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Tough on talk, soft on migrants


ON the illegal Channel crossings, we have got exactly what we voted for: plenty of tough and hard-hitting rhetoric, accompanied by no action whatsoever.

In the first seven months of this year, during much of which Brits were forced – with the threat of fines – to stay in their homes, 3,750 migrants were recorded as having crossed the Channel from France, five times the number in the same period last year. The actual figure, of course, is likely to be higher, and Migration Watch UK has predicted that it could reach at least 7,500 by the end of the year. 

What has the Conservative government done about all this? Not very much. Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is very good at pretending to be firm on criminal activities, has told us she would like to make the crossings ‘unviable’, though she has found little time to act. Perhaps this is because her schedule has been filled with the introduction of positive discrimination – that well-known conservative policy – into the Home Office. 

Boris Johnson, too, has donned his traditionalist mask, dismissing the crossings as ‘very bad, stupid, dangerous and criminal’. This is the Prime Minister whose first proposals in office included granting amnesty to thousands of illegal migrants. That’s very bad and stupid, if you ask me.

Migration Watch UKreport that since the start of lockdown, more than 2,000 migrants have crossed the Channel, and zero have been returned. Since the Dover detention centre was closed in 2015 (under another useless ‘Conservative’ government), passage into Britain once on the shore is relatively easy. The human trafficking industry has flourished, with individuals putting themselves at greater risks in small canoes and toy-like dinghies. We are distressingly reminded of this danger on a regular basis. 

To act ‘soft’ on this matter, as Labour leader Keir Starmer suggests, would only make the situation worse than it already is.

The closer to France British authorities pick up migrants, the flimsier are the rafts provided by traffickers. To act soft whilst simultaneously pretending to be tough is insulting. Yet what else should we expect from a man who urged Brits to ‘stop moaning about the dam burst’ of immigration? Johnson would rather we did not ‘dwell on immigration’, simply because most of us would find his views unpatriotic and anti-conservative. In short, repellent.

According to writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Johnson and his ‘Right-winger’ chums are ‘winning the culture wars’, such as on the matter of borders. Does she not realise that Boris is as soppy and liberal as her? Especially on the matter of borders.

Those on the ‘Right’ should stop falling for such accusations (see here), and certainly shouldn’t fall for the ‘soft’ approach, which, however cosy-sounding, puts migrants at more risk, not less. Indeed, the more who are allowed to enter Britain illegally, the more will be encouraged to make the dangerous journey. Instead, the government should work to discourage such travel. It would save many lives in the process.

We know this won’t happen, however. Questioned recently about migrants choosing to travel from France to Britain, despite the former being as safe as the latter, and so quashing the notion of refuge seeking, Priti Patel explained that many migrants might view France as being a racist country, and so unsafe to live in. The Home Secretary ought to consider that she’ll be stretching goodwill here to breaking point.

It is a shame that more of this anger from Brits isn’t directed against the ‘Conservative’ Party which, in spite its name and its rhetoric, is infested with the very liberal dogma its supporters want it to oppose. Isn’t it about time these people ended their support?

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Michael Curzon
Michael Curzon
Michael Curzon is Sunday Editor at The Conservative Woman and Editor of Bournbrook Magazine.

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