The Migrant Crisis: Europe is letting us down


On Sunday evening, I watched an extended interview on BBC 4 TV in which Lucy Worsley interviewed Sir Roy Strong, at eighty years old.

Sir Roy, remember, was once the enfant terrible of the art gallery and museum business.  In 1967, at then tender age of 32, he became Director of the National Portrait Gallery.  In 1973, at the age of only 38, he became Director of the V&A.  With his flamboyant style, kipper ties and fedora hats, he became the darling of the arts establishment.

So you might have thought that he’d have been a typical leftie luvvie.  But not a bit of it.  Also an historian, he adopted a very common sense view of immigration issues.  He felt that multiculturalism had failed.  It had been divisive and undermined social cohesion.  Citing the Huguenots and the Jews, he recognised the right of immigrants to maintain and celebrate their own culture of origin, but insisted that if they wished to settle in Britain immigrants must also embrace and recognise the values and culture of this country.

Well said Sir Roy.

That day I was invited to appear on the Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Five Live (about 20 minutes in) alongside Don Flynn of the Migrants Rights Network.  Mr. Flynn seemed to take the view that everyone who faced serious problems at home, and wanted to come to Europe, should be free to do so.  And that Britain should take its “fair share” of migrants.  Europe (he said) was rich, and had the space and resources to cope with large numbers (perhaps Mr. Flynn would do well to read the economic and financial pages more carefully).

Germany, of course, reckons it will take in 800,000 migrants this year, and is calling on other EU member-states to take “their fair share”.  Mr. Flynn also reckoned that we had an obligation of burden-sharing: I asked which clause of the EU Treaties committed us to do so.  We need to understand that Germany (and other EU member-states) potentially have a gun to our heads: all they need to do is offer citizenship and issue passports to those migrants, and they will be free (under EU free movement rules) to come to the UK.  Spain has already given large-scale amnesties to migrants.

I argued that Germany had been foolish to accept these large numbers, and had no business to demand that we accommodate its rash policy.  I argued that European policy was failing us twice over.  First, the EU is supposed to have a Border Force, Frontex, whose task is to protect EU borders.  It is failing utterly.  We simply should not be admitting these illegal immigrants in the first place.  Secondly, we have the Dublin Convention which specifies (broadly speaking) that an asylum applicant should apply for asylum in the first safe country.  But Hungary, Greece, Italy and France and other member-states are allowing migrants to cross their territory at will.

Mr. Flynn seemed to assume that just about all these migrants were entitled to asylum, and dismissed my suggestion that many were economic migrants.  The danger is that we have allowed the criteria for asylum to broaden without limit.  Mr. Flynn seemed to assume that anyone from a war zone, or a country suffering civil unrest, ought to qualify.  But the consequent numbers would run into many millions, which surely even in Mr. Flynn’s parallel universe is clearly unacceptable.

I remember an attempt in the European parliament some years ago to broaden the definition of asylum criteria.  It was proposed that any woman who at any time had been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) should ipso facto be entitled to asylum.  Be in no doubt that I unequivocally condemn FGM as a vile and brutal infringement of human rights.  But I cannot agree that (say) a middle-aged African woman who suffered FGM forty years ago should therefore automatically qualify to settle in Europe.  I believe we estimated at the time that at least 15 million would qualify on that basis.  The rules on asylum are predicated on the implicit assumption that the total numbers involved must be tolerable.  Otherwise the whole asylum system will lose public consent and democratic legitimacy.

So with thousands of migrants arriving in short order, many undocumented, how on earth are our border forces supposed to distinguish the genuine asylum seeker from the economic migrant?  (Let us note in passing that at least those Iraqi interpreters now under threat are unequivocally asylum seekers, and deserve our gratitude and protection).  But the broader question is beyond our power to determine, and the court system is bogged down by interminable and irresolvable appeals.

Quite apart from the sheer numbers, and the consequent pressures on social infrastructure and social cohesion, there is the question of how we could accommodate very large numbers of migrants with very different cultural attitudes.  I was struck by a recent press story about a French family who, moved by compassion, offered a home to a migrant in Calais.  He accepted the offer — but also saw fit to criticise the family’s 20-year-old daughter for not being married, and for not covering her hair.  Not an easy attitude to deal with.

Quite apart from cultural attitudes, there is also the possibility that the flood of migrants includes terrorists and jihadis deliberately infiltrating at the behest of ISIS.  Mr. Flynn dismissed this as mere prejudice and anti-Islamist propaganda.  But there is no doubt that ISIS has claimed to be engaging in this activity, and it would be a brave man who assumed they were lying.

I argued that our policy of rescuing boats in the Med and bringing the migrants to Italy is in effect, if not in intention, collaborating with the people-traffickers.  “Just get out on the water”, they can say, “and the Europeans will rescue you and take you to Italy”.

