Cameron’s Calais disaster

by Daphne Liddle

PRIME Minister David Cameron is in deep trouble over the humanitarian and economic catastrophe that is unfolding in Calais as thousands of refugees from countries that have been devastated by his and his predecessors’ policies are desperately and determinedly trying to get into Britain.

Cameron’s efforts to keep them out with more police, more checks on lorries, more fencing and more sniffer dogs are causing a traffic crisis that had gridlocked half of Kent and is choking off the main artery of trade between Britain and Europe.

Cameron has tried blaming lorry drivers — fining the drivers and the haulage companies that employ them up to £2,000 a time for every migrant stowaway found hiding in, on or under their vehicles.

These fines are not being paid and the haulage companies — most of them patrons of the Tory party — are up in arms.

The French, whose fellow imperialist government is equally to blame for the crisis, just want the migrants to leave France so their co-operation in policing the port is half-hearted.

If Britain were to leave the European Union after the promised referendum the French police would be delighted to wash their hands of the problem and allow all the migrants on to the Eurostar trains and the ferries with or without tickets.

These migrants are not going to disappear, despite right-wing fringe parties calling on the Government to just shoot them.

Cameron has tried to blame the French, the lorry drivers, employers and landlords in Britain who employ or house “illegal” migrants but none of this will have any impact on the numbers of people in Calais trying to cross the Channel.

Only peace and stability in their home countries would do that but the imperialist powers led by the United States have been deliberately devastating and destabilising the countries of the Middle East and Africa so that they can buy oil and other minerals from the fascists extremist groups they have created like ISIS, Boko Harem and Al Shabaab at knock down prices.

The governments of Britain and France must take responsibility for the crisis they have helped to generate.

And that means sooner or later a large proportion of these migrants will have to be settled into Britain. They will have to be accepted, housed and fed.

They will not be a drain on the economy. They want to work, not live on benefits. Many are educated and some are highly qualified. It is better for everyone if they arrive in a civilised and legal way without having to risk their lives to get here.

Better for everyone of course except David Cameron. Just about the only election pledge he intended to keep was restricting the number of immigrants coming into Britain. Bowing to the inevitable and taking responsibility for these people will rupture the Tory party and drive many of its supporters into the arms of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

And with a majority of just 12 Cameron’s government may not last long. It will not be easy to settle these people into Britain when the existing workforce is on such low pay and accommodation rents are so high that they need benefits and food banks to survive.

The trade unions will have a major role to play in fighting for these people to be employed on at least equal terms and conditions with the indigenous workforce so that wages and conditions are not undermined.

Rents would have to be capped and more council homes built; it would be hard to house the migrants while homelessness in Britain is growing because of soaring house prices, rents and cuts in housing benefits.

The alternative could end with the migrants being blamed for lack of housing and jobs and a rise in racism.

But there would be money enough for all this if the giant corporations that are refusing to pay their taxes were forced to do so and Britain abandoned its white elephant nuclear arms policy.

Currently there is only one aspiring political leader who is promising to do exactly these things — Jeremy Corbyn.