BRITAIN’S Channel migration crisis is accelerating at a rate many would have laughed off as right-wing doom-mongering only a year ago.
Around 25,000 migrants have made the journey this year, dwarfing last year’s 8,500.
But while the numbers shift rapidly, the journey remains as perilous as ever.
Alongside dodging 600 daily vessels in the busiest shipping lane in the world, dinghy passengers who run into trouble face a very real fate of death by drowning or succumbing to hypothermia.
So why are so many continuing to risk their life travelling from a continent full of some of the safest, most democratic countries on Earth? Well, Britain is still the softest of soft touches on migration.
Get here and you are likely to be able to stay. As we heard last week, just FIVE people who crossed the Channel illegally so far this year were returned to the EU.
And once here, a smorgasbord of state-funded benefits opens up — housing, money, healthcare and so on.
But that is not the only reason why the UK has such appeal. In part, the EU’s own record on migrants is to blame.
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I’d flee to Britain too if I was in search of refuge. Because I suspect those migrants are desperate to get to Britain for the same reason my family decided to come to Britain from Kenya 20 years ago.
We didn’t pull “Britain” out of a hat full of the rolled-up names of European countries.
The decision to make the 4,500-mile journey to this country, and this country only, was for one reason: Britain is better than mainland Europe for migrants who wanted to make the most out of their life.
It is the inconvenient truth Europhiles love to ignore, and the reason Britain continues to be, at any cost, the last stop for those seeking refuge.
Don’t listen to those EU evangelists bringing you the gospel about how the bloc is the symbol of tolerance, peace, and unity.
Many EU nations, from west to east, continue to be riddled with levels of state-sanctioned xenophobia that would make Britain First blush.
And while the Union wins the occasional battle against this, it is a war it is destined to lose.
Many of its nations’ leaders are intent on pursuing their anti-migrant agendas, with the backing of huge swathes of their populations, and they certainly won’t let the EU get in their way.
Just last week, the top EU court ruled that Hungary’s 2018 law, which effectively made supporting an asylum seeker a jailable offence, infringed upon EU law.
But make no mistake, Hungary’s self-proclaimed “anti-immigration” Prime Minister Viktor Orban is happy to continue being the poster boy for European xenophobia.
EU nations are also giving islamophobia the rubber stamp. Take the Austrian government.
This year it launched a controversial “Islam Map” of the locations of hundreds of mosques around the country — leading, unsurprisingly, to a spike in anti-Muslim crimes.
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Such a dystopian, provocative proposal would be political suicide for a British politician, I would think.
France is no better. Its new “anti-separatism” law has further expanded a crackdown on Muslim activity in what many are calling a step too far.
It is certainly enough to send the mostly Muslim migrants searching for refuge running for a dinghy to Dover.
While it might position itself as a champion of free migration — and claims human dignity is one of its key principles — the rampant phobia of foreigners in so many of the bloc’s member states might suggest otherwise.
So Britain finds itself in a paradox. The values we idealise — especially those of respect and tolerance — act as an illegal immigration magnet.
We have had a major failure of imagination to come up with solutions that are firm but fair. Solutions that uphold our values but offer a more realistic and manageable immigration position.
And one that doesn’t undermine our ability to take in those genuinely in need of asylum.
Our politicians have become too browbeaten by those loud voices on the Left who apparently will not tolerate anything other than an open- door policy and view any toughening of immigration rules as akin to racism.
To try to resolve the issue, the Prime Minister has ordered a review into Channel crossings and is reported to be exasperated at the absence of policies to tackle them.
So long as the French continue to do a terrible job stopping crossings, the only tools we really have are removing the pull factors — making the process for those who are not genuine asylum seekers as complicated, difficult and fruitless as possible.
But I’m afraid the biggest pull factor of all will still remain — the tolerant spirit of the British people and the soft-touch approach of our Government.
CRY ME A RIVER
THE Government is planning to reduce the cap on the amount private parking companies can fine you from £100 to £50.
This has led to complaints from firms that this could dramatically cut their revenues and that two thirds of them could go bust within two years if these measures are brought in.
Spare a thought for these companies, who treat motorists – and sometimes hospital patients – as cash cows, raking in millions of pounds and ruthlessly chasing down those who can’t afford to pay up.
While I’m ideologically inclined to be pro-business, on this occasion I suspect private firms’ cries about going out of business will sound like nothing but a symphony of little violins to drivers.
I, for one, won’t be shedding any tears.
Adele keeps it real
ADELE’S TV special at the weekend featured an audience studded with A-listers including Dame Emma Thompson, Idris Elba, Naomi Campbell and Gareth Southgate.
And even those celebs not invited were heaping praise on her. Piers Morgan hailed her “the best singer in the world”.
But while it’s Adele’s singing voice that many love to listen to, I adore her speaking voice just as much.
Her gritty cockney accent and working-class, inner-city London vernacular are quite the contrast to her angelic, dulcet tones, let’s be honest.
But isn’t it endearing to hear someone who has found fame and riches yet hasn’t picked up an American accent or tried to make themselves sound posh?
In a world where poshos are revered, I find it very refreshing listening to celebs who don’t talk propa!
HELL OF A GOOD TIME
I TOOK my daughter to a kids’ indoor play centre over the weekend.
It’s the kind of place people who don’t like kids would consider hell – clumsy, sweaty, children running around everywhere, pesky children kicking and screaming at each other.
But what annoyed me was that I was the only parent who bothered to join my daughter on the play equipment, albeit making a big fool of myself in the process.
The rest of the parents were sat in the cafe, sedentary, glued to their phones, glancing at their watches and wondering when it would all end.
Maybe it’s because I had my daughter so young that I’m willing to get stuck in.
Either way, I challenge all parents to join their kids next time they go to an indoor soft-play place – they might just find they enjoy it more than the kids.
Parole far too risky
AS someone who likes to be right, I love it when I get to say: “I told you so.”
But this time, it gives me no pleasure to say so.
In September I wrote a column on this very page questioning when Britain will ever properly punish child killers like Colin Pitchfork.
Last week The Sun revealed that the disgusting Pitchfork is back in jail after breaching his parole conditions.
After serving a 33-year stint for the rapes and murders of two girls in the 1980s, Pitchfork was found taking long walks in the woods and approaching young girls.
The Parole Board who said he was fit for public release should hang their heads in shame.
There is absolutely no redemption for anyone who rapes and kills children – ever.
If Pitchfork had hurt another child, the Parole Board would have blood on its hands.
Thank God he’s back behind bars and we seem to have narrowly avoided that inevitable fate.
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