500 this week, 5000 next week

…five million the week after?

The Coast Guard rescues would-be immigrants at Lampedusa

The Coast Guard rescues would-be immigrants at Lampedusa

The left have an interesting but simplistic angle on the Lampedusa tragedy, in which several hundred would-be immigrants to Europe died in sight of land when their ship sank. We have a humanitarian duty, they say, to rescue the drowning. So of course we must then bring them back to land and share them out equitably between EU member-states, in the interests of mutual solidarity and burden sharing.

Of course we have to rescue the drowning. No one but a brute would suggest otherwise. But we cannot simply accept without question the second half of the proposition – that we must therefore admit these people to the EU, and give them passports and welfare and social housing.

The left never wants to think about motivation and incentives. The fallacy at the core of Communism was the proposition “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. It fails because it provides no incentive to work and to achieve, and every incentive to get away with doing as little as possible. Men and women will work for themselves, for their children, perhaps for friends and family. They may work selflessly for the national interest during times of war, when facing a general and existential threat, but not in normal times.

The glory of capitalism is that it harnesses natural self-interest and motivation in a way that ultimately benefits everyone.

If we extend search and rescue missions in the Med, if we resettle recued illegals in the EU, we are effectively putting up a sign saying “Welcome to Europe – Come in”. It was five hundred (or so) in Lampedusa. With an open-door policy it will be five thousand next week, and five million the week after. As one of my former Conservative MEP colleagues put it to me today, “We might as well organise our own tour boats to bring illegal immigrants safely to Europe. Or build a bridge”. If we let in whoever wants to come, we would also be rewarding the very traffickers whom we should be prosecuting.

So what should we do? First, those we rescue should be returned immediately to North Africa. If we are extending coast-guard patrols we should be intercepting would-be immigrant boats, and towing them back to Africa. I am aware that there may be issues with maritime law – it may be considered piracy to take over control of a vessel on the high seas – but surely where we have illegal immigrants in unsafe boats we should do what is urgently needed at the time. I have been told that Singapore took a similar approach during the Vietnamese boat-people crisis, with the effect that very few such boats attempted to reach the island (I’m still checking on this story – don’t take it as Gospel).

That is the immediate short-term action needed. Beyond that, the EU should work with North African countries to close down flows of would-be illegal immigrants, and to apprehend traffickers. It may want to assist those countries in controlling their in-shore waters. Longer-term, it may want to work on governance and economic issues with those countries with the objective of making them more tolerable for their citizens, and reducing the incentives to relocate to Europe.

One thing is certain: we in Britain want no “sharing out” of illegal immigrants. And when I speak of “the EU working with African countries”, I am thinking of the rump-EU after British Independence. I am all too aware that today we in Britain seem incapable of controlling our own borders, even with the advantage of our island status, but I hope and believe that an independent Britain would get a grip on immigration generally.

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10 Responses to 500 this week, 5000 next week

  1. Neil Craig says:

    Perhaps civilisation’s greatest problem is differential population growth when the difference is that failed states and cultures are growing faster. That would not be such a problem, at least in the developed world, without unwanted immigration. There will be more Kosovos.

  2. @Sceptic_Tank says:

    Surely the simplest, cheapest and most humane solution to this specific [N Africa >> EU] problem is to escort them all (photo’d, fingerprinted and DNA’d) back into international waters with food, water and fuel, sufficient for them to return safely* from whence they came. [*e.g. only during fair weather – if it’s blowing a hoolie, wait]. Then send them off with a “We are watching you” farewell.

    I’m not sure about this, but I think this is how the USA deals, more or less, with illegals coming in from Mexico overland.

  3. ancientpopeye says:

    I have always wondered why these economical migrants are not returned to the port of embarkation. I’m quite sure it would be just as easy as taking them to where they wished to go.

  4. Mike Stallard says:

    I spent the early summer months in Australia where the boat people are a hot debating topic.

    The most important things is that it was debated in parliament. It was a national issue. There were a lot of comments on the TV it is true, but the big decisions were taken in Australia. It was an Australian who went to Papua New Guinea to arrange housing for the failed ones. The others were put in an asylum centre where they rioted and burned the place down.

    On the TV was a “funny” show where the perpetrator stood in front of the stage and said, “People call me a leftie. But I think I am nice. I don’t want to send people back to where they came from, because I am nice. If that is being a leftie, then I suppose I am a leftie. But really, I’m just nice.”

    It reminds me very much of a mediaeval plague. Do you allow the plague cities to export their people? If yes, then they spread the plague wherever they go. If not, then you have to stand by and watch them die in terrible agony.

    • joseph croft says:

      its unfair that people with no assets and cant even speak the mother tongue of the country to be allowed in , I have a grandson a son and 2 great grandsons living in Australia , so my wife and I are alone in the UK , and yet we able to buy a house for cash , their would be no language barrier , and we could pay a $60000 bond , but they said to us if you don’t have a pension of $100000 a year you stand no chance , so why should these boat people jump the gun

  5. Me_Again says:

    It is only piracy if a vessel acts without government approval and, seeks to profit from the action. It is not piracy to turn away from our national waters illegal immigrants.
    It’s monstrous stupidity to suggest otherwise whether it be left or right saying so. Neither of these entrenched ideologies has anything to commend it as a total package, only in each there are nuggets of common sense.

    Commonsense has no ideology.

    • Me_again: I’m not sure you’re right in law. A state has the right to police its in-shore waters, but I’m not sure it has the right to take control of a foreign vessel in international waters.

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