"Go Home" vans

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The "Go Home" vans were part of a controversial 2013 advertising campaign by the British Home Office in which advertising vans with slogans recommending that illegal immigrants should "go home or face arrest" were sent to tour areas with high immigrant populations. The hypothesis of the operation was that people who did not have leave to remain would voluntarily depart if "a near and present" danger, such as being arrested, was made apparent.[1] The pilot programme, which had the internal codename 'Operation Vaken', ran in the six London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, and Redbridge[2] from 22 July to 22 August 2013,[1] and was part of the Home Office hostile environment policy.[3] In October 2013, the evaluation report stated that 60 voluntary departures were believed to be directly related to 'Operation Vaken' and 65 more cases were "currently being progressed to departure."[1]

The campaign was cancelled after a public outcry against it.[4]

British politicians including Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and Eric Pickles expressed concerns about the campaign.[5] Nigel Farage described the advertisements as "unpleasant."[6] Yvette Cooper compared the slogans on the vans with slogans used by the National Front in the 1970s[7] and the campaign was described by Diane Abbott as an example of dog-whistle politics,[8] stating that "It is not so much dog-whistle politics as an entire brass band ... It is akin to scrawling 'Paki go home' on the side of buildings. I don't believe this policy is going to achieve anything besides stoking fear and resentment."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hattenstone, Simon (26 April 2018). "Why was the scheme behind May's 'Go Home' vans called Operation Vaken?". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Operation Vaken: evaluation report". GOV.UK. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. ^ Elgot, Jessica (19 April 2018). "May was not opposed to 'go home' vans, official accounts suggest". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  4. ^ Travis, Alan (31 October 2013). "'Go home' vans resulted in 11 people leaving Britain, says report". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  5. ^ Swinford, Steven (8 August 2013). "Pickles questions 'go home or face arrest' campaign". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  6. ^ "'Go home' posters are nasty - Farage". BBC News. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  7. ^ Travis, Alan (25 September 2013). "Tory immigration language 'like National Front of 1970s'". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Legge, James (18 October 2013). "Government's 'Go home' vans backed by Immigration Minister Mark Harper". The Independent. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  9. ^ Taylor, Matthew; Gidda, Mirren; Syal, Rajeev (26 July 2013). "'Go home' ad campaign targeting illegal immigrants faces court challenge". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2018.