The UK doesn’t have a Migrant Crisis – Liberal Article
Remember when we mocked President Trump’s ‘build a wall’ election bid? Well, it turns out post-Brexit Britain is remarkably alike; Or even arguably, worse.
Recent headlines revealed plans to use Royal Navy ships to block unstable dinghies of refugees crossing the channel. A decision that would have directly contributed to the threat of people drowning. A threat which has already taken the lives of tens of thousands of European refugees.
Luckily, the UN has declared the obvious; that using warships against dinghies will result in fatal incidents. For now, these plans have subsided. However, this doesn’t mean the UK government has calmed down in their hostile approach. Instead, military aircraft are being deployed; creating a second war on these civilians.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, daughter of Indian immigrants, justified the use of the Royal Navy as being the will of the people as expressed through the Brexit vote. However, the referendum can not claim to represent the wishes of the UK society. Illegal propaganda and false information are not the conditions necessary for a democratic decision. Surely we’re not a society that favours symbolic nationalism over human lives?
I say symbolic because the Brexit vote simply does not benefit the interests of the majority of this nation. If nationalism means in the interests of one’s nation, then the Brexit vote was not an authentically nationalist.
The UK has lost its largest trading bloc causing the loss of its leading banking and finance industry, as well as further deindustrialization. Naturally, this is looking likely to cause mass unemployment. Our healthcare is already being sold off to America’s big Pharma. And our human rights are endangered as we prepare to repeal equality and human rights laws protected by the EU.
Supporting ‘our’ nation is far more than ‘taking back control of our borders’. There is, therefore, no nationalist nor logical justification for this inhumane approach to refugees.
The notion of using the military to stop innocent civilians seeking the ability to live is not only a massive overreaction, but it is also illegal and divergence from real threats in society. A product and part of fear-fueled propaganda.
Our Prime Minister argued this hostile approach is appropriate to deal with the channel crossings, which he has described as being ‘very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do’. His choice of words unusually simple for a man of his education prompts the question of who this is meant to persuade?
It can’t be those who are educated within politics or the law as there is nothing illegal about entering the UK to claim asylum. In fact, it is what the UK government is proposing to do that is illegal
But yes, Prime Minister it certainly is dangerous, in fact, another child’s body washed up on a beach just this week. So maybe following international maritime law and helping those aboard these dinghies would be a more appropriate decision.
The UK is not facing a migrant crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis!
Firstly because these people aren’t migrants. Those crossing the channel are not doing it for a better house or job. They have nowhere else to go, to call home or to establish a future. The people crossing the channel in rubber dinghies are refugees.
The media’s use of the term migrant gives this illusion of choice, helping create this ‘us’ versus ‘them’ dichotomy. ‘Refugees over here to steal our jobs’ just doesn’t have the same persuasive ring to it.
Whilst I do sympathise with the argument that we should be looking after ‘our’ poor first it is simply a separate issue. Providing asylum seekers with £37 a week, the equivalent of two minutes of Piri Patel’s pay does not contradict the needs of ‘our’ poor. We are not threatened by those in life jackets, we are threatened by those in the suits. Those making the decisions which continue to make the average person’s life considerably harder in Britain. If this doesn’t ring true to you then ask what age your parents were able to buy a house.
Also over half those claim asylum in Britain provide a net contribution to society. The UK is very much dependent on the work of migrants. In fact, Johnson, Sunak, Raab and Patel are just a few of the conservative cabinet who come from migrant families. So why is the drawbridge being pulled up now?
It’s not like we can’t afford the mere 1% of global refugees that come to Britain. The UK is in the top ten richest economies in the world. In fact, the UK has profited from the cause of the European migrant crisis, licensing £6bn of arms to Saudia Arabia in the last five years; Directly contributing to 60% of civilian deaths in Yemen. So where are these profits? Could these not be used to help those seeking a home that’s not at risk of being bombed?
A final point. Nothing has really changed. The slight increase in migrant crossings can be put down to better weather. So if the UK doesn’t have a crisis on its hands, as propagated by the media and conservative government, then what is this ‘crisis’ about?
It may be as simple as racism lurking in right-wing politics. But look at what should be dominating the headlines; the fact the UK is facing the deepest recession in the G7, has the highest Covid fatality rate in Europe and £100 million of public money was spent on PPE which was never provided.
