LibLink: Christine Jardine Government looks heartless and out of ideas as migrants keep dying

In her Scotsman column this week, Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine accuses the Government of trashing our country’s long tradition of providing sanctuary to those who need it.

It is as if the Government does not know that the word and concept of refugees was created by this country.

Its origins are in the creation of a safe haven, a refuge in London for Huguenots fleeing persecution in 17th century France.

They became known as refugees.

That was the start of a long, proud tradition of this country providing sanctuary for those fleeing persecution or poverty and willing to contribute to our society.

Perhaps the proudest episode was the kinder transports of the second world war which allowed so many youngsters who might otherwise have perished in Hitler’s death camps to build happy, prosperous lives in this country.

She outlined how this current Government is failing in its obligations:

I know individual members of the cabinet will be as shocked and upset as any of us at the horror of what has happened this past few days.

But collectively their response to the issue to date looks heartless and devoid of any compassion.

At best it is incompetence that has led the Home Secretary to announce hopeless policies like the dangerous ‘push-back’ of refugee boats to French waters or the ludicrous proposal to process arrivals in Albania.

There seems to be little if any understanding of what the problem is or any creativity in addressing it.

The cruel and counterproductive Anti-Refugee Bill serves as proof of that and is a nasty piece of legislation that only makes problems worse.

She highlighted the awful conditions of refugees around Calais:

Five years ago before the Calais Jungle camp was cleared, an infrastructure had been built which allowed charities to support vulnerable refugees in a relatively stable environment and allowed for the processing of some applications.

Now vulnerable people are scattered across the fields surrounding Calais and Dunkirk sheltering in make shift tents with very limited access to humanitarian support.

This is exacerbated by constant harassment, raids on camps, seizing the refugees’ possessions and destroying their shelters.

So what should we do?

It’s long past time to repair our broken immigration system. Not by punishing those who want to make a valuable contribution to our society, but by making it easier and clearer how to come here legally.

And we must invest again in the foreign aid which can help provide solutions for people in their country of birth.

Supporting and enabling democracies to survive and their people to thrive is the only way we can end the needless deaths at the hands of the people traffickers.

You can read her whole article here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

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One Comment

  • George Thomas 1st Dec '21 - 9:43am

    7 times the word “refugee” is used. I would suggest that is wrong on basis that we don’t know these people’s intentions (whether they’ll claim asylum, whether they’ll disappear into the night) when they’re on their boats and we don’t know whether they’ll be confirmed as refugees (or having leave on basis of Humanitarian Protection) either after initial asylum application or after appeal in which case they were always refugees or whether it will be turned down in which case they were never refugees as per our laws.

    Rather than impose our own definition onto these people (some saying incorrectly they’re illegal immigrants others, in my opinion, incorrectly saying they’re all refugees) we should get them into the system as quickly and safely as possible so we can answer the question of who they are and what our responsibility is.

    We should recognise that this will be a problem which becomes more and more high profile as parts of Africa especially become impossible to live in due to climate change.

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