Can migrants be sent back to France by Priti Patel?

Can migrants arriving in the UK, or attempting to get here be sent back to France? Priti Patel the home secretary, who’s favourite nursery rhyme is ‘I’m a little despot, short and stout’ seems to think so. Does she honestly ever bang on about anything else? Well I’ve got some news for her, since incredibly, she doesn’t seem to know, or rather her own inbuilt dislike of people fleeing warzones or poverty appears to dominate her thinking.

Firstly, referring to these people who may be trying to get to the UK as all being ‘migrants’ is a media spin tactic and one Patel embraces, since it implies these people do not need to be here, they just want to come here, no doubt to ‘steal our jobs’, or other common refrains to that effect. I had no idea Brexit was a migrant! It is racist baiting rhetoric from racist right wing sources and that should be condemned by anyone with an ounce of sense.

The fact is these people may be coming here for a whole host of reasons, but put yourself in their shoes for one moment and imagine how desperate their plight may well be, if they’re prepared to try and cross the channel from France to try and find a better life for themselves, particularly if its families with young children. We’ve all seen the pictures of rescues at sea, we’ve all seen the horrific images of when these crossings go tragically wrong, so just think about that. A great many of these so-called migrants are in fact refugees and that’s a major, but often omitted difference.

Now sorting out refugees from migrants happens when these people arrive and seek asylum. Nobody can be turned away when they apply for asylum it is law that they have every right to remain here whilst their application is reviewed. Sadly under the Tory regime we are enduring, they’re not doing a great job of this. We are not supposed to send people back to unsafe destinations, yet it happens. For years, the Tories have been sending people back to Afghanistan under the pretext it was safe, when actually it was only under occupation by Western forces. How did that work out?

While the rest of the world takes tens of thousands of legitimate refugees from there now, we’re only taking 5,000 a year over the next 4-5 years. How I wonder will those in the years long queue to come here survive in the meantime? We said the same thing over Syria, Theresa May as Home Secretary pledged to take 20,000 Syrians over 5 years too. Target was missed and government attitudes have not changed, in fact they’ve only hardened further. Every legal means of coming here to seek asylum have been removed, so whilst the Tories can do nothing about international law regarding people seeking asylum once here, they’ll make it as difficult as possible to get here to start with. and so we come to that question of France.

Can we turn people around and send them back to France? The answer is no. I’ll repeat that again for the serially inept Tory MP Helen Whately who was doing the media rounds on this this morning, the answer is no. It is a violation of international maritime law – if you find someone in trouble, you have to rescue them. Can you order them to turn around? Not if it is unsafe to do so and when many of these people are arriving in small boats and dinghies, attempting to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, it is beyond doubt that they are in danger and should be rescued. Our rescue services can only bring them here, the RNLI for example, so it is dependent upon who exactly rescues such people as to where they end up taken.

Now when it comes to Priti Patel, she’s got serious form for this. She’s already attacked the RNLI for daring to rescue people and has threatened them with legal action if they don’t stop rescuing people and bringing them back here. It is their remit, they will not leave people at sea to die no matter how much she might want that and fair play to them – her attack on them led to a massive upsurge in donations to the RNLI, which operates as a charity and I’m sure such donations were indeed very welcome.

Nonetheless, Patel as recently as July paid the French £55m to increase their border patrols to stop people leaving France and heading here. With the best will in the world however, we’re talking massive stretches of coastline on both sides and you simply won’t catch them all. Sure there’s a safety aspect to stopping them leaving, if they can be stopped for their own safety they should, but it is impossible to stop the most determined from trying again and some will inevitably make it. Of course if this country provided a legitimate means of coming here to seek asylum, they wouldn’t need to take such desperate measures, so perhaps think on that as you ponder the realisation Priti Patel would rather throw tens of millions of pounds at the French to stop tiny boats leaving France, typically at night, often overcrowded, rather than provide a safe route to asylum.

Of course the other concern is that if you want to return people to France, you kind of need France’s permission to do so. They’ve refused. They won’t enable Patel to violate maritime law or endanger lives, as our border force are instructed to actually turn boats around. Our government would face legal action if they did so, so much as once.

Priti Patel has a problem with migrants. It never ceases to amaze me that her own parents came here as refugees in the 70’s from Uganda, that she has such a hardline stance against anyone wishing to come here and seek asylum from another country. The fact is her desire to turn boats around would be illegal, France will never accept these people back anyway in order to safeguard their lives, something our government refuses to prioritise. The RNLI thankfully will and it remains to be seen if Patel follows through on threats to target them for doing so. Anyone once here can claim asylum, it is for them to make their case for that, with the odds stacked against them even if they’re fleeing a warzone, such is the state of that system under the Tories. Our government are spreading racist, divisive rhetoric and desperate people fleeing goodness knows what shouldn’t be scapegoated by despotic little madams like Patel, or anyone else.

