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Andrew Deacon

I have long believed that a short deployment of Royal Marines to the French beaches would be of benefit especially as there are reports that the French have been short due to holidays over the summer. This could be combined with other exercises and training to minimise the cost.

RichardIC

Deployment of Royal Marines to do what exactly?

Andrew Deacon

Assist the French stopping boats departing.

fvf

The french ain’t even trying, and understandably so. I also think you need to get educated about sovereignty.

Farage

yeah, never trust any foreigners, surrender monkeys, where do find a concentration camp when you needed one?

Theoden

Aah good one. Anyone who disagrees with you is a Nazi. Why has no one else thought of that.

Farage

Don’t give all the credit to Jerry, the Empire has already setup internment camps during the Boer War 1899, and was still used in British Kenya 1953 Mau Mau rebellion,

Sean

No the credit goes to General Sherman who set up internment camps alongside his scorched earth policy during the American Civil War in the early 1860’s.

PAUL WELLS

Well we invented them apparently. ( Boer War) must be some plans somewhere?! ( A joke!!)

Simon

Covert ops in France basically sabotage inflatables and one trip boats. French could arrest for criminal damage to people trafficking property. Let them try that in the court of public opinion.

Simon

Would make more sense than paying the French to do it but could be viewed by some as an invasion of French beaches by our military.

Andrew Deacon

Something has to give if there is any chance of a solution.

JFKvsNixon

The thing that has to give, is this current government, who it seems has stopped processing people as they arrive.

The only way out of this mess is to accept the people that have a right to stay here and integrate them into our society, get rid of the people that don’t, and do it quickly.

Unfortunately we have a government that openly boasts about the numbers of civil servants they’ve cut, whilst presiding over a government that lurches from one disaster to another. I cannot think of one area of my life, which the government has a hand in, that works.

There are those that believe that the government has fostered this crisis in an effort to draw a line between them and Labour, as they believe that the majority of the public would be on the Tories side, but personally I cannot look any further than incompetence.

13 years of underfunding has resulted in a state that barely functions, and the refugee crisis is just another symptom of this crisis,

Duker

Do what the other northern European countries do – and why undocumented migrants get away from it – a compulsory national identity card in Britain.

Its the 99% reason for wanting to leave mainland europe

Sean

Unfortunately national identity cards are felt to be ‘un-British’ by the majority of the population. Shame as it would solve a lot of identification issues.

The government has the next best thing, employers and landlords are supposed to get identification. Unfortunately this only works if both the fines on them are big enough, and there are enough raids to ensure they make these checks.

Jonno

Maybe we were infringing French Sovereignty on 6th June 1944? Anyone thought of that? No one cared a toss, except as It happens de Gaulle who fell short of calling it an invasion, for which I suppose we should be eternally thankful.

To my mind this current situation is beyond parody. In any other time but our own time it would have been declared an invasion by economic migrants and effective steps taken to stop it.

Aaron

As somone living in Bournemouth, we have just 7 miles of beach here. To secure this through the night, with round the clock patrols and observation would take immense resources, were we France. The French have vast areas to secure. Would you propose placing a brigade on constant watch every day and night…forever?
Whatever answer lies await for this problem, its not with boots on the ground.

Andrew Deacon

Boots on the ground would appear to be only option at the moment. Few months could make a difference. It’s a matter of the hardware available, like helicopters, how it’s organised.

Aaron

I’ve never been on a French beach, but if it’s like ours, with swimmers, sunbathers, families and holiday makers – I can’t imagine helicopter gunships swooping along like a scene from Apocalypse Now would go down well. Even at night with night sun spots on the floors and constant noise.
The French ‘should’ disperse the encampments. But I imagine that would be a daily thing ongoing.

Andrew Deacon

Sounds like you’ve never seen a Marlin training along the coast and Royals fast roping out! If the beach is busy there’s unlikely to be any action anyway.

Farage

yeah, First Army to land at Morocco, Eighth Army to land at Suez, Ninth Army to land at Palestine, and the Tenth Army in India, that should solve the problem.

Duker

Albania should do it.

Grandpappy

Why don’t we open some legal staions in France ,then we could process people before they travel?

ATH

Just how do you propose to get the French government to invite the RM to the beaches of Northern France?

Sean

Are you proposing that the U.K. should invade France, or do you honestly believe that France will allow a foreign power to police it’s be beaches.

What the Royal Marines do? Shoot those trying to cross the Channel? Arrest them?

Your suggestion is out of touch with reality.

Andrew Deacon

It’s about putting more boots on French beaches. I don’t think you fully understand the capability of the Royal Marines – a peaceful operation is well within their ability.

RichardIC

Are you planning on asking the French if they’ll go along with your little scheme or are you just going to wing it?

Mark

You could have the entire Royal Marines wandering up and down the beaches and it won’t make any noticeable impact, along with the fact that France wouldn’t allow it, anymore than the U.K. would allow a foreign military patrol its beaches.

Pure fantasy.

