By Marcus Dysch
April 11, 2012
What a mess.
From start to finish Raed Salah's deportation has been an utter shambles. The latest ruling – this time from the Upper Immigration Tribunal – arguably only deepens the sense that the authorities have lost control of the case.
For Mr Ockelton and his colleagues to have ruled that the blood libel was invoked and admitted that Jews would be offended by Sheikh Salah’s comments, but ultimately found in his favour, only adds to the confusion.
What is certain is that this result is truly embarrassing for Theresa May, the Home Office and the UK Border Agency. Once upon a time a minister defeated in this way, and after so many catastrophic errors, would have honourably offered the Prime Minister their resignation.
This result is bound to have implications for the government's Prevent counter-extremism strategy. At the very least, the next time the Home Secretary is asked to bar a similarly controversial figure she is sure to think back to Sheikh Salah.
As the legal wrangling and mud-slinging erupted around him, Sheikh Salah quietly sat it out, waiting for his day in court. YouTube videos show him preparing dinner in the garden of the north west London home at which he was effectively under house arrest, seemingly oblivious to the shockwaves his arrival in Britain had caused.
His supporters will see the evidence put before the tribunal as proof of their belief that the government is engaged in a seedy conspiracy, and will use it as further fodder for their misplaced attacks on CST.
In reality, Sheikh Salah's distorted victory is simply the inevitable result of a compilation of cock-ups.