The migrant crisis that we’re apparently facing seems like another example of tactical scapegoating. We need to question who really needs to be ‘brought to justice’ to use Patel’s own words. To get rid of the ‘migrant crisis’ refugees need to be housed and helped. Wars need to come to an end. These people can’t simply disappear.
Written by Guest Liberal Writer, Abby Milnes
Point of Information
Say their name: Refugee, not migrant – a Labour Response
Abby mentions how the us-them distinction is indexed with the terms refugee and migrant. Conservatism, in its most recent mutation, thrives from drumming up a pale imitation of wartime nationalist pride and scapegoating brown outsiders. As opposed to the refugee, the migrant is an excessive-enjoyer, someone who has a fairly comfortable life at home, arrives on UK shores holding a smartphone and free-rides on the plight of genuine refugees.
In fact, a migrant is a person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions. A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
This is a massively important distinction. News-writers and conservative politicians often falsely use the term ‘migrant’ rather than ‘refugee’, as Abby rightly notes. As Barrister Colin Yeo states, “The main problem with the harsh rhetoric you get from politicians about these people being bogus asylum seekers, and [saying] ‘send them back’, is that they are actually genuine refugees”.
Sajid Javid makes a case for the migrant-status of channel-crossers that is purely ideological trash. He says: “if you were a real, genuine asylum seeker then you could have done that in another safe country’.” Javid points his finger at France, a country with whom the UK has a long-running dispute over the distribution of asylum seekers. So the argument is: ‘Although the British people have ‘suffered’ enough migration, France must ‘suffer’ more’.
Already on shaky footing, Javid’s Conservative justification for the migrant status of channel-crossers falls flat on its back when one considers the case of Abdulfatah Hamdallah. This 28-year-old man died recently by drowning in the British Channel, having originally fled a war-torn area of Sudan. Click here for what the violence in that area looks like and for god’s sake imagine yourself in Abdulfatah’s position. His application for asylum in France was rejected. He attempted to cross to the UK. He died.
Just because channel-crossers come from French soil, this does not mean they have already been granted asylum in France. This is obvious. But still, the Conservative ‘logic’ goes: if they’ve made it as far as France then they are crossing the channel out of greed. How hilariously incorrect.
Written by Guest Labour Writer, Joseph Cradick
Migrants are not a crisis, but this does not solve the problem – a Conservative Response
Firstly, there is so much to say here i cannot summarise it in one response, so if you wish to read more, do click here.
There is no migrant crisis. Humans have always migrated from place to place in order to have a better life and fundamentally there is nothing wrong with this. If migrants wish to live in the UK to work and contribute to society that is more than fine.
I find the rhetoric of racism that the left has spread awfully confusing and dangerous. Joseph makes a point that Conservatives are “scapegoating brown outsiders”, despite Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid all quite snuggly fitting into this category. In fact, I cannot find any UK right-wing press which has used the term “brown outsiders”. Joseph may have to share his source on that one. Migrants are not defined by being non-white.
The distinction made between a migrant and a refugee is important. A refugee is leaving a dire and often dangerous situation and requires the aid of other nations. Whereas a migrant can be anyone who simply moves from one place to another, irrespective of wealth or social status. Refugees need help from others.
With regards to using the Navy to protect the channel and control our borders, this is justified. To make migrants and refugees use legal proceedings to enter Britain is more than reasonable. Allowing people to enter the country illegally whilst taking the spaces of migrants and refugees who have applied legally is not justifiable. How dare anyone prioritise some migrants over others.
Migrants are mostly a positive thing for a country. However, that does not mean that we should let down our defences and let in those who would attack our liberties.
Overall, there is no migrant crisis, but I shall go into more detail as to why in a future POI article which will be a direct response to this article. This future article will share the same name as my response “Migrants are not a crisis, but this does not solve the problem”.
Finally, to address the title of the Labour response, my grandparents were called Peter and Mary, my uncle and aunt Stephen and Katherine, and my mother Wendy.
Written by Guest Conservative Writer, Peter Pearce
I am a graduate of the University of Exeter where I studied politics, philosophy and economics. I used this fantastic opportunity to pursue my deepest interests in the subjects of moral philosophy and political psychology.
I am going into my second year at the University of Exeter studying a flexible combined honour in Geography and Politics. My interest in politics and geography stems from an interest in current events and the wider world, with geography being the study of all world processes.