Sean

A peaceful operation is not within the Royal Marine’s capability of the French say “Non!”. And that’s what they will say. Unless you’re keen on a war with France…

Secondly what are you proposing they do about the migrants, shoot them dead? That’s the only way to stop them.

Jason

Fire Trident end you and the migrants

Simon

They won’t do this but French could do air drone / thermal imaging patrolling the beeches probably before sunrise to see who and where is setting off that day and make the interception. They won’t do it of course.

ship fixer

Yeah. Just land our armed troops on another country’s sovereign soil. What a great idea …

Andrew Deacon

“To the MoD’s relief, responsibility was handed back to UKBF in January 2022” Surely 2023?

PNM

Fantastic article with the outrage and click bait of most media today

magenta

Did you mean … without? I hope you did.

The Whale Island Zookeeper

The UK doesn’t do coastal maritime security well. If you look at every other European states they all have ‘police assets’ at sea. The Spanish have lots of boats. The Italian custom service’s maritime branch is so large it has a training ship. The Germans have the border police ships and the coastal Länder have their police cutters.

It’s not the RN’s job to do civilian police work.

Sean

And if you’d ever been to say, Barcelona, you’d know it’s full of illegals despite their “lots of boats”.

The Whale Island Zookeeper

Hulls in the water are not ROE.

Sean

Hulls in the water are pointless in the Channel. You do realise as soon as the migrants leave French waters they are in British waters? We can’t send our vessels into French waters to stop them crossing, and once in our waters we are required under international law to render assistance to vessels in distress.

The Whale Island Zookeeper

I am glad my super power is stating truism and the obvious.

The Whale Island Zookeeper

I have some knowledge of that yes.

But as always you have taken something somebody has said, twisted it, and then put words in their mouth they never said.

We can have gone from Spain to the English Channel in one leap.

All I have been talking is the number of maritime agencies European states use and saying we have little.

Sean

No I’ve just highlighted that the simplistic solutions offered would never work. Other nations have the same problems as the U.K. with migrants, we just don’t spend as much on boats rescuing them.
Is that really what you are advocating? More boats to rescue the migrants from the death traps they are in? Very humanitarian of you.

Duker

Yes . Considerable resources in the German Kustenwache

This ship is of course name after a WW1 vessel of note as a 3 masted steel hulled ocean raider- captured from British

Fischereischutzboot_Seeadler_im_Einsatz[1].jpg
The Whale Island Zookeeper

Them there is the inshore layer of Lander Wasserschutzpolizei units.

comment image

Simon

Couldn’t they just find out where all these boats are being bought from by the traffickers and clamp down on it from that side (assuming the French do actually want to stop it)?

Sean

A lot of the boats were being made in Turkey. The U.K. government did a deal with Turkey to have them clamp down on the manufactures. Unfortunately not the kind of story that that makes it into the tabloids.

Aaron

During a back of the envelope calculation a few years back, I calculated something like 3 billion people fall into the UKs legitimate asylum categories of persecution, risk of death or risk of serious harm if returned to state. Granted, most aren’t able to physically get here, yet 75% of those crossing in boats to get permission to stay.

With 3.7 million individuals on the official housing register as homeless, and a further ten million renting homes they can’t afford but don’t qualify for social housing, we have no room at the Inn. My town alone has 4,700 on the housing register with 112 or so gaining a home each year. If I were able to get on the list, aged 52 I would due before getting a home. Those on the list are facing 30+ year waits.

Compassion and understanding is all well and good, but when there simply isn’t any housing and won’t be for several decades even if a million homes a year were built, we simply can’t keep adding to the waiting list, or more importantly, jumping the queue.

Sean

There will never be enough housing stock in the U.K. for the simple reason increasing the number of homes available will depress the values of existing homes, making home owners revolt. Not to mention every MP is a home owner and so has a vested interest in keeping house prices artificially inflated.

Jonathan

Indeed, a huge amount of the voting public’s wealth is tied up in bricks..and it’s the demographics most likely to vote that own the homes…so no government is ever going to enact a policy the crashes house prices by removing demand as they won’t be in power again for decades.

Sean

Exactly…though ironically soon the majority of voters will not be home owners as we head back to the Victorian period where the vast majority of the population rented.
IF that happens, then we will see a major disconnect between the political class and the population – Prof Niall Ferguson covered the importance between democracy and the promise of land ownership in his series about Western civilisation.

Jonathan

Indeed universal suffrage only works properly if you have universal engagement and if groups feel disenfranchised then they don’t participate and engage in democracy….well until a popularise rabble rouser picks up on their discontent and that always ends well……

Supportive Bloke

Absolutely.

Why on earth RN ever got involved is beyond me. However, cabinet politics is something and maybe BW had to keep one of the other great offices of state sweet to get something more important over the line….

Jonno

Simply cant agree with you. This is out of control and if it looks like an invasion it is. Its messy sending people back to France but that’s where they came from; so when turned round they go back there, OK?

Sean

And it looks nothing like an invasion…

TiG

Sailors join the Royal Navy to help those in need, not turn back those desperate for it.

