IAN HART: Europe must sit down and find solution to Calais crisis

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

To listen to some commentators the current migrant crisis in Calais is apparently in danger of turning mild mannered English people into rabid right wing fascists at just the mere mention of the ongoing situation.

A little bit of a media overreaction in itself and a tad harsh to brand ordinary people with such extreme views. Like most things there is more than one aspect to this particular story, on one side as a country still, thankfully, with a Christian and charitable edict, there is obviously scope to help people less fortunate than ourselves.

But on the flip side there is also the stark reality of the whole thing.

Official figures released this week, and reported on ITV, echo part of the nation’s concerns. Back in March 2014 Kent County Council social services had 239 migrant children in their care. This March it was over 350, and at the beginning of last month it was touching 700. This isn’t scare mongering by the right wing press; these are, as I said official figures released by a unitary authority.

Now with almost every local government facing huge cuts to their services across the board, what does this actually mean for Kent council, its local infrastructure and ongoing finances?

With a humanitarian view, I understand and feel desperately sorry for anyone who is forced into the situation where they have to seek political asylum, but the very definition of that process, as I understand it, is that the asylum has to be sought at the first free border.

Clearly the desperate people in Calais didn’t parachute there; they have travelled through Germany, France, Italy and other ‘free’ countries. This whole thing, and especially the stance of the Mayor of Calais, appears to have as much to do with bashing the British as the plight of the poor migrants themselves. It is Europe’s problem, and unfortunately we have to include the UK in that, but until the other countries involved stopped trying to score points and point fingers, and actually sit down and try and find the best humanitarian solution to the crisis, it’s not going to go away, and will almost certainly worsen.

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