I suspect politicians have one of those paper fold up thingies. You know the thing I mean. As a kid you would write names under the fold down flap and do a passable impersonation of a chick opening its beak as you counted out the number of letters in your birth month and then counted your birth date. Wherever this origami divining device ended up revealed the name of who you were to marry.
Remarkably I always ended up with “Mrs VFTN”. That meant little to the ten year old me.
This must be the way that politcians make their most crucial decisions, for sense and logic seem little to do with it. So they all sit around the table and chant C-O-B-R-A as Theresa May darts her fingers back and forth. They then count the number of second and third homes those present in the meeting have and David C opens a flap to see what the policy announcement is going to be for the next day.
That must be they way they do it. It can be the only explanation.
So when the great and the good gathered together to consider the problems currently existing at Calais they came up with stopping benefits for the family of failed asylum seekers and making it a criminal offence for a landlord to not evict them.
Brilliant. We are going to force people, and let’s make no bones about this, including children homeless and penniless in order to deter them from coming into this country. If the answer of our Government is to make the desperate more desperate then someone at Calais can have my place in this country because I want no part of a nation like that.
Do our politicians realise what the majority of these people are fleeing? These are not EU nationals exercising their right to freedom of movement. These are people who are fleeing poverty and war. I am sure that if you took a quick straw poll of half a dozen Syrians and asked them “What would you rather? Penniless and homeless in the UK or almost penniless and at risk of having your house bombed and your town taken over by ISIS in Syria?” you would probably have a fair number taking their chances in the shop doorways of Kings Cross.
People are dying to get into this country. I do not mean that metaphorically. People actually die. The conditions in the camps at Calais are not the stuff of Hi-De-Hi. Making those people homeless once they are here is just going to drive them into the sorts of camps they already live in. Stopping the meagre benefits of £36 per week is not going to deter many people who are desperate enough to buy a wetsuit from Decathlon to try to swim the Channel. All it will do is make those that are here turn to crime.
Give a leaflet to every inhabitant of the various ghettos around Calais explaining to them that this proposal awaits them if they get to the UK and see how many pack up and leave. It will be somewhere in the region of “not very many”.
The disorder at the Tunnel Terminals is a serious concern. The state of the world which drives people to exhibit this level of desperation and lawlessness is a serious concern. The measures that the Government propose are not a serious answer. They lack humanity and they lack sense.
Real politicians would have real answers, not answers that pander to a perception of the UK as a soft touch and the target of the avaricious layabouts of the world. The reality is that these policies are not made by folding pieces of paper but they are made for the headlines that make the front page of the daily papers.