THE CALAIS CRISIS
The situation in Calais will inevitably reach a breaking point. An estimated five thousand migrants are camping in what has been labelled the ‘jungle’ area, clashing with border control forces and law enforcement most nights in an attempt to enter Britain illegally via the channel tunnel. The question is, should we show compassion to the people so desperate to better their lot in life, or do we accept that Britain is already struggling to accommodate its own rapidly growing population and turn them away?
First off, I bear these migrants no ill will whatsoever. To uproot oneself and travel across the world in the hopes of finding a better life takes a stupendous amount of courage and bravery, the kind which I myself certainly do not possess. Nevertheless however much sympathy we feel, this crisis must be dealt with rationally. There is already a shortage of school places and housing, an inadequate amount of GPs and the many transport issues that come with a rising populace. Thanks to New Labour’s mass immigration policy (shamelessly carried on by the Con-Lib coalition), we are now seeing in excess of 200,000 immigrants arriving in Britain ever year. Last year it was 314,000, not counting those who entered illegally.
These kinds of numbers are unprecedented in the history of Britain. The last time we saw mass immigration of this magnitude was in the early 1900s, when waves of Jewish migrants came to the UK following the May Laws that were implemented in Russia during the reign of Tsar Alexander III. Even then the number reached only 140,000, over the course of several years.
So is there any advantage in letting in some five thousand more (largely) unskilled, impoverished immigrants? For Britain and her peoples, none at all. They have already proved themselves willing and capable of using violence to reach England, a land they believe has ‘streets paved with gold’. UKIP MEP Mike Hookem claims he was actually threatened with a gun when attempting to assess the out of control situation, near the hastily constructed shanty town where many of the immigrants are now residing. British lorry drivers are often attacked when attempting to drive through the tunnel, and are fined if a migrant manages to board their vehicle. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed or seriously injured.
We must also accept that David Cameron and the British government are partially responsible. Their decision to bomb Libya and Syria without having an end goal for the military campaign has resulted in the ongoing tragedy outside our borders. Many of the refugees are Libyan or Syrian, fleeing from the devastation caused by the air strikes inflicted upon their home country. The bombings themselves are not even justifiable. All our noble leader has done is remove a government of the sort which the West deems undesirable, and replaced it with chaos and anarchy. Arguably, this region is now more unstable than when Gaddafi was in power.
Our response should be similar to that of the Australians. If we make it clear to these people that they will receive no help, support or subsidy upon entering Europe, I predict they will stop coming. For now, it is the people traffickers who are responsible for those who enter Europe illegally. They are the ones who are making money off the desperation and suffering of the refugees, and the ones accountable for the hundreds of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. These traffickers know full well that the EU ships posted around Italy will come to the aid of those drowning in the sea. They are of wicked intent and should not be able to dictate who we accept into Europe, refugee or otherwise.
Currently however I believe it is the immediate responsibility of the French and British governments to collaborate, formulate an effective strategy and execute it methodically. Of course this could take months, with both countries dithering about the best course of action that should be taken. The Mayor of Calais has threatened multiple times to let the migrants through the Eurotunnel (although it would be nowhere near that simple), which would then leave the residents of Dover to deal with the fallout. Nevertheless, moving the problem is not solving it. It is now an EU wide crisis, and will only get worse with time.
I also find myself sympathising with those immigrants who are entering Britain and Europe through the proper legal channels. These are the people we should be giving priority to, and for them to see so many migrants getting through unhindered illegally must be incredibly frustrating.
What is going on in Calais will not be easy or pleasant to solve. It will take only firm, rational judgement (the kind which our current government does not usually exhibit) to help the people trapped in the purgatory like area between England and France. Whether these immigrants will be granted asylum in Britain or France, spread out through other EU member states (as I suspect will eventually be the case) or deported, only time will tell.