Andrew Deacon

Don’t think the Royal Navy ever did any turning back!

Peter

Surely the easiest way would be for the government to open a dedicated application processing office in France (the French are ok with this) and assess claims there. Those that are genuine are allowed safe passage and the ones that are not are refused.

Farage

Nonsense, we left Europe and are not going back, we are now free to take measures our way.

Sean

Wrong, we left the EU, not Europe. That’s the kind of befuddled terminology I expect of a Remainer.

Arjun

Wrong, France is still part of the EU,

Sean

If you’d bothered to read Farage’s post, he was talking about Britain and not France. So your comment is completely irrelevant.

Colin Brumwell

And the ones turned down go to a beach and get in a dinghy

Simon

Yup could do that, process genuine asylum seekers. 1. have cap on numbers each year 2. French agree to stop small boats.

Farage

Why not just invade Europe and push the border back to the Mediterranean Sea? Failing that, recolonize Africa, Middle East, and bring the Empire back.

ATH

Have you been at your parents drinks cupboard again?

Sean

Illegal substances more like!

Farage

yeah, G and T from the Common Bar, cheers

Jonno

I have said before we should have taken back Calais in 1944 as price of freeing France from scourge of Nazis. England never gave up its rightful claim on Calais.

Arjun

And Argentina on the Falklands, and Spain on Gibraltar

Sean

Both tried, both failed.

David MacDonald

I do not quite agree. The population of Africa is 1.3 billion of which, at least a billion would like to come and live in Western Europe. Something will have to be done about these people coming to our shores in small boats and that “something” will involve forceful repatriation (the Rwanda scheme is a distraction in my view) and will inevitably involve the Royal Navy in some way.

Andrew Deacon

The Royal Navy no longer has the ability for a “go it alone” operation. Goodness knows what 2 carriers would do in your plans!

Colin Brumwell

They could house them in the empty hangars

Sean

How do you propose forceful repatriation?
“Take these people back who we think are maybe originally from your country” or we flatten your capital with Tommahawks?…

D J

That is the proven solution for the last 2,000 plus years, other than simply wiping out the uninvited (or in some cases the reverse). So far nobody has come up with a better solution that actually works (plenty that don’t work). Feel free, but history is against you.

Sean

Congratulations, your approach of indiscriminately bombing African capitals and/or slaughtering migrants would see the U.K. face crippling international sanctions beyond those Russia is suffering. Our allies would disavow us and our economy would collapse. Your period as Prime Minister would make Liz Truss’ period in office seem prudent and reasonable.

D J

Sean

No need to bomb African capitals. Just threaten the foreign aid budget. You need to think outside the square somewhat.

Part of the Australian solution was to ship people off to somewhere they did not want to be (Nauru), & they changed the law regarding external territories & asylum seekers (to hamstring the lawyers). So if they were forced to pick someone up at sea, the ended up on somewhere like Christmas Island. UK also has a number of internal & external territories to play with. Man, Chanel Islands, Ascension, Falklands, Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn etc. Expensive? Yes, but it’s a numbers game.

Boris

I was thinking about Trident actually, finally, we can put it to use.

Sean

Aside from the idiocy of your bravado you’re obviously ignorant of the fact that any nuclear explosion has worldwide impacts. Even with an actual detonation, Chernobyl demonstrated an impact thousands of miles away.
(Ah yes, Russian nuclear technology, never a byword for safety or best practice…)

Boris

Really, we are so glad you enlighten humanity with your amount of knowledge, wow. And I thought this is a serious website,

Have you tried Hyde Park?

Sean

Is Hyde Park where you lurk in the bushes…?

stephen ball

The royal navy did not like bringing in the Manchester bomber.

During WW2 we locked up the Italians and germens living in the UK.

Living in this new age where diaspora is accepted if war’s happen it does create more problems.

Africa has it own problems due to dictators and corruption,
also a high birth rate which in a world where birth rates are down creates issues which are different.

AlexS

Of course it is any Navy job to protect the borders of own country.

But Royal Navy now is more of a PR operation to look good for newspapers.

Rules of engagement must change and it should be treated as any invasion..

If 10000 Argentinians put into civilian boats unarmed and go for Falklands isn’t that an invasion?

Sean

That proposition is so ridiculous I can also assume you’re putting it forward as a straw-man to show how hysterical the “invasion” claims are.

For others on this site I shall elaborate…

Conspiracy theorists are never content with their existing fictions about fake moon landings, flat-earth, climate-change denial, 5G causing Corvid, or the vaccines being a bioweapon. In last week since the tragedy in Hawaii, they’ve already started claiming that it wasn’t a wild fire but an attack with directed energy weapons to allow redevelopment by WEF stooges. Yes they are that paranoid.

So for the past year a common trope going around conspiracy circles are that the migrants crossing the Channel are all military-age men, part of a secret UN/WEF, invasion force. Despite being unarmed these supposedly highly-trained special forces are here to seize control of Britain should it defy the orders of the WEF…

The more obvious explanation, that military-age men are working-age men, and in many cultures it’s not uncommon for the men to work away from home to fun their families with remittances from their wages, is ignored. It’s seems conspiracy theorists are either ignorant of, or simply ignore, Occam’s Razor.

