, when the Gurkhas' HQ was still in Hong Kong, they had no "strong residential ties" with the United Kingdom. Apart, of course, from serving in the British Army - a service that common-sense suggests, no demands, one consider a pretty hefty tie to this country regardless of whether it's "residential" or not. Ultimately, how absurd is it that you can fight in the British army but be denied the right to live in Britain?
Then again, this is the Home Office so who can be surprised by the absence of charity, common-sense and decency on display in this shabby tale?
More from the Gurkha Justice Campaign here.
UPDATE: Mr Eugenides does some useful number-crunching.