Letters: Mike Larcey, March 4, 2016

HMS RICHMOND rescue 134 migrants as part of a combined effort with the European  Union Naval Force Mediterranean, on Operation SOPHIA, the EU operation to tackle the migrant crisis. 

This is the third such even HMS RICHMOND has taken part in since joining Op SOPHIA in late October. The operation is now focused on the migrant smugglers, disrupting their operation in order to save lives. 

Image of HMS RICHMOND's Sea Boat beside the migrant craft. PPP-150911-133925001

HMS RICHMOND rescue 134 migrants as part of a combined effort with the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean, on Operation SOPHIA, the EU operation to tackle the migrant crisis. This is the third such even HMS RICHMOND has taken part in since joining Op SOPHIA in late October. The operation is now focused on the migrant smugglers, disrupting their operation in order to save lives. Image of HMS RICHMOND's Sea Boat beside the migrant craft. PPP-150911-133925001

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There is an interesting and informative article in a recent edition of The Sunday Times by David Smith.

He correctly identifies the issue of immigration as a toxic subject: whatever point of view one puts across, one is bound to be criticised. Now, that is acceptable providing the criticism is rational unlike the headlines of the scaremongering and anecdotal headlines of The Daily Mail and The Daily Express.

These two newspapers erringly fail to distinguish between migrants and refugees. This is to confuse the issue. The desperate people fleeing war zones are refugees and our reaction to them should be one of compassion resulting in providing all kind of care, shelter, sustenance and security. This is what they request of us. Why else would one leave family and friends and home, travel thousands of miles exposed to racketeers?

As for immigration, there are huge misconceptions and the article exposes these falsities. If immigration is to be a major issue during the in/out of the EU referendum, then we who can vote must make sure we are armed with the facts based on reliable research. To sum up the article, Mr Smith has discovered from various sound resources that net migration from EU countries into the UK “provides fiscal boost not a fiscal drain . EU migrants, on average, pay more tax than they receive in public services or benefits. Migrants mainly come to Britain to work, not to claim benefits...” He does admit that in certain areas a variety of pressures are heavy on facilities, but that is the fault of the system not the migrants. Finally, even if the UK left the EU, this would not prevent inward migration, particularly non-EU migration. Less EU migration would mean business would find it hard to recruit skilled workers. Personally, I think the subject of immigration is a case of red herring and scapegoating designed to cover up the failings of the current economic policy: where there is greatest need, there the government will make the greatest cuts. Lack of skills? Cuts in education. Difficulty in getting healthcare and social care? Cuts in and privatisation of the NHS and council services. Feeling insecure? Cuts in funding the police forces and emergency services. Unless you are part of the rich elite or of a global corporation. That is the whole point of the in/out of EU referendum and the real issue is being kept under cover.

Mike Larcey

Downham