David MacDonald

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but his question about what action we would take if 10,000 Argentina unarmed civilians (mostly young men) made for the Falklands is a reasonable one because, one day, it might just happen.

What would do we do if 10,000.000 Africans (mostly young men) make for the UK, as well they might ,over the next decade?  I don’t know, do you?

Roy

The main problem is an absence of political will.

The Royal Navy COULD be tasked with intercepting these vessels. It COULD be tasked with transporting them to an appropriate detention location that could serve as a “three-sided facility” where illegal migrants could either remain, or return to their home countries. The Australians did that with Christmas Island. The UK could do it as well and the military would be an essential part of any such approach. Such an approach, if consistently enforced, would rapidly deter illegal migration and instead encourage legal entry.

If that is not done, it is not because it can’t be done. It is because there is no will to do so. .

Sean

If 10,000 unarmed Argentinian civilians arrive in the Falklands it’ll be to flee their crackpot economic situation, not to drag the islands into that mess. Though crossing the border in Brazil or Chile would be considerably easier for them.

I think France, and the rest of the EU would take issue with 10,000,000 Africans trying to get past Frontex and then travel across Europe to reach the Channel.

What would/should we do? Simple, have enough detention camps to keep all arrival’s locked up. And I mean a demotion camp, not a hotel with mod cons. Assess any asylum claims within weeks not years. Anyone not granted asylum stays locked up there until they identify their citizenship so they can be deported to the relevant country.

The big problem? NIMBY home owners across the country object to having detention centres built anywhere near them.

Pac

Lord Vader, come to the dark side where you belong,

Graham Trueman

A well balanced and considered article. I think sorting the backlog of asylum applications, acting resolutely on such decisions and perhaps an increase in aid to the countries these people are coming from. Such employment of soft power would be cheaper than what is going on now.

David MacDonald

You mean like “nation building” as worked so well in Afghanistan?

Boris

And the search of WMD in Iraq

Sean

It’s “search for WMD”, not “search of WMD”.

Sean

If you think every nation is like Afghanistan you need to get a passport and travel, or at least read up on the world.

Sean

Unable to defend your ridiculous comment about Afghanistan you instead attack the man. You realise that’s an admission you lost the argument?

As for your ill-founded accusation of arrogance, I think that’s more a reflection of your deep-seated inferiority complex and feelings of inadequacy.

CVAB

Yes, a good well balanced article. I find it very disappointing that so many responses are stupid and juvenile. (and others ignorant of realities). This is an interesting and informative site but frequently let down by the comments people post to gain attention.

Roy

If one can’t protect national sovereignty, then the existence of the state itself is pointless. The protection of national sovereignty is the most basic task of any state and ALL state institutions can be called upon to assist in that effort, including of course the Royal Navy.

What specifically the Royal Navy is to do is a separate question. But if it is not the “Royal Navy’s job” to stop migrant boats because of all the complexities involved, then by implication it’s nobody’s job – which then becomes an abdication of national sovereignty.

Sean

So what do you propose the RN do? Sink migrant boats? Kill unarmed civilians?
Congratulations, you turned the RN into pirates, and the U.K. into a pariah state on par with the Taliban.

Roy

See above …

Sean

Answer the question or are you so ashamed of your advocation of murder that you’re afraid to say it explicitly? I recall the Nazis were the same with the Final Solution, using all sorts of euphemisms for murder.

Roy

That’s quite a lot of rhetoric about “murder”, “Nazis” all sorts of other nonsense. .. but this is what I posted above …

“The main problem is an absence of political will.
The Royal Navy COULD be tasked with intercepting these vessels. It COULD be tasked with transporting them to an appropriate detention location that could serve as a “three-sided facility” where illegal migrants could either remain, or return to their home countries. The Australians did that with Christmas Island. The UK could do it as well and the military would be an essential part of any such approach. Such an approach, if consistently enforced, would rapidly deter illegal migration and instead encourage legal entry.
If that is not done, it is not because it can’t be done. It is because there is no will to do so”.

Sean

Glad to hear you don’t want them blown out the water, unlike some ranty loons on here…

The Australians intercepted those vessels in international waters. There’s no international waters between the U.K. and France, our territorial waters touch. So U.K. law applies to any migrants intercepted and the ECHR also applies.

Where would this detention facility to be? The home office faces legal fights from local councils whenever it uses a hotel for migrants. Imagine the years of legal battles from NIMBY home owners not wanting a full blown detention centre for tens of thousands of migrants. Which is why the government has sneakily opted for barges – no planning permission required.

BTW you overlook the main reason why there is such a backlog in processing asylum applications. The civil service downgraded the staff-level of those processing the claims, and consequently the salary band. As a result the experienced ones went elsewhere and productivity plunged with new recruits only managing to process a fraction of the applications.

