Britain has an asylum backlog that can be seen from space. That will terrify refugees

By Abigail Pennson, our reasonable, plain-speaking middle-class columnist who wishes Boris had acted with Putin’s clear-eyed resolve

ASYLUM backlogs at a record high? Isn’t that bad news for Stopping the Boats, the only Rishi Sunak pledge anyone cares about? Or is he far cleverer than anyone thought? 

Because Britain’s asylum backlog, the greatest of any civilised nation, a towering backlog that can be seen around the curvature of the earth, is all to our advantage. 

We need to terrify refugees. And given these are people to whom the gun and the bomb are a way of life and a method of classroom discipline, that’s no easy task. 

But that bureaucratic backlog Rishi’s oh-so-subtlely allowed to build? That mountain of paperwork that Home Office officials, whipped into snarling, sadistic shape by Braverman, aren’t even pretending to reduce? 

That scares them, alright. Because in their benighted countries, so backward they rejected the benevolence of the British Empire, no piece of paperwork is complete without a thousand dollars slipped between the leaves. 

Refugees aren’t afraid of Bibby Stockholm. That’s paradise to them. They don’t fear being deported to Rwanda because there’s no functional difference between it and Syria or whatever. What threat is there in going from foreign to foreign? 

Paperwork? That scares them more than a million Talibans, who they basically agree with anyway. The idea of waiting in line? Of correctly filling in a form? Of, God help me, being polite to authority? That sends them running back to the land of rudeness: Europe. 

Let that backlog mount, Rishi. Let word of it spread through the warzones of the world. Let child soldiers pick up their guns and make something of their own bloody country rather than join the holding pattern in the Channel, waiting for their ticket to be called. 

Fight the invaders with what Britain does best: paperwork, red tape, and 120-minute waits for calls to be answered while listening to crackly versions of Greensleeves. They’d rather die. 

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If I wanted my dinner off a spade I'd eat in the bloody shed: The gammon food critic visits the gastropub

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who’s seen these immigrants being given flatscreen TVs personally

GASTROPUB? As in gastroenteritis? Have these pretentious bastards thought this fucking through? 

Still, one of the major problems with restaurants is they stop you getting pissed at your own pace. If a gastropub’s willing to serve me three pints per course, I’m interested.

So when I’m invited to a reunion with old work colleagues I agree to turn up once they’ve promised the bill gets split six ways no matter what. They’re all rolling in it, I’ve seen their poncy holidays on Facebook.

I’m a pint in when they arrive, cheek-kissing like we’re in a Paris bistro not a boozer with big ideas. The conversation is boring as fuck from the off. Who cares if your kid’s doing well at school? Bloody should be, you’re paying three grand a tem for the fucker.

I’ve downed my third jar before they’ve finished recounting how Adam’s in London with a top accountancy firm and Portia’s one-woman show got a great notice in the Scotsman. Shit piss-up this is turning out to be. And then the food arrives and dear Lord, what is this bollocks?

There’s king prawns in tempura batter – I presume that’s to distinguish it from permanent batter – and a sweet chilli dip. The dip’s OK, though it’d be better suited to lamb doner. But why have they served it on a plank? This isn’t a building site.

Then there’s halloumi fries, which are squeaky cheese fish fingers, pulled pork in miniature Yorkshire puddings the size of teacups, and a load of other shit designed to deliberately disorientate the pissed.

And these people, these bastards I used to work with driving their Chelsea tractors, scarf it down like it’s normal. What’s happened to them? It can’t just be the drugs.

Tim, not for the first time, tells us all he’s vegan. Really mate. As if it’s not the first thing I remembered when I saw your knobhead face. Orders the dirty vegan burger, like that’s not a contradiction in terms.

My pasta carbonara arrives – it’s still bacon and eggs after a fashion, I suppose – and it arrives on a spade. Have they run out of Romanians to wash the plates? I drain the pint it arrives with in one.

Not that anyone else’s meal looks an improvement. Skyscraper burgers, triple-cooked fries, beer-battered cod. Not an item on the menu the chef hasn’t had his dick in, and I’m not sure that’s a figure of speech.

I’m nine pints down by the time we settle up. They could bring the bill by drone for all I care. I count out my share to the penny, because I’ve been ripped off enough, and stagger outside for the three-mile walk home through a load of pissing countryside.

If you want to play at pubs, get yourself a Fisher-Price barman kit. Drinking’s a serious business. I’m reporting these bastards for food poisoning.