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British response to refugees is shameful.

The sight of people trying to flee Afghanistan as the Taliban moved in and took over was harrowing to see. People cramming onto aircraft if they were lucky enough to get on one, some so desperate that they were tying themselves to the wheels or clinging onto the sides, literally risking death to escape, only for death to claim them, yet our sorry excuse for a government? They all seem to be on holiday while it happens.

As with any war, innocent lives are not only lost but displaced as well. It happens every time and sadly all too often this side of the story isn’t spelt out, isn’t told, all too often our media play it down not wishing us to be informed as to what the human cost is. Death figures are harrowing of course, but they are numbers on a sheet, people displaced by war, driven from their lands, homes destroyed, jobs gone, nowhere to go and in need of help that doesn’t always come – well, these are real people, still there and the picture becomes far more complex.

For those countries that do put their hands up, that do acknowledge their role and that they need to play a part in helping the innocent caught up in atrocity deserve to be applauded for their efforts. Germany have said they’ll evacuate 10,000 Afghans, naming translators and human rights lawyers specifically – those who worked with the West for 2 decades and are at risk of execution if caught. Angela Merkel has also said that she’ll work with other European countries to facilitate more. Good luck with dealing with Emmanuel Macron of France on that, since he seems more interested in blocking flows of ‘migrants’ from Afghanistan – they aren’t migrants, they’re refugees, learn the difference –  and has vowed to develop an EU initiative to stop them. Pandering to the far right in his own country to try and save his own political hide at the expense of displaced victims of war. Centrism for you – people hanging off planes and falling to their deaths and he wants to put the boot in.

The US plan on taking 30,000, Canada 20,000, even Uganda has pledged to take 2,000, now there’s a country that knows something about citizens displaced by war.

But what of the UK, how many are we taking? Boris Johnson is on record as saying we must not turn our backs on Afghanistan, Boris Johnson has mumbled something about an Afghan refugee scheme this week, but would they really want to come here given our track record?

Since 2008, the UK have deported, under the guise of repatriation, 15,575 Afghans back to their home country on the basis that their country was safe. It’s another untold Windrush story. By 2015 an average of 100 Afghans a year were being sent back, including people who arrived here as children, have known nothing else. Their formative years were spent here, they studied here, passed qualifications here, were raised by foster families here, but the minute they hit 18, back they went. In fact an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found Afghan children were more than twice as likely to be refused permanent asylum as children from anywhere else.

How many more days will it be before Johnson informs us how many refugees the UK is going to take? Why is it taking so long? Why also, is he not being put under any pressure by the opposition, where is Keir Starmer in all of this, how many refugees does Labour think we should take? Oh, he’s apparently going to wait until the government produce some numbers first. Pathetic, he’s going to Captain Hindsight this as well. Johnson will name a number and he’ll go that’s not enough and raise him what? 100? A thousand? and then Johnson will go slightly higher. This is what passes for leading the opposition these days, utterly useless. Canada has already received a planeload of refugees, whilst we can’t make our minds up how many we’ll take still!

It’s hardly surprising, Johnson was on holiday and the de facto deputy prime minister and Geography impresario, Dominic Raab, who also, without any trace of irony is the foreign secretary was also away! He was warned ahead of heading off to a beach in Cyprus, that things were escalating in Afghanistan and that he shouldn’t go. Naturally, being all about himself as Tories invariably are, he went anyway. He’s had to be dragged back, refusing to budge for several days and mumbled a mealy mouthed ‘nobody could see this coming’ when he got back! Literally the PM and Deputy PM were absent from duty, nobody holding the fort, because y’know, don’t these Taliban types realise the UK is on its hols! Nobody could see it coming? You were told before you left! Jeremy Corbyn warned Blair about this in 2001, but y’know, who listens to jam making vegetable botherers! Well he was right again!

He’s also mumbled about increasing aid to Afghanistan by 10%, but this is after the UK cut foreign aid there by 78% just last month! They knew the Taliban was advancing then and all the while aid and military were being pulled out. What bloody good is 10% after that you pathetic worm of a man and who will it be paid to now, the Taliban?

And of course wherever there’s talk of the UK taking people in from elsewhere you just know Home Secretary Priti Patel will have said something dreadful and that chronic woman has already squealed about migrants – again, they aren’t migrants! They haven’t made a choice to come here, they’ve literally nowhere to go, the very definition of a refugee – they’re seeking refuge for heavens sake! She wants to make sure we only take people of value apparently! Good job Ted Heath didn’t feel the same way when he opened the UK up to refugees fleeing Uganda, since that included Patel’s bloody parents! Uganda, the same country now taking 2,000 refugees, which is 2,000 more than we currently are!

