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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

November 29, 2021 5:00 PM

l62a (Photo by Brad West on Unsplash)Its always good to blame the French when things go wrong. politically it seems to be a easy win

When it comes to immigration by boat across the channel however we need to be careful. Our track record in this area leaves a lot to be desired.

Back in 2016 when harrowing pictures of the child washed up on a European beach first appeared there was widespread public revulsion and a call for something to be done. The result was the so called Dubbs amendment which committed Britain to take unaccompanied children into the UK. Alf Dubbs who as a child came to the UK fleeing the Nazis hoped some 3000 children would be resettled . In the end before the government quietly shelved the scheme only around 500 had been admitted

Similarly after the outcry that followed the fall of Kabul and the trapping of many afghans who had helped the British occupation, the government rapidly announced a scheme which it would allow 20000 at- risk afghans to settle here. It was our duty we were told. Three months on there is no scheme operational. Indeed Victoria Atkins, the minister responsible for Afghan resettlement, told the House of Commons: "We are working urgently across government and with partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to design the scheme.. In other words the promised scheme does not exist. Whilst the delay continues it is probable some of those who would be eligible will be killed by the Taliban

Our home secretary, Priti Patel likes to claim "All the data and evidence has shown this - that in the last 12 months alone, 70% of the individuals who have come to our country illegally via small boats are single men, who are effectively economic migrants. They are not genuine asylum seekers. These are the ones who are elbowing out the women and children, who are at risk and fleeing persecution.". It suits her narrative to have people believe the migrants are not fleeing persecution

However analysis using Home Office data has concluded that 61% of migrants who travel by boat are likely to be allowed to stay after claiming asylum something that would not happen if they were simple economic migrants

As part of our hostile environment to immigration we have closed most of the legal routes for applying for asylum. For the desperate jumping in a small boat with all its attendant risks is the only option open to them

So instead of silly posturing sending letters via twitter with requests for British police to work in France and the right to send back all migrants neither of which would be remotely acceptable on sovereignty grounds if the French were to ask us for these rights, it is time to get serious. To have clear paths for legal asylum and to work with Europe to put together policies which target people smugglers have to be a priority if we are to avoid further unnecessary deaths