So what should we be doing?  First, we should intercepting the boats in the Med (yes, and rescuing the drowning), but returning them to North Africa.  Do that for a few weeks, and the trade will wither on the vine.  The boats will stop, and the drowning will stop.

Secondly, we should urge our European partners to make their borders secure (however little faith we have in their will or ability to do so).  But for Britain, we should put in effective border controls.  We should have a rigorous and rapid approach to asylum, and only accept asylum claims that are clear-cut and specific.  The onus must be on the applicant to prove the case.  And any illegal immigrants arriving in the UK from other EU member states (as most do) should be returned under the Dublin Convention to the last country they were in (and the Mayor of Calais can just get used to the idea).

Many commentators say that the only way to solve the migrant crisis is to take action to bring peace and prosperity to the countries from which the migrants are coming.  It’s a great idea.  But we’ve been trying to do that for many years without conspicuous success — indeed some would argue that our interventions have made matters worse.  By all means we should seek peace and prosperity in the world, but that’s an uncertain and long term project.  In the meantime, the migrant problem is real and immediate.  We in UKIP criticise the UK’s grossly excessive level of foreign aid — but as long as the budget is there, it should be used to facilitate the return of would-be immigrants to their countries of origin.

And how will we afford the extra border guards?  Well it is clear that the long-term costs of coping with a massive migrant influx will be greater that the costs of controlling our borders.  And again, we could divert money from the foreign aid budget to border control.

Sadly, I don’t see the present government adopting these measures any time soon.  And I fear that a few million pounds spent on wire mesh at Calais won’t really hack it.

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27 Responses to The Migrant Crisis: Europe is letting us down

  1. Flyinthesky says:

    Country of origin: X sexual orientation: Homosexual: Y, X+Y = asylum.
    Country of origin: V religion: Christian: W, V+W = asylum.
    This is only the tip of the iceberg. Incoming people will have been versed on the best responses to al the relevant questions.
    Not rocket science is it and you only have to maintain the status until the paperwork is finalised.
    Your position seems to be based on common sense, it would appear that there is no room for common sense in modern politics.

  2. John Poynton says:

    Send them all to the Falklands, whether they are economic migrants or asylum seekers – the distinction would no longer matter. Once they realise that is where they will end up if they try to come here the flow will quickly dry up, and the desperate would at least be safe and well looked-after on British soil.

  3. Joe Croft says:

    they are criminals breaking immigration laws they are supposed to seek asylum in the first safe haven then they can go through the legal process of obtaining a visa for their intended destination , instead they chose to break the law and ruin the lives of Calais residents and upset the haulage industry and cause the waste of millions of £s of taxpayers money , as soon as they reach France they should be deporting them , but the French know that once they are on British soil its out of their hands

  4. George Morley says:

    So who are the ‘they’ who would benefit ? The refugees – yes, the islanders – no. Where would you house them ? Sounds like a stupid suggestion to me and who provides this allowance that you generously offer – the Falkland Islanders who are being helped financially from UK because they cannot afford to defend themselves but otherwise have a balanced budget which would be seriously affected by your proposition.

    • John Poynton says:

      The cost could come out of our otherwise ill-spent overseas aid budget. Anyway it’s going to cost a lot to deal with them whatever we do, so its not as if we can avoid that. Come up with a better suggestion if you can. At least mine does the job, and its humane – unlike sending them back to Africa.

  5. omanuel says:

    The problem is not the immigrants themselves, but the politicians using immigrants to accomplish their own selfish purposes.

    • John Poynton says:

      Cynical and pointless comment

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        What gives us the right to inflict this on the Falkland’s? Some years ago (in the 60’s) I knew the head of Education there. When he came on holiday he would buy an old Land Rover to increase the Falklands motoring stock a little. I have never been there but feel some affection and concern for these simple life style folk.

        One of the problems of today is the willingness to make life changing decisions for others, we have no right to do this at all. If Africa is the country of origin, thats the correct place for them not here, or the Falklands.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Not at all, follow the political history of those intending to establish a New World order. They first create a crisis, then offer to solve it following their planned agenda. Straight out of the Hegelian dialectic (Hegal Society 1860’s, Karl Marx was a life long member). Blair and the gulf war ring any bells? All the others Governments following the same Common Purpose path since. Who is the guiding light? Don’t really know for sure but these Builderberg meetings of members certainly seem to influence the planet.

  6. afwheately says:

    I agree, the wire mesh won’t hack it – no doubt belligerent migrants will try hacking it!

    I also agree that the current Med rescue policy is collaborating with people traffickers. It has always been obvious that this would be the case, and I can not imagine why the EU politicians decided on such a policy, unless they are all stupid.

    Clearly this is an international issue and the obvious place for a solution to be sought is the UN, but the only thing I have heard them doing is appealing for money to give away.

    I guess that what we are witnessing now is inherently no different to what has been going on amongst humans for centuries. The big difference now is World-wide instant communication and rapid transport facilities.