Patel is more concerned about the message this will send to other refugees who might want to come here. She is inhumanly cruel and callous, it is just astonishing given her own personal family history that she thinks the way she does and worse, that she’s in a position of privilege such as she is as Home Secretary.

We owe the people of Afghanistan. We stoked dissent there during the Cold War, we trained many of the fighters who later became part of the Taliban back in the 80’s to fight the Soviets. That proxy war left a country torn apart by civil war which laid the foundations for the Taliban to take it over. Displaced Afghans came here as children only to be sent back the minute they turned 18 as the country was deemed safe, during the 20 years a Western supported government held up but in reality the entire thing was built on quicksand. Trillions of dollars wasted without giving any thought to the country being able to support itself and its gone to hell inside 10 days.
Our government, We in Great Britain, we owe the people of this country a lot. We’ve caused chaos over the last 40 years in Afghanistan as a nation, the least we can do now is take some of those who’s lives have been destroyed thanks once again in part to this country, offer them a new, permanent home somewhere safe to rebuild. We should all demand it, we as a country need to do our part.

UPDATE:

Its now emerged we’ll be taking 20,000 refugees, but over the course of 5 years! What the hell these people are meant to do while they wait I don’t know, but this is effectively washing our hands of the situation and should shame us all. Demand better.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Embrace Blair’s Legacy? Screw that Keith.

As sure as night follows day, Keir Starmer’s lack of self-awareness rumbles on as we’re now looking at yet another relaunch of his leadership. Corbyn just getting his feet under the table was enough to give the out of touch majority of the Labour PLP a collective brain aneurysm, but Starmer can fail and fail and fail again to make any progress, any inroads with the public, can stand around awkwardly with ice cream and continue to be a pale, male and stale mire of nothingness and still not a peep from them.

This time he’s gone full Blairite, he wants to embrace Blair’s legacy going forwards. How utterly, mind-screamingly stupid a move this is. Blair’s legacy is toxic, but having surrounded himself with the same right-wingers Blair surrounded himself with, we’ve seen them in recent appointments, Peter Mandelson to start with of course, Mr I work every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn brought in to try and make Labour electable when the majority of members were inspired to join the very party then led by Corbyn, that Mandy despised so much, members who would never join a party led by a Blair clone, so little wonder the party is losing on average 250 members a day, having lost 120,000 of them overall since Starmer took over as leader. There have sadly been others from Blairs team join since.

Starmer is a man so bereft of ideas, that he has surrounded himself by the worst right wingers perverting the Labour Party, that he’s now gone full Tory. Tony Blair was regarded of course by Margaret Thatcher as her greatest achievement – a tame opposition party that would never rock the establishment boat, a safe pair of hands for vested interests should her own party ever fall out of control. Mandelson of course famously said the Labour voter would have nowhere else to go, that this was the perfect scam, the wealthy would never have anything to fear and a servile public would just have to lump it. Labour’s landslide in 1997 was massive, but it came off the back of an incredibly corrupt, far too long tenure of Tory rule – they’d been in power for 18 years. Just as Starmer lied about being a socialist to get elected Labour leader – if only trading standards could be applied to him, he’d have gone months ago – Blair did likewise, it soon became apparent what a weasel he was, because he was essentially a bastard Tory and did bastard Tory things. No council house building, despite knowing it was a crisis then and continued with right to buy, losing even more of our housing stock, tuition fees were introduced, bank deregulation began, did nothing to reverse anti-trade union legislation that Thatcher had brought in, in fact boasted about how tough it was, benefit cuts to single mothers and refugees seeking asylum, disability assessments were introduced, kids as young as 10 with ASBO’s being named and shamed, racially profiling Muslims for stop and search and told them if they didn’t like it to take off their veils, saddling the NHS with PFI’s condemning them to massive debts and paving the way for private firms to come into the NHS, built on since savagely by the Tories, there were outsourcing disasters under Blair as well, he introduced it in the late 90’s and the Tories copied his example after, so many of the problems we see today were happening then too and actually started there. Oh and there was of course the matter of an illegal war that killed a million people. Labour’s polling in subsequent elections suffered as a result – they kept power, such was the dire state of the Tories at that time, Blair of course had Murdoch shielding the public from much of his mess at the time too, but their polling suffered and the party finances did as well. Blair left Labour £25m in debt and utterly reliant on donors for survival. It’s an uncomfortable truth for Blair’s defenders that actually the closest we’ve come to power since ‘97 and the only election where Labour actually gained seats instead of losing them was in 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn. In fact Corbyn got more votes in 2017 than Blair did in 2001 or 2005, it is our crap electoral system that means that that achievement did not translate into more seats than it did. Blair oversaw a haemorrhage in support, a decline in voter turnout as well – turnout used to be over 70% in a general election, it hasn’t managed that since 1997, again, the closest it got was 2017 when a candidate for change, a candidate that inspired people stood for election and offered genuine choice, not two shades of Tory. So much for Mandelson saying we had nowhere else to go, we just stopped voting.

