Tragic End To Small Boats Week Farce


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As we mentioned last week, in its efforts to claim progress on the Prime Minister’s pledge to stop the boats, Downing Street planned a week of headline-grabbing announcements to do with the illegal crossings, mainly to try and divert attention from the looming 100,000 milestone that was about to be passed. The communications’ blitz had begun with migrants finally boarding Bibby Stockholm (BS), the converted barge.

But, no sooner had 39 reluctant ‘passengers’ going nowhere boarded the BS than they had to be evacuated. Traces of the legionella bacteria had been detected. It later emerged that the Home Office had signed off moving the migrants onto the barge before knowing the water test results.

Then, on Saturday morning news began emerging of a significant rescue operation in the Channel involving an overloaded and sinking dinghy. Despite the best efforts of French and British search and rescue personnel, six people died.

What do these two incidents tell us about the Channel crisis? Firstly, that the Government can’t hide or gloss over its woeful performance and utter failure to deal with the illegal boats. As our chairman Alp Mehmet said: “the weather has proved better able to protect our border than Border Force” (this was one of the Mail on Sunday’s ‘Quotes of the Week’).

Secondly, as we have repeatedly warned, for so long as the boats continue to come, some of the journeys will end in the tragic loss of life. Those who all but encourage these crossings by regarding the small boat migrants as genuine asylum seekers (the vast majority are working age men looking for a job) should be taken in unquestioningly might bear this in mind.

The third, equally stark, message for us is that the more who arrive and are not removed, the more impossible it is going to be to accommodate them.

In the days since then, despite the deaths, small boats have continued to cross the Channel in large numbers. The week from 10-16 August has been the second busiest seven-day period of the year so far with 2,163 migrants arriving by small boat. With warm weather and calm seas, many more will come, for sure.

If you have enjoyed reading this preview of the weekly newsletter, you can read the full version here.

You can sign up the newsletter here and will receive an email copy of the newsletter every Friday as soon as it is released.

18th August 2023 - Newsletters

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