LABOUR MP Clive Lewis has controversially claimed that housing migrants in a Pontins holiday park is akin to putting them in ‘a concentration camp’.
Discussing the Government’s newly announced scheme to avoid asylum seekers being housed in hotels, he told the BBC’s Politics Live programme: ‘Let’s be really clear here, my understanding is, if you put a group of people concentrated into a camp – as you did in South Africa in the Boer War – that’s what you call a concentration camp.
‘Look what they’re talking about, putting people in camps en masse because of their [the Government’s] mess. Let’s just be really clear where we are, that is the technical term.’
It was an outrageous piece of rhetoric by the left-wing loudmouth, blatantly designed to grab the headlines. And it brought the expected backlash, even from his own party. So Lewis can congratulate himself on a job well done – profile raised, credentials burnished, Government dissed.
Some may say the episode is just the cut and thrust of modern politics. But I think Lewis should be more careful when he starts spouting such nonsense, because words matter. And they matter very much when you’re bandying around terms such as ‘concentration camp’.
He referred to the concentration camps set up by the British during the Boer War of 1899 to 1902 in South Africa. But, having served in the British military, he well knows that to anyone with even the remotest inkling of history, ‘concentration camp’ means the hellholes established by the Germans before and during the Second World War.
That being so, I recommend he reads the report sent by Richard Dimbleby from Belsen after the concentration camp was liberated by British troops in April 1945. Here is the transcript of the legendary BBC journalist’s radio broadcast.
Once Lewis has fully absorbed the contents of Dimbleby’s dispatch, perhaps he will further enlighten us on how putting migrants in Pontin’s compares to a concentration camp.