Roy

The issue could be addressed with political will. There is such a thing as amending legislation. “No person has the right to enter the United Kingdom illegally”. “Notwithstanding any other law or international convention, any person attempting to do so may be detained by His Majesty’s Armed Forces at locations to be designated by HMG”. “Such persons will be held until they can be safely repatriated to their home country or until their asylum claims can be fully assessed”.

A detention facility can be on Ascension, It can be wherever it is most suitable. They can be in multiple places. They can be on barges. But the signal must be that free entry is at an end. Period. It is likely the only way to deter illegal entry.

These are terrible, often tragic, human stories. But what is at stake in all such cases, and in any country faced with this, is national sovereignty, Either the UK has the will to protect its borders or it doesn’t. I suspect it doesn’t.

Sean

Political will is limited by the criminal justice system.Democracies have a separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary. Ultimately any changes in legislation would have to comply with our legal obligations under the ECHR. If found to be incompatible then it can be struck down as unlawful.

The Armed Forces are for protecting the country, not policing it. It’s a strict differentiator that’s kept us from the political instability of other countries.

I think the Island Council, the elected administration on Ascension Island might object to their island being used as a dumping ground.

Ultimately the primary issues that exist today is that
• the determination of asylum applications takes a ridiculously long-time ever since the civil-service sabotaged it by downgrading the pay grade of those doing them
• legal aid is granted to fight deportation cases and drag these out for years (ironically the same legal tactics as used by Trump)

Solve those issues, and we wouldn’t need to warehouse tens of thousands of migrants, and high deportation rates will deter further migration.

Jason

How you know they are unarmed? UK has murdered millions in wars.

Sean

Killing in war is not murder, both legally and theologically speaking.
Murder in war is a war-crime.

Sean

Pretty sure the RNLI or Border Force would notice any AK47s or RPGs when rescuing these migrants, it’s not as though they’re laden down with luggage.

Jason

That what users are telling the First Sea Lord on twitter.

Jason

Why not? Its is bought.

stuuu

Why not use the money from all these suggestions you all have, to actually process them quickly and get the approved ones, living and contributing to society.

Blaming 13 year of poor government on those at the bottom of society is a smoke screen, if it wasn’t them it would be, be our scroungers living on benefits they would be blaming.

Its always seems to be someone else’s fault.

Colin Brumwell

So what exactly is the Navy for,no Merchant Fleet to protect ,no fishing grounds to patrol, no war to participate in

The Whale Island Zookeeper

If you ask an officer in the RN they will say, in so many words, to do as the government of the day tells them.

Jonno

Its undoubtedly unpleasant work sending anyone home to anywhere against their will.
Someone has to do it in some circumstances and I think it entirely reasonable to ask the Navy to do it. Anything short is something of a cop out. They would be entitled to refuse the order if they so regarded the order criminal.

Jason

Like shooting.

Sean

The navy, like all the armed forces, primary role is deter other nations from starting a war with us in the first place. Which is why the RN’s motto is “Si vis pacem, para bellum” – if you wish for peace, prepare for war. Conventional armed forces first role is as a deterrent.

And we have a merchant navy. It’s the 10th largest globally, accounting for 40.7 Million Deadweight Tonnage.

And we have fishing grounds, on did you sleep through the whole Brexit period?…

Jason

Th Navy has the most powerful weapon stop all migrants.

daniel

As a Frenchman, I agree with the article: it’s not up to the RN to stop migrant boats in the channel.
But let me add that it’s not France’s job either.

Let’s look at things from a supply and demand angle. That might give us some clues.
Why do these poor people want to leave France? Answer: because they don’t like it there. The standard of living is low, unemployment is high and, as everyone knows, the French are impossible to get along with, especially with the fake tourists who aren’t rich.

They want to go to the UK because they’ll be better off there, and they’ll be able to join some of their family who’ve been sent to scout. I can imagine the dialogue: “Come quickly. Here life is easy, the people are nice, the standard of living is decent etc…”.

A solution becomes obvious: make UK innatractive at least as much as France. Lower your standard of living, sabotage your public health service etc… There’s a national duty to be fulfilled, painful but worthwhile.

What you need to understand is that this is a UK problem through and through. Only you have the answer. France has no part in it, nor the RN, of course.

As I’ve written here before, I resent being turned into a jailer for your benefit.

Roy

I agree insofar as if the UK is incapable/unwilling to protect its own border, then it should not expect France to do it for it.

Duker

Its not Frances job ???

They are leaving from France where they have travelled through

Why isnt France stopping them from the earlier countries they have passed through

In practice France is facilitating them out of their country to become someone’s else’s problem

Sean

France can’t stop them from travelling from the countries they have passed through into France because it has no real border controls as it is part of the Schengen Area.

Duker

In theory yes. In practice no

https://www.euronews.com/travel/2022/11/17/france-italy-border-tightened-as-france-warns-of-serious-passport-checks-and-queues
‘From Sunday, lines formed at border crossings as police stopped ‘nearly every car’ and searched many.
French authorities have promised “serious” passport checks for everyone attempting to cross between the countries.’

