THE Government has spent the last month in complete disarray with the Owen Paterson scandal, COP26 ‘climate change’ failures, abandoning HS2 promises, dropping the pensions triple-lock promises and backtracking on reforms to social care. Boris Johnson has jumped from crisis to crisis, with no apparent plan or ability to function properly.
In no area is this problem more evident than in the battle to reduce the numbers of migrants illegally crossing the Channel. With more than a month still to go this year, the total stands at more than 25,000, three times the figure for the whole of 2020. However, despite this huge rise clearly showing that a change in tactics is needed, the Home Office still insists on throwing money at the French to ask them to resolve the issue, despite no evidence to show they have any interest in doing so. Just a reminder – we have handed more £160million to France since 2015, including £56million this year. Despite this the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, has only just set out how the French would be spending £9million of this on quad bikes and new hard-shell boats, with no information about how the rest will be spent. This is nothing less than daylight robbery.
Instead of properly policing our own borders, the Government is planning to send at least 100 soldiers to the Poland/Belarus border by April to tackle border crossings there, with some already deployed. I would ask the Government why more proactive action is not being taken when it comes to halting French dinghies with illegal migrants? This is clearly of huge concern to the British public so it is about time the Prime Minister took serious action to resolve this problem, rather than banging on about Peppa Pig. It is almost as if Johnson has ‘baby brain’, although that’s supposed to happen only to mothers, not fathers – especially as in this case daddy is supposed to be in control of our country.
Demonstrating the catastrophic failure of our migration and asylum systems, Home Office Minister Tom Pursglove last week admitted that only five illegal cross-Channel migrants have been deported out of the 25,000 who have arrived in the last 11 months. This atrociously poor performance is wildly unsustainable if we are ever to cut the numbers making crossings.
What’s more, very little is being done to integrate or settle these migrants into life here in the UK, train them for new jobs, teach them English, or place them into positions for which they may already be trained, such as teachers, doctors or nurses. Instead, they are simply put up in a hotel and handed money, with no expectation of settling into a productive new life in this country.
We have seen from the example of Australia that if migrants know they will not be allowed to stay in a country when they arrive illegally, they will not risk their lives to cross the sea. Is this not a clear example of a real deterrent?
We must also consider the recent terrorist attack in Liverpool by a failed asylum-seeker whose claim had been rejected seven years ago. He had been allowed to stay in this country regardless. If this man slipped through the cracks, how many more cases are there of those who have had their asylum cases rejected but remain here – perhaps with resentful feelings festering – and potentially posing a threat to this country in the future?
In many ways these are exactly the problems the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill is supposed to resolve. However, despite being introduced on July 6, the Bill has yet to complete its path through the Commons, let alone the back and forth which is sure to occur when the heavily pro-Remain House of Lords propose amendments. At this rate we will not see legislation come into force until well into the New Year. In the meantime, thousands more migrants will make the crossings – all of them paying large sums to people-smugglers funding organised crime across Europe as well as the UK.
Now is the time for the Government to pick up the pace and, if necessary, speedily implement additional legislation to help give our Border Force officials more powers to deter further crossings, relieving the stress on the RNLI. Or maybe it is time to utilise the technology and manpower of the Royal Navy.
Why is the Government continually failing to deliver its General Election promises? It seems a major part of the problem is an obsessive focus within Downing Street on both limiting future spending and placing every other issue behind a Net-Zero agenda which would so damage our economy. While we all understand Covid-19 has changed the financial landscape, the Conservative Party must begin to understand how the public feel if they want to retain the seats they won in the 2019 General Election.
The trust people loaned to the Conservative Party in 2019 – many for the first time – cannot be taken for granted in the future, as resentment will fester if they feel the promises made meant nothing. Although the PM himself said he understood these votes were ‘borrowed’, it seems those words are now a distant memory to him. We are reminded time and again that many in this Government are so used to this country being run by the European Union, they clearly have either no ambition – or perhaps no ability – to innovate and gain the maximum benefit of Brexit Britain.
However, beyond the Government having to defeat political and economic opposition within Parliament and the Cabinet, there still remains a firm blockage to policy from within the Civil Service – or the Blob, as it is becoming known. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has repeatedly complained of policy proposals being watered down from what she as the Secretary of State had wanted – and without her approval. She is not alone, with many other Ministers complaining of the same thing and with unelected mandarins in the Snivel Service in Whitehall believing they have the right to decide Government policy. If this is allowed to continue we will never see ambitious and wide-ranging reforms implemented – not only to our immigration system, but our entire legislative system. We are crying out for change and innovation, but so often these unelected officials within Whitehall are stuck with their minds hankering after the past, instead of the reality of what is needed now. Our country is suffering as a result.