The government – and the Establishment media – have been focusing extensively in recent weeks on the phenomenon of migrants crossing the channel.
Yet the number of attempted crossings fell sharply last year, to 115,000 from 167,000 in 2016:
Attempting to do so is not a new phenomenon, with reports dating back years of ‘gangs’ smuggling migrants onto beaches by boat and some having to be rescued in the same way as reported in the last two months.
But such attempts have also been declining – government figures show 1,832 clandestine entries on the south coast in 2017/18, including people arriving on small boats as well as in ferries and in the back of lorries – a decrease of 23 per cent on the year.
The number of migrants who have attempted to cross by boat since the beginning of November this year – supposedly a crisis – was reported only three days ago as ‘more than 100‘.
By Friday – as Home Secretary Sajid Javid rushed home to deal with the ‘crisis’ – this had become 221 people.
Yet just this morning the BBC was talking of the increasing scale of attempts to cross the channel – and the broadcaster has talked of a “rush to cross Channel by boat before Brexit“. Other Establishment media have followed suit.
Two hundred and twenty-one people attempting to cross the Channel by boat is harrowing for the two hundred and twenty-one people – but across a period of two months it is not the scale of problem that we are being told it is.
With the vote on Theresa May’s desperate, dismal Brexit ‘deal’ due once Parliament returns from recess next month – and bribes of New Year’s Honours already made to some of her key Brexit opponents – could the issue of migrants crossing by boat be a tactic to stir up xenophobia and build pressure for MPs to back even the most desperate withdrawal agreement if it dangles the prospect of ‘controlling’ immigration?
Hmmm, tough one.
Of course, it’s as dishonest as it is desperate. Smuggling people into the UK is already illegal, with those caught in the attempt liable to criminal sanction. That will be no more true if MPs and the population fall for the ruse and no more true after Brexit than before.
But since when did being dishonest and desperate prevent the Establishment attempting it?
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