Sean

Temporary French Italian spat over the docking of a migrant ship. These will be gone within months.

Duker

Schengen says these cant happen, but its the EU France does what it likes

Roy

France looks after its national interest not the UK national interest. If the UK doesn’t have the will to protect its borders, why should France do it for the UK?

Simon

Appreciate your French view here. You want uk to reduce living standards. By the way really enjoyed Spiral TV ???? show.

Phillip Johnson

Un controlled migration is a problem for all nations and politicians faced with the problem will throw what ever resources that happen to be available at the problem when it starts to burn them.
In those circumstances Defence forces have the choice of seeing their assets used in a role they truly don’t want or seeing alternate forces carved out of their budget.
If the MD doesn’t want the job are they prepared to give up funding?
Stopping uncontrolled migration is really about ONE thing, denying unauthorized arrivals any chance of staying. That is cruel and mean but it works.

Sean

And life on earth

Jason

They say climate change will what’s wrong?

Sean

No climate change won’t end life on earth. But it will certainly end human lifestyles as we know it it, with areas becoming uninhabitable, more extreme weather, crop failures, ancient pathogens released from permafrost, etc, etc, etc.

Jason

Boris Johnson will not support this.

Boris

Not true! There is no evidence for that.
Try having some drink parties, they are under-rated.

Sean

Try and keep up, we’ve had 2 prime ministers since Boris… he’s not even an MP anymore!

Jason

I mean he would order the Navy back to use aggression.

Sean

He can’t order the navy more than I can or anyone other ordinary British citizen.

And despite the picture painted by Remainers during the Brexit Referendum, Boris is actually very liberal. When he was Mayor of London he pushed the government to grant an amnesty to all illegal migrants in the U.K. So even if he was still PM, I doubt he’d advocate the use of force against them.

Duker

The chain of command runs from the RN to Chief of defence to the Monarch
Just the King by long standing precedent delegates his authority to the PM.

As it happens for many of the Monarchs powers , appointing peers or bishops is a few of them

Sean

If you check you’ll find that Boris is not in the chain of command, and certainly not the Monarch.

Jason

Who can launch a nuclear missile? Only the PM.

Jason

He has Trident.

Simon

Did an admiral say to the home sec, yes ma’m we will be tough but obvs will we be picking up those in jeopardy.

Antipodean

The Australian experience demonstrates that most of the assertions in this article are inaccurate. The RAN, and the RAAF were used quite extensively to support border protection operations against illegal boat arrivals from Indonesia. Their success in these operations means that the rate of effort has decreased considerably over recent years.Australia also faced the problem of people smugglers sinking their vessels to trigger rescue obligations when push backs were attempted. The solution was to rescue everyone on the sinking boat, put them in a powered life boat, tow them to just outside Indonesian territorial waters and send them back to Indonesia. The Indonesians initially complained, but the reduced people smuggling activity rendered it a non issue.

Having had to solve the problem twice (initially in the 2000’s, then again in the 2010’s after thousands of illegal immigrants drowned because a new government tried to demonstrate its “compassion”), Australia has demonstrated that the seaborne migrant problem is not difficult to solve, it is the political will to do it that is the hard part. In Australia’s case, having the proof of a repeated experiment in failed and successful border protection policies, neither major party is willing to wear the political consequences of not demonstrating the political will to maintain the borders.

Jed

Not quite the same situation though. Politically the Australia – Indonesia relationship allowed this solution to work, presumably because the migrants were actually from Indonesia itself? As explained in the article, this would not work for the UK. How would the RN triage a boat full of refugees and then tow them back to the territorial waters of dozens of different countries, from Syria, to all over Africa, including of course countries that have no maritime borders at all. Due to international law, the UK’s treaties and agreements with the EU, towing them back to French waters doesn’t work. So, unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution, what worked for Aus and the RAN doesn’t fit the UK’s situation.

Antipodean

Actually the situation was much more analogous than that. None of the migrants were from Indonesia, most were from from the Middle East and they had all entered Indonesia with the intention of entering Australia illegally. The relationship between Indonesia and Australia was and is far more fraught that the Anglo-French relationship. The Indonesians were very unhappy with the tow backs, but the response was basically if you want to stop them, stop letting your country be used as a transit point for illegal entry to Australia.
i don’t really see any reason why the UK can’t do the same if the politicians have the will. The French, the EU and the chattering classes will all protest loudly and publicly, but that is the price of being effective.

Antipodean

None of the migrants attempting to get to Australia from Indonesia are actually from Indonesia. They are using Indonesia as a transit point and are largely from the Middle East.

Bloggs

The migrants were not from Indonesia, they were from the usual places.

Carney

Hear, hear! Outstanding

Jon

I’m a little cheesed off by the mischaracterisation of safe passage in the article. The language surrounding it, “ivory tower” “mantra” and “ill-defined” and also conflation with the completely separate idea of “open door” just goes to show that the author would rather attack through misrepresentation than engage with the policy.

