There was an MP on BBC Radio Five Live this morning condemning the French authorities heavy-handed attempts to close down the notorious ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais. He had been there yesterday and witnessed the scenes himself; of tear gas being used, riot police charging groups of men, women and children (yes, including women and children) and driving bulldozers through the ramshackle accommodation. “Ah, well,” I can hear you saying, ‘that will have been some lily-livered do-gooder bleeding heart liberal Corbyn-type bloke!” No, it was David Burrowes, the Tory MP for Enfield Southgate.
The TV pictures I saw were very ugly. You could have drawn any conclusions from the images shown in the media. I am certainly not condoning the actions of some migrants in throwing rocks and starting fires and I don’t know whether they were caused as retaliation for the police action or from sheer desperation. But to see children involved: that’s just terrible.
The MP said that some of the children had connections with people in this country. To be honest, the children are the ones I am most concerned about. Forget that they are so called muslims. There is no such thing as a religious child because children are proselytised at an early age to believe the same things as their parents. It’s called brainwashing and all religions do it because otherwise religion – all religion – would fade and die. So let’s not use the religious aspect. These are just children.
I can see the argument that people should seek asylum in the first country they reach. But when they see the actions of the French authorities, many of them probably feel as unsafe as they did in the tyrannical countries from which they escaped, you can see why they want to come here.
What’s so wrong about what is happening at the Jungle, which is little more than a slum is that it is happening today, in a so called modern, compassionate world. It reflects the failures of governments, of religion and humanity in general.
Only a truly secular and democratic world can save us in the long term because God and dictatorships (often the same thing) have failed dismally. That is not to ban religion, but to stop according it privilege and then question its very tenets and at the same time strive to introduce genuine democracy throughout the world, genuine secular democracy. Oh – and to support the economies of poorer countries, to help them develop and improve the living standards and life prospects of the people. Oppression and poverty are serious incentives for people to seek a better life. It is in everyone’s interest to help them achieve these things where they live.
Terrible scenes in Calais. Hard to believe this is the 21st century. Immoral that we can’t do better.