    Of all the options, subsidising people traffickers and aiding international terrorists it just about the worst choice.

    • Flyinthesky says:

      The UN? it’s the eu on steroids. There is little chance of anything constructive coming from that direction. With their fluffy perspective they are constrained by their own ideals.
      The only chance of a solution is when nations start to defy the 1951 convention. Everyone is looking at everyone else to make a start.

      It’s like Roger’s common sense solution, return them to north Africa before they get very far, there will be a lot of articles and clauses in the convention that prohibit this.

  7. Brin Jenkins says:

    If it was not run by those who pay the bill we should ignore these clauses.

    • Flyinthesky says:

      Indeed but that’s not how it works is it.
      Care of decades of conditioning, infantilisation of the populace and the deliberate hypercomplexity of legislation the siren call goes out, what’s the government going to do, what’s the eu going to do, what’s the UN going to do. None of them can do anything they’re constrained by their own ideals and principles.

  8. Ex-expat Colin says:

    So really I expect to see a lot more campers/beggars in London….again? That’ll be right under the noses of the elected authorities. Those that don’t do much I mean. So the big thinking comes to this:

    “The maximum sentence for employers found guilty of hiring illegal migrants will be raised from two to five year”

    Thats so you’ll know there are plenty coming. They might be legal (just) but they are definitely uninvited.

    I think they’ll have to clear out a good few of the killers, rapists, paedo’s and TV tax evaders to do it. Not necessarily in that order.

    • Flyinthesky says:

      “The maximum sentence for employers found guilty of hiring illegal migrants will be raised from two to five year”
      Classic government modus, fine and punish people for it’s own incompetence.
      Similarly, I know there are some bad apples, fining hauliers for transporting migrants, if the immigration dept was on the ball it wouldn’t happen.
      Another one that gauls me is the punishment of licensees for selling to underage drinkers,
      The offence should be buying it and fine them or the parents. Most of the idealist political class will not have seen the consequences in a shop where the vendor has refused a sale to a large group of burly 17 year olds, they often wreck the shop on their way out.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      oh..missed the 6 months for the illegal immigrant as well. So getting more crowded.

      I don’t know quite where this problem is going to go or how long it’ll take to get to something pretty bad. There are signs of course. Schengen always meant loss of control/security, but the liberal fools went along with it. Need Trump over here to openly/loudly tell it as it is. Well, nobody else but Farage did that and he don’t get TV time anymore. Our host does let rip now and again in Brussels I know.

      I think if anyone went messing with the Falklands (barby penguin anyone?) its likely the NGO handwringers would be rather active…like Greenpeace for instance. And they are expecting to get some money from Russia for their little attack on an oil rig of theirs. Yeah, good luck with that! Lucky they didn’t get their little tub lovingly punctured.

  9. Ian Terry says:

    It isn’t going to stop until the immigrants realise there is nothing for them in coming here.

    The politicians will huff and puff and three fifths of naff all will happen.

    It will really get worse all round when Son of Agenda 21 is presented to the world later this year.

    You couldn’t make it up

  10. B Hough says:

    Among the immigrants arriving in Europe from North Africa, how many could be ISIS sleepers just waiting for instructions?
    If any immigrants do commit terrorist attacks then I think the blaze` supporters of unrestricted access to the UK should be charged with`aiding and abetting`.
    How would they react if one of their family was de-capitated?

  11. Ex-expat Colin says:

    John Redwood has received a letter on the subject from the Immigration Minister (Brokenshaw):

    So you now know that we will be head banging for a very long time to come. On the BBC World Service last night an invader on Lesbos (medical student allegedly) asks us to be patient and to end the war(s) first. Since we largely started them off I doubt there will be a plan with anything that can fill in an EU expense claim to resolve such massive problem(s).

  12. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Public Nuisance from Wind Farms (Mandatory Liability Cover) Bill 2015-16

    David Davis trying it…no doubt to get its legs chopped off as soon as the Westminster VI’s club up.

    Its a real bother when we are blinded from the contract detail for this cr8p. And the fiddles are lengthy: (H/T Bishop Hill)
    “The big companies that build windfarms tend to put each of their developments in a separate shell company, with a small share capital and funding provided instead of through a large loan from the parent company. With profits immediately passed up to the parent, the operating businesses will usually have no net assets, which means that if any large liabilities arise there is nothing available to meet them”. Think of end of life and restoration.

    I like the title piece…Public Nuisance.

  13. Me says:

    The so called migrant crisis looks like a programmed, organised event with the main goal being the destruction of homogeneous societies in Europe.
    Already, the UK, France, Sweden, The Netherlands are on the brink of collapse under chaotic, and massive immigration from people whose goal is to colonise us, not to adapt or integrate.

    This article says everything one needs to know about this “crisis”:
    EU should ‘undermine national homogeneity’ says UN migration chief

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