To define the so-called ill defined: safe passage is about providing a safe and accessible route from France to the UK for asylum seekers. Is that so hard to understand? It doesn’t mean they can stay here or go where they want, which is open door. Right now we spend hundreds of millions to house would-be migrants in France (nearly half a billion pounds agreed over the next three years) and it isn’t helping crossing attempts, because the French can’t process those who try, so they are free to try again the next day. We also spend tens of millions annually on Border Force, millions on private boat charters, and ever increasing billions on housing. The migrants themselves spend hundreds of pounds to unsafely and illegally cross the channel. Evidence to the Home Affairs Committee in October 2022, said that only 4% of small boat claimants from 2021 had been processed at that time.

Safe passage says we stop paying France to house them and do it ourselves. Get the immigrants to pay a fraction of the smugglers fee for a safe passage across the Channel by a single daily ferry crossing, straight to a UK processing centre. Do it right (with due regard to privacy — these are people supposedly fleeing persecution) and the application claim can be started on the French side prior to embarcation, including tentative identification, with fingerprints and DNA taken.

Rather than the money saved going on longer detention in the UK, it needs to go on swifter processing, swifter deportation for failed claimants and more effective routes to assimilation for the successful, including English lessons. Although it gets all the headlines, the shortcomings of channel crossings right now are as nothing compared to our inability to make decisions and repatriate failed claimants swiftly. And if we need to change the rules to make full asylum less available, we should do that explicitly and not spend our efforts on “deterring” them on French beaches or hoping that they die on their way here in an effort to lower the numbers.

N-a-B

There are two small problems with that approach.

  1. Where exactly do you put these “processing centres”? You’re likely to find that using “old military facilities” is trotted out as the answer. This is swiftly followed by legal action by the immigration “industry” claiming that said accommodation is unfit in some way. Resulting in immediate dispersal into hotel accommodation, as has happened previously. The local populace are also highly likely to oppose use of said facilities (see Portland, Scampton, Coltishall and others for details).
  2. The second problem is that you assume “deportation” is a simple case of “claim refused – please take yourself off to the airport and hop on a plane home”. Once again, the immigration “industry” will release their favourite law firms to appeal against deportation on any grounds they can think of. That’s also assuming that you can identify a place to deport them to and that that place will accept them. The impact of this is that any onshore “processing facility” will rapidly fill up, leading to rinse and repeat of the inhumane conditions arguments.

The only way to reduce the flow is to demonstrate that illegal entry will result inevitably in deportation to somewhere not the UK. For that to happen, you need to constrain the scope for spurious appeals (difficult given the UK HRA – thanks Labour), but see the current Illegal Migration Act 2023, forced through against howls of outrage by the “industry” and its supporters and the Rwanda agreement (currently being appealed to the Supreme Court).

The solution to this absolutely lies in the courts and nowhere else.

Jon

Your listed problems aren’t small, but they also aren’t issues of legal vs illegal crossing.

No matter how migrants arrive, initial processing must take place, housing arranged, the asylum industry will appeal all rejections and deportation won’t always be easy. Acting to speed that process can best be done once the artificial problem of illegal crossings has been removed. Home Secretaries and the tabloids can’t see beyond it. Focus and effort is needed where the real problems lie: the 170,000 backlog of asylum cases (more than two years worth) and the ever increasing associated housing costs.

I’m not saying safe passage has no associated problems, and I’m not claiming it’s a no-brainer. It’s likely that the total number of cross-channel asylum seekers will rise, at least temporarily. However, safe passage will have positive benefits beyond the humanitarian and the financial. The process will be simplified in many cases, and hopefully that can translate into speed. For example, by ensuring that adults seeking asylum apply for the ferry in privacy, it becomes harder for them to make claims of human trafficking and slavery once they reach this country.

N-a-B

Do you think that making it easier to arrive safely will increase or decrease the numbers attempting to get here? Particularly when the ability to deport them remains compromised by the “industry”.

The backlog – and all the associated costs – is not caused by lack of safe passage, it’s caused almost entirely by a combination of vexacious appeals and insufficient staff to start reducing that backlog.

The draw to this country is based on the (currently correct) assumption that once here, your chances of being deported are essentially zero. Until that is addressed (see Illegal Migration Bill and Rwanda scheme), making it easier for people to get here is unlikely to help.

Jon

I think we agree where the cux of the problem lies. I’m saying that while the Home Sec’s eye is focused on illegal crossings and small boats, it’s not where it needs to be. I don’t mean to imply Suella Braverman can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, but isn’t there a case for making all the pointless headlines go away and getting on with the real job?

It’s a lot easier to rule that small boat crossings are illegal if there’s an obvious alternative. If you play hardball saying all entry is illegal (with the exception of specific invited categories from Ukraine, HK and Afghanistan), you leave yourself open to legal challenges that you wouldn’t have if there was a safe route that small-boat crossers were explicitly avoiding.

