RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Why the world is dying to come here
By Richard Littlejohn
19 August 2014
The discovery of 35 desperate people inside a shipping container at Tilbury docks is a real-life horror story.
Basic humanity requires that we give them medical treatment and temporary accommodation.
Clearly they have suffered a terrible ordeal. They were dehydrated and close to suffocation. One of them died on the voyage from Zeebrugge.
There were 15 blameless children among those packed into what has been described as a ‘metal coffin’. We can only imagine what they have endured on their 3,500-mile journey across continents.
The discovery of 35 desperate people inside a shipping container at Tilbury docks is a real-life horror story
They have been exploited and put in mortal danger by callous traffickers, who trade in human misery.
But they weren’t kidnapped. While the children are exempt from any responsibility for their plight, all the adults involved knew what they were getting into.
They voluntarily paid the traffickers to smuggle them into Britain. Typically, it costs £20,000 to get from Afghanistan to Zeebrugge and a further £1,500 for a passage to England. I’m assuming they weren’t expecting to be flown first-class to Heathrow.
We are told they are all Afghan Sikhs fleeing Taliban persecution and they were attracted here because of the ‘thriving and established Afghan Sikh community in London’. There is also a thriving Sikh community in India, right on Afghanistan’s doorstep. So why didn’t they flee there?
I’m sure they’d be more at home in the Punjab than Putney.
Why didn’t they seek asylum in Russia, or Turkey, or any of the countries that they crossed en route to Zeebrugge?
Look no further than Sue Reid’s brilliant report in Saturday’s Mail on the African migrants heading across Europe. All of them said they wanted to end up in Britain because it is a ‘very rich country’ with a benevolent welfare system.
They will get free housing, medical treatment and receive benefits which are not available elsewhere in Europe. Even those who arrive here illegally know there is little chance of them ever being deported. The Afghans who hijacked a plane and flew it to Stansted in 2000 are all still here.
And who can forget Labour’s then Home Secretary Jack Straw travelling to Dover to welcome foreign nationals climbing out of the back of lorries?
People-traffickers had crammed the migrants - all from Afghanistan's beleaguered Sikh community - into the container packed with crates of cleaning chemicals and put it on a P&O cargo ferry from the Belgium port of Zeebrugge on Friday night before fleeing
Moment immigrants are released from Tilbury shipping container
Under international law, genuine refugees are supposed to apply for asylum in the first ‘safe’ country they set foot. But our so-called EU ‘partners’ such as Italy and France would rather wave them on to Britain.
I know there is supposed to be freedom of movement within the EU, but surely that privilege applies only to EU citizens, not illegal aliens.
Britain has a proud and honourable record of taking in refugees, dating back to the Huguenots (French Protestants fleeing persecution there). And we should continue to do so, within reason. But there are limits.
However heartbreaking some of the stories, we can’t go on giving asylum to all the world’s waifs and strays.
Labour politicians have been banging on about overflowing school class numbers and an over-burdened NHS without acknowledging that most of the pressure on our public services can be attributed to the mass immigration they deliberately foisted upon us. In the words of Peter Mandelson, Labour ‘sent out search parties’ for immigrants.
The Coalition has signally failed to stem the tide. The Lib Dems don’t even want to. They think we should go on rolling out the red carpet for everyone who decides to move here.
Britain has become a magnet for immigrants from all over the world, not by accident but by design.
It’s why thousands of people like the Afghan Sikhs who shipped up at Tilbury are prepared to take such terrible risks.
If it was made clear that those who arrive here illegally will not be entitled to any benefits and will be deported at the earliest opportunity, most wouldn’t bother.
As it stands, they obviously consider the risks are worth it — even if some die in transit.
Of course, we should treat these people humanely while they are here, but we should make it clear that their stay in this country will be only temporary.
I know this sounds harsh, but once they have recovered, they should be put on the first boat back to Zeebrugge or the first plane to Italy and they can apply for asylum there.
You can’t blame anyone for seeking a better life, but you can blame our own Government for sending a message around the world that Britain is a land of free milk and honey and everyone who makes it here is welcome.
Even if they are smuggled here illegally in shipping containers.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 20th, 2014 at 05:53 AM..