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Editor's comment: Windrush scandal shows power of pen

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 May 2018

Hubert Howard is set to be given UK citizenship after 13 years. Picture: MICHAEL DESMOND

Hubert Howard is set to be given UK citizenship after 13 years. Picture: MICHAEL DESMOND

Archant

After 13 years, Hubert Howard is finally set to be given UK citizenship.

I don’t want to make that sound like too much of a victory, because it’s a battle he should never have needed to fight. Hubert has been here for nearly six decades, during which time he has been just as much part of Britain as you or me. It is both insult and injury of the highest order that the ordeal has left him jobless and in debt while he battles leukaemia. Instead of taking care of him, as Britain should be doing, this country has turned its back on him. Hopefully that is now going to change.

We made contact with Hubert through a councillor who had heard about his plight. But he’s also one of dozens of members of the Windrush generation who have appeared in the national papers during a relentless and comprehensive campaign that has actually, incredibly, made a difference. The work of The Guardian in exposing this scandal and putting pressure on the government to rectify it is a huge victory for the power of the press, and a reminder of what is so precious about it. Some newspapers are racist, sexist, homophobic, regressive and vile, and their falling sales deserve no sympathy. But without the fourth estate, scandals like Windrush might never have been identified and halted, and who knows how many lurk round the corner for tomorrow’s front pages?

• If I’m honest, I found Monday’s hustings a bit dispiriting.

Everyone in the audience seemed to know already who they planned to vote for, and a few of the panel seemed to have little if anything to do with Hackney. I find it pretty insulting to the electorate that someone applying to literally run the borough could conceivably have had no cause to contact their local newspaper even once in four long years. But then perhaps I’m old-fashioned.

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