Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/866/21175

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 August 2015

Human tragedy of Calais crisis

Tories have no solutions

Migrants at Calais in previous years, photo by Tom Jervis (Creative Commons)

Migrants at Calais in previous years, photo by Tom Jervis (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

Despite weeks of scaremongering headlines and reports about the desperate people encamped at Calais, David Cameron still found a way to escalate the anti-immigrant bile. He described the estimated 3,000 asylum seekers and migrants camped at Calais as a "swarm of people".

This was a deliberate attempt to whip up some workers' fears over the scale of immigration in order to falsely lay the blame for austerity at the door of migrants and asylum seekers.

It is preparation for the Tories' plan to viciously ratchet up their cuts and their repressive and racist measures. But it also triggered an angry response and even a mini-swarm of articles that gave some facts on the situation.

The figures grant a glimpse of the human tragedy that exists. Since the start of June, ten people have died on the roads around Calais. A pregnant woman miscarried in her attempt to get on a lorry to Britain. There are 629 children alone in Kent needing support and care.

Context

The false impression created that Britain is the main destination for migrants fleeing to Europe was also put in context. Last year France received 62,735 asylum applications, more than double the number in Britain. There were 626,000 asylum applications in the EU last year and 25,000 in Britain.

These people are mainly fleeing the horrendous situations such as in Afghanistan and Iraq. About one in five people seeking asylum in Europe have fled the war and chaos of Syria. But it is a tiny proportion of the people forced to leave their homes and lives in Syria. There are over two million registered refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

A number of writers exposed the appalling paucity of provision in Britain against the myth that there is a 'soft touch' approach here. Accommodation is provided for people who are seeking asylum - but this is either in a detention centre or in a room: not a house.

Asylum seekers are denied benefits while their applications are being processed and they are not allowed to work. Single adults receive 36.95 a week! Since the latest budget there has been a cut of up to 30% in the money paid to families.

The Tories have stepped up their divisive and racist measures. They want to remove the paltry financial support for those whose application for asylum has been rejected, condemning thousands of families to starvation.

Immigration bill

Extra sniffer dogs and 100 more guards will be sent to Calais. Home Secretary Theresa May has ramped up the racist immigration bill with measures requiring landlords in England to carry out "right to rent" checks on each tenant's immigration status before allowing them to move in. They will be free to evict those denied asylum without having to get a court order.

This is a racists' charter in the midst of a housing crisis already massively loaded towards Rachmanite money-grubbing landlords. A 2013 survey of 750 adults by the Runnymede Trust found 29% of black people seeking private housing had experienced discrimination - compared to 1% of white respondents. Outrageously Labour has backed this legalisation of a modern strain on a 'no blacks, no Irish' policy.

None of these measures will transform the situation. They will result in more poverty and desperation for the men, women and children who manage to get to Britain. And more deaths and injuries in Calais. A medical centre set up in the camp is treating people who have repeatedly attempted to scale razor wire fences - not out of choice but desperation.

Solidarity

The weekend's investigations into Calais also reported signs of solidarity. Local teachers are volunteering to teach French at the camp's school. In Britain there is also evidence of sympathy for those suffering the effects of war and capitalist crisis evidenced in the huge amounts donated to charity appeals.

In March, reports of the arrest of 20 year old Jimmy Thoronka, Sierra Leone's top 100-metre sprinter who overstayed his visa fearing the ebola crisis at home, inspired a flood of donations and offers of support and help.

At the same time in Austerity Britain there is an understandable fear that public services are over-stretched. A housing crisis is raging. Cuts to benefits and sky-high rents mean that over 50,000 families have been moved out of London by councils in the past three years. The Tories' hope the focus on asylum seekers and migrants will shift the blame off their failed housing policies and vicious austerity measures.

Fighting programme

But there is not a shortage of resources. Councils in England are sitting on enough brownfield land to build one million decent council homes.

The 'big four' property developers are sitting on enough land to immediately build 1.4 million homes. But knowing these facts - like those about the Calais situation - are not enough. We need organisations with a programme that fights for housing rights for all.

Why could that land and the biggest vultures in the construction industry not be nationalised, with compensation paid to current owners only on the basis of genuine need? Socialists would then build high quality council homes on an environmentally sustainable basis.

We defend the right of all working class people to a decent home and oppose evictions. That means building a mass campaign to fight for rent control and for investment in council housing.

Such a movement will need a political voice that can unite all those suffering under austerity and racism including defending the rights of asylum seekers.

The Socialist Party opposes all racist immigration laws and demands the shutting down of the detention centre prisons. The blame-game bandwagon can start to be stopped by the labour movement building an independent workers' political voice.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 5 August 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Jeremy Corbyn: Thousands rally to anti-austerity appeal

Health trusts told 'don't fill posts' - stop NHS cuts!

Abolish the House of Lords!

Police spying: campaigners demand full disclosure

Fiddling finance capital in the dock

Rent hikes make housing unaffordable

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

Human tragedy of Calais crisis

Personal care budgets: more choice for service users?


Socialist history

Hiroshima - 70 years on


International socialist news and analysis

China at a turning point


Workplace news

Kill the bill! Join the NSSN lobby of the TUC

National Gallery strike: all-out art action

Rail shutdowns step up: second tube strike, 72-hour Great Western walkout

National Museum Wales strike against pay cut

Traffic wardens strike for sick pay

Workplace news in brief

Fighting the anti-union laws


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Bath: behind the elegant walls


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning to end the housing crisis

Lincoln demonstrators defy far-right threats

TUSC lobbies 'Labstainer'

Thousands gather at Leeds Pride

Socialist Party Summer Camp


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 August 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Refugees:

triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleRoyal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

triangleInterview: Refugee Rights Campaign

triangleHundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

Tories:

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleSave our NHS

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

Asylum:

triangle40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Solidarity with refugees - defend the right to asylum

Britain:

triangleTory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

triangleThem & Us

Housing:

triangleStop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

Immigration:

triangleThem & Us

Austerity:

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

Racist:

triangleRefreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

Syria:

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

Iraq:

triangle'From Militant to the Socialist Party' - new book now available

Europe:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

War:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

Cuts:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

Solidarity:

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

Benefits:

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

Detention:

triangle4,800 young people hurt after officers 'restrain' them

Racism:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

Kent:

triangleAnger at south east Kent Momentum meeting

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/12/17

Labour

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

13/12/17

Brexit

Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

13/12/17

Housing

Two in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

13/12/17

NHS

Save our NHS

13/12/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

13/12/17

Fees

Uni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

13/12/17

Retail

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

8/12/17

Government

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

6/12/17

Labour

Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

6/12/17

NHS

Branson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

6/12/17

Immigration

Royal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

6/12/17

Banks

RBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

6/12/17

Homelessness

Rough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

6/12/17

Poverty

End Tory war on poor

6/12/17

Rail

Nationalise rail now

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2