Instead of embracing these facts, instead of accepting Blair and his ilk are yesterday’s men and learning the lessons of recent history, Starmer is now promoting himself as the natural successor to Blair. Blair could at the very least think for himself Keith, you have to focus group everything. Yours so far is a legacy of pint holding and pointing, of standing awkwardly on the beach in a suit as people look away from you, of standing on a platform of socialism and then tearing up every pledge you made. Of losing by-election after by-election, only winning the last one in all likelihood, because the Green Party didn’t stand. Of sacking every socialist from your front bench as soon as you could find an excuse to do so whilst letting off right-wingers bringing shame on the party, of cheering on sporting events whilst failing to show solidarity for your own MP’s who have been vilified or attacked, for shamelessly capitalising on brave stances such as that of Dawn Butler by begging for cash whilst again offering her no solidarity, paying off ex-staff despite legal advice saying the party had a case against them, constantly attacking the left so that members are driven away in disgust. Between lost membership revenue and paying off people you had no right to, the party is now apparently on the brink of bankruptcy, you’re sacking staff as a result, yet hiring more on poorer terms and conditions turning the party of the working class into a bad fire and rehire employer. You’ve overseen left unions withdraw funding and consider disaffiliation, you’ve consistently blocked the release of the Forde Report which no doubt would expose the wrongdoing of many of those you’d paid off, you called Black Lives Matter a moment and with recent proscriptions and the lack of action taken after attacks on left wing Jewish members, not to mention those showing solidarity with Palestine, you’ve overseen a party that has consistently attacked its own left wing more than the government and led the party to become more racist. You’ve utterly failed to act as a leader of the opposition by consistently agreeing with the government on everything, from demanding schools reopen, no ifs, no buts, no equivocation, to demanding they lift restrictions even faster, based on no scientific evidence, but for crass, blatant political gain. You failed to demand male politicians resign, but are quick to demand female ones do – the difference in your responses to Matt Hancock and Nicola Sturgeon. The failure to hold the worst Tory government in modern history to account at the most crucial of times, during this pandemic has failed a nation and cost lives and throughout all of that, you’ve offered no alternatives and no policies.

Frankly we’re at the point where even if you brought in policies and you’ve talked about a Green New Deal in recent days, who would trust you? Who would believe you? You haven’t the conviction to stand by your own pledges, you keep trying to remake yourself every other week with another relaunch, yet the problem remains you are a singularly dislikeable, wooden, political vacuum, an empty suit, an advert for brylcreem but nothing else. You have no original ideas, you cannot think for yourself, you’ve been dishonest in your pronouncements, you’ve all but sent our party broke and now you’re wining and dining donors to fill the void but they aren’t biting much are they Keith! Even Blair couldn’t pull the party out of debt, it was Corbyn that did that, by increasing membership, increasing revenue by embracing the people. Many small donations made a big difference. It wasn’t Corbyn leaving us £25m in the hole, he left us £13m in the black and you and David Evans your unelected, unratified General Secretary have left him suspended from the party for far too long, despite an NEC panel clearing him, have given no indicator when this will be lifted and this has pissed off members possibly more than any other single action you’ve taken and for all that cash he injected into party coffers you seem to have blown it all and have fuck all to show for it.

Tony Blair is reviled in this day and age, people went off him fast, particularly members quickly enough at the time he was still leader. You really think that in this era of social media, of wokeness, of people being better informed than ever before as newspapers fall into decline and independent media offers alternative views and news that won’t be covered elsewhere that you can pull off a con like this when it seems you need someone to tell you what colour underwear to put on each day, let alone come up with a policy? Then you really are as daft as you look. You want us to embrace Blair’s legacy? Forget it. Much of the rot the Tories have wrought in recent years has built off what he started. To embrace Blairs legacy is to inspire the Tories, not oppose them. Your predecessor showed you the way, you pretended to be like him, yet now you say you’re like Tony fucking Blair. No politician as blatantly dishonest and lacking in principles as Starmer will ever succeed. It’s way past time the Party got rid. Clearly it isn’t true that anyone but Corbyn would be 20 points ahead. Its time we demanded he go, no ifs, no buts, no equivocation.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.