Patrick Christys: Macron has vowed the Channel cannot become a cemetery – well it’s time to do something about it
Yesterday, 27 migrants including 5 women and a young girl died in the Channel after their boat capsized.
Enough is enough now. Yesterday, 27 migrants including 5 women and a young girl died in the Channel after their boat capsized. Emmanuel Macron has vowed that the Channel cannot become a cemetery – well, it’s time to do something about it then.
Yesterday I sat in this very chair, and said this is a disaster waiting to happen, it’s only a matter of time before we’re fishing bodies out of the Channel and here we are. What I find astonishing is that French authorities were able to arrest four suspected people smugglers within hours of this happening. They know who these people are. And these people will just be the footsoldiers for a much bigger, international gang.
It’s been calculated that, in some cases, these gangs can make quarter of a million pounds per boat. They are the new Pablo Escobars. Old Pablo dealt in a substance that could ruin lives, these people, just deal in lives.
And the longer we leave it, and I suspect we’ve already left it too late, the more wealthy and powerful these people become. And then, they can become untouchable. That kind of money buys you political protection, it buys you influence, it buys you weapons…and I think we might already be there.
Emmanuel Macron has urged Boris Johnson to stop using what’s going on in the channel for political gain – that’s absolute nonsense. Boris Johnson is not gaining anything from what’s happening in the Channel, quite the opposite.
There were pictures that came out yesterday of French police officers standing by, metaphorical cigarette in mouth, as a boat load of people set sail for Calais. It looks to me like the final piece of the jigsaw for these people smugglers is, frankly, the French authorities – the whole thing would crumble if France stopped the boats, and clearly they’re being told not to.
We all know the problem, but now it’s time for solutions. Boris Johnson, last night, reiterated to President Macron that he’s willing to put British boots on the ground in France and patrol the beaches. Macron, apparently, gave no answer.
If no country, especially France, appears ready and willing to crack these migrant gangs, then we should do it. We should be tracking down the ringleaders of these people smuggling gangs and flying in the SAS to deal with them. To get them slotted, cut the head off the snake. It would help to shame the international community into action – let the likes of the SAS do what they do best – fly them in, get the job done, get them home.
It would be so embarrassing for any other nation to see that Britain is taking strong action where they are not. And if that creates a ‘diplomatic solution’, perhaps we can make the case that they should have taken these people out themselves, perhaps we can make a case that would unite everyone, it would unite every single humanitarian group, refugee charity, lefty-lawyer, right-wing pro-strong borders Brexiteer – we’re taking action to stop people drowning in the Channel. Do you really have a problem with that?
Another solution is stopping the manufacturing and delivery of these boats. Now, the manufacturers of these things will never have been busier. They, presumably, will never have had more orders from people in France. It has to be possible for the international community to get stuck into these manufacturers, track all their orders, track their deliveries and stop these boats getting into the hands of people smugglers. No boats, no crossings.
And that must be a cheaper solution than sending British troops to France, than sending up helicopters all day to monitor the Channel, than to send in the RNLI to ferry these people across, than to launch a massive search and rescue operation when 27 people die.
What happened last night has to be a turning point. It has to be a catalyst for change. If it isn’t, then the fact is that it won’t just be people smugglers with blood on their hands, who are essentially committing murder, it will be politicians across Europe and right here in Britain, who are unable to stop this madness.