For those of you who’ve ventured into The EC and beyond via Calais recently, you cannot have failed to have been stunned by the size of the refugee camp glowering on Les Dunes.
The main expressway out of the port now borders a shanty-town of such destitution that it is shameful to behold. To your left, as you drive inland, are literally thousands of makeshift shelters roofed in old tarps and bin liners that have become home to asylum-seekers and economic migrants from North Africa. They’re looking to get to England because they believe we have the homes, food and money that are seriously lacking in their host country….La Belle France.
Here in England lies the key (apparently) to their happiness. The French have nothing for them and that’s why these desperate people risk their lives daily in the hope of reaching the ‘promised land’ clinging to the underside of a lorry. The media have made us aware of this disaster area after the dock workers in Calais decided to turn on their masters and the rest of the travelling public in some lame attempt at a protest over job losses by setting fire to tyres and generally causing mayhem for 48 hours. The ensuing traffic jams along French motorways resulted in these lost souls redoubling their efforts to get into, under or on top of the artics bound for Dover and Ashford.
For a country with a money-motivated, capitalist Government it seems we are still regarded by the rest of the world as a soft touch or at the very least a country whose streets are paved with gold. Why should we still have this reputation as a benevolent, charitable and sharing people when inside the leaky ‘Fortress UK’ we find that over 5 million children will soon live below the poverty line and more than a million families now regularly take advantage of food banks to supplement their meagre living?
It all seems a bit odd to me but somewhere there must be some sort of disconnect between the truth about life here for many and the dream world created in the minds of foreigners who want to come and live ‘over the rainbow’.
Depending upon where you’ve come from and how many times you’ve gone to bed hungry or feared for your life, it is likely a refugee’s idea of happiness and luxury may vary from ours so should we open up our hearts and the floodgates and a let them come? Or do we pull up the drawbridge sharpish?
There is no doubt we’ve room for some but how many and when will we shut the gates and how will we control the other 100 million who probably hope to follow this wave of despair? There are no easy answers and if we decide to let this current flush of migrants through there will undoubtedly come a time when we will have no choice but to bar the gate…….and if it’s not now….when?