Trash TV gets serious

I have an admission to make. I’ve watched the new series of X Factor. Not only have I been watching it this year, but I’ve followed it pretty much since it started. Don’t get me wrong, Dear Reader. I don’t watch it live on Saturday night. I have a social life. No, I tend to watch it on a Sunday afternoon.

I’d like to blame Mrs Novocastrian for this, but that wouldn’t really be true. Generally I just laugh at the idiot people who can’t sing but seem to be deluded by family and friends into thinking they’re capable. And then I get sucked into caring about who wins the live shows. This year, though, I’ve been somewhat distracted from the foolishness and, er, singing n that. I’ve been distracted by someone who didn’t even make the final. Gamu Nhengu.

Gamu has turned this year’s mix of lunatic billy-no-mates who can’t sing and vapid billy-some-mates who can belt out a tune into a drama about immigration, deportation, and forced removals. Gamu and her family are originally from Zimbabwe and were here on a temporary visa which seems to have been refused on a technicality due to an error in completing the application form.

The family are following the appeals process as normal and seeking a judicial review. The difference here is that Gamu has appeared on a few episodes of X Factor. This has led to a quarter of a million people supporting the Nhengu family’s fight to remain in the UK. Of course, because there’s a large number of people supporting her, there has inevitably been media coverage and now politicians are pledging to come to Gamu’s aid.

I have no idea how the Border Agency will react to all this pressure coming their way. I suspect they’ll ignore it, follow their procedures and claim they’re just doing their job, but I could be wrong. What I DO wonder is how many of those 250,000 people would support a Zimbabwean immigrant facing deportation if it was just some shop assistant who lived a couple of streets away? How many of the 67,000 people Britain deported last year would have been allowed to stay if they could sing and had met Simon Cowell?

Immigration is a debate that we need to have but I question whether this is the right way to do it.


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