It’s no coincidence that at the week that the UK dipped into the worst recession that the country has ever seen, the government opted to divert public attention to some small number of people crossing the British channel.
Public mood suggests that the country needs answers to difficult questions, to comprehend that the high death toll from coronavirus and also the depth of the economic fallout.
So, it’s no real surprise that the government is seeking to find someone to blame.
This isn’t a new tactic from the government. In a disturbingly regular cycle, once the news cycle is quiet, and the summer months are hot, the government turns its eye to the Channel.
Successive Home Secretaries have chosen this strategy, vilifying people who want nothing more than to live differently ordinary lives in security, but whose only path is the dangerous journey across the Channel.
When the public finds the stories of people granted refuge in the united kingdom, they’re sympathetic, understanding that fleeing war, persecution and hardship is an issue of life and death, and that being with all the people that you love is of utmost importance.
Many people have felt a fraction of the during the pandemic and can wholly relate — how many people have desperately wished we could be with the people we love during lockdown? However, what the government does not tell us is that the only difference between refugees in the united kingdom and people in Calais, is 15 miles.
The simple truth is that these perilous journeys are a issue of this government’s making, one that has gotten progressively worse decade after decade.
Where we can agree with the government is that these journeys need to finish — nobody needs these journeys to happen, least of those compelled to risk their lives on overcrowded dinghies and people providing services, support and legal information. However, the truth is that these perilous journeys are a issue of this government’s making, one that has gotten progressively worse decade after decade, and could be solved with easy action.
The government’s current proposals to “protected ” the boundaries will do nothing to finish dangerous crossings or curtail trafficking. We’ve heard all of this before — that it’s France’s duty, that the path ought to be made “unviable” so that the Navy must “push folks back” in breach of international refugee and marine law.
When the government suddenly closed camps in Calais in 2016, organisations around the ground warned that these plans will push people away out of oversight, and straight into the hands of traffickers. Similarly, a report by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at 2019 highlighted that “policy that concentrates exclusively on final boundaries will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal classes ” — Priti Patel sat with this committee.
The region of Calais functions as a black hole, where a small but steady population of homeless and destitute men and women are still trapped, vulnerable to people traffickers and smugglers, vulnerable to violence against the French authorities, denied support service and legal advice.