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Threatening the £54m Border Enforcement Deal with France is a Desperate Move

Henry Hill / Kevan James

September 8, 2021.

After watching Gavin Williamson remain in post as Education Secretary for month after month, it can be difficult even for an optimist to credit that the Prime Minister might finally be on the brink of a long-overdue reshuffle. But despite some old hands insisting its just a way to ensure loyalty over his manifesto-busting tax hike, it looks as if the rumours have spooked at least some of his Cabinet colleagues.

That seems the most likely explanation for why Priti Patel would be telling MPs she might scrap the £54 million deal the Government negotiated with France to increase the number of patrols and intercept more would-be Channel crossings.

It’s understandable that the Home Secretary needs something to placate angry MPs. Likewise that she should be frustrated with the French, whose intercept rate has apparently slumped in recent months and who keep citing health and safety or privacy concerns to refuse using aerial surveillance to crack down on people smugglers – even when the UK is providing the kit.

Even so, what is to be gained by threatening the funding? It seems pretty clear that Patel has more riding on this than Gérald Darmanin, her French counterpart, and he surely knows it. Without the cash, France will have even less incentive to step up its patrols, the pressure on the Government will get worse, and whoever succeeds Patel as Home Secretary will most likely offer Paris the same deal (albeit the price might have gone up).

In truth, there probably isn’t a real solution to the problem at the moment. Short of garrisoning the French coast, there is no way to ensure the boats don’t set off. Short of sinking them, there’s no way to ensure they don’t get here.

So the question is what happens then. The Government is right to change to the rules to make it much more difficult (if not impossible) for someone who arrives here illegally to get residency and citizenship. But in the long-term, that only works if you have a way of getting them out again. Which leads us to the separate problems of repatriation and the Home Office’s apparently dead-end hunt for a means to copy Australia’s offshore-processing model.

There is little public appetite for the Refugee Council line that these people have been “forced to take dangerous journeys to seek safety” – quite rightly, as these people are sailing from France rather than Syria. Voters expect that something be done. It just isn’t obvious what.

© Henry Hill / Conservative Home


Kevan James

Immigration and Emigration is a good thing. The ability (and the right) of people to go and live, work and settle in country other than that in which they were born and raised has countless benefits. Provided of course, one does so via the numerous legal methods available, methods established over decades. But we are not talking about such legality - we are talking of illegality, of breaking the law.

It is said that France merely passes illegal migrants on as, since they all want to come to the UK and nowhere else, they are a British problem and the Brits should deal with them. On this side of the channel, it is also suggested that since these people are coming from France, they are a French problem and it is thus France that should handle them.

The truth is that they are neither a British problem nor a French one; they are Europe's problem. That is the entire continent, not just those countries in membership of the EU.

Three facts that must be faced - but are usually ignored - is that firstly, these people are entering the European continent via one country or another and every single one of them are doing so illegally. They are facilitated in their law-breaking by people smugglers who charge extortionate amounts and who are also breaking the law (where the migrants get the money from is another question entirely - if they can afford to pay the smugglers, why do they need to migrate?).

They are breaking every country's laws, as every country has the right to decide for itself who can be allowed in. The EU of course, does it collectively, and since free movement between signatories to the relevant treaty allows it, once into any EU country, one can amble as one wishes to the next.

But since every European country is not in the EU and of those who are, not all are signatories to the Free Movement agreement, there is - or should be - some licence to countries to say, 'No Entry'. There are even some countries not in the EU who are signatories to the Free Movement it is, to say the least, a little confusing as to who is actually responsible for whom.

The second fact - and this is swamped by political correctness - is that the countries of Europe are predominantly Christian and the majority of the European population are native-born and raised in Europe. But most of the illegal immigrants are neither. And most of them - not all, just most - are young men. They are not elderly, they are not women and they are not children.

As a direct consequence, increasing numbers of those native-born Europeans are firmly against the illegals crossing the continent and since the 'crazy English' seem either willing to take them or are incapable of not doing so, why should any European country do anything except pass them on to France, the coast and then to the UK?

Here is where the third fact comes in; to get to the French coast, every single illegal migrant has to pass through a number of European countries before reaching France. And it is before reaching France that they must be stopped.

That this has not happened is primarily due to European countries being unable to agree where migrants can be stopped and accommodated, and of course, who should pay for them. Up to now, the financial responsibility has rested with the country through which the migrants first enter; usually Greece (hence the erection of a physical barrier along the southern and south-eastern Greek border), Italy and Spain.

But entry is not necessarily limited to those three. There are other countries to enter Europe through. The solution is this fairly obvious; wherever illegal migrants try to enter, there must be established suitable reception centres, with warm, comfortable accommodation (although not necessarily luxurious), proper sanitation and medical provision, language and other educational facilities and proper food - and funded by ALL European countries, not just those in the EU.

Most importantly, a definitive message must sent out to those who illegally migrate; if you do, you will be rounded up, you will be taken to one of these centres and you will stay there until you are either sent back to where you came from or granted a legal right to stay - and that will be hard to get. As for the smugglers, you are going to jail.

All it takes is for Europe's leaders to stop their political posturing and start co-operating.

© Kevan James 2021

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