So yes, I think safe passage will help for all the reasons I’ve said in the last few posts. On balance I think those reasons outweigh the downsides, and I believe doing the right thing shouldn’t be dismissed lightly as it was in this article.

N-a-B

Whether it’s the right thing (or not) is an opinion, not a fact in this case.

If you think the headlines are the problem, you need to think again. Suggesting that small boat arrivals are not illegal is sophistry of the worst kind – aided and abetted by Theresa Mays Modern Slavery Act, as well as Labours HRA..

The issue is the scale of economic migration and frankly the preponderance of single males (as opposed to wimmin and children). Not because they are some mythical undercover army, but because they are clearly here for economic reasons for which they have zero entitlement. That they arrive on boats is only of significance because its a visible sign of what is happening and can’t be swept under the carpet, as your approach would enable.

These are not refugees from persecution in France. These are economic migrants – who are also denuding their own countries of talent and perpetuating their economic woes. Something often forgotten.

Jon

I think the wrong headlines are a problem, not the problem. People drowning unnecessarily because of the policies of my government ranks pretty high on my list too. The rightness of minimising unecessary deaths may only be an opinion, but I’m comfortable in holding it. We will have to disagree as whether safe passage would sweep things under the carpet as opposed to dispersing the current smoke screen.

I think we could easily handle the numbers of claimants that come to this country if we focused on processing them. Around ten years ago a decision-making civil servant could process an average of 13.7 claims a month. Now its 4. In 2014, the Cameron government decided to deskill and downgrade the job to save money. We now employ 60% more caseworkers and process far fewer claims overall.

N-a-B

People are drowning unnecessarily because of a choice they made, NOT because of the policies of HMG.

Those people make a conscious choice to pay people smugglers to put them on a boat to leave the entirely unsafe hellhole that is France and attempt to enter the UK illegally.

In terms of processing productivity, I suspect that policy and processes put in place to try and ensure that appeals via the HRA and MSA are not automatically granted constitute a fairly significant part of the reduction in efficiency.

Matt

This is far too decent and sensible to appear on this sewer of a comment board!

Peter S

If a group of unarmed individuals try to force their way into my house, I am entitled to take reasonable measures to prevent them. That will almost certainly entail the threat or use of force.
I see no reason why a country can’t apply the same approach.
The idea that people who deliberately put to sea in dangerous boats deserve the protection of the laws of the sea is absurd- an invitation to maximize the self inflicted risk.
Since the potential number of migrants is almost limitless, there has to be a solution to this and it won’t be pretty. Removing any right to state ie taxpayer support is an essential first step to reducing the attraction of the UK to people already in a safe country. Balkan countries erected physical barriers to prevent huge incursions once the option of just passing them on northward was removed. Greece, initially accepting of large numbers knowing they could pass them on, then had to take firmer action to prevent seaborne arrivals. Boats were turned back to Turkey and those who had made it shut in unpleasant but safe camps.
The UN rules for asylum, set up to handle the large numbers of people displaced by WW2 And mainly in Europe, are no longer fit for purpose. The right to asylum should be limited to individuals who are facing threat to life as individuals ( ef Afghans who helped coalition forces and are now targets for Taliban revenge) and not to entire populations.
For the channel crossers, trying to flee a safe country, asylum should not be available at all.
Failure to deter will lead to ever greater numbers attempting to force their way into the UK. That will inevitably lead in time to the need for lethal force. A robust approach now might help to avert that scenario.

Jon

Say you live in a posh block of flats whose communal gardens have a high razor-topped wall to keep out the riff-raff. Sometimes you hear gunshots from the other side of the wall, and one day a man streaming with blood manages to scramble over and begs you to hide him from a gun-toting maniac. You can see his many wounds (caused by the razor blades) are serious. Do you call an ambulance, or do you call the reception desk to elect the trespasser because it would encourage all sorts of tramps if word got out you’d helped? What if it’s a child? Is your first thought: “Even an injured child can get in. I told the residents’ committee we need a higher wall”?

The first job of the Royal Navy isn’t to keep the garden pristine. It’s to deter the gun-toting manic.

Jason

Via Trident?

Paul

Put navy on the maritime border Do not allow any illegal boats over it simple. Don’t pay france nothing end of illegal immigration.

PeterDK

The pull factor is too high. Putting people up in hotels would be political suicide in most other European countries.

Sean

Not apparently Germany, France, Spain, Italy for example who are all using hotels to house their overflow of migrants.

Angus

Its not the RN’s role to stop this disaster but Governments. The problem needs to be solved at the source of the trouble (the states they come from) and also make it harder to obtain the benefits they easily get when our own people struggle in our over priced country. Make life better in their home states then they will not being undertaking the costly trip to ‘a better life’.
The French are happy for them to leave their shores as its less for them to deal with and no amount of cash from us will change that.
Weak Governments in the West are to blame not the military services that do protect the population daily.

Duker

Ask the RAN about how they stopped the migrant boats going to Australia … and solved the issue with bi partisan support

Rethink what you think the RN *should* be doing as your other suggestions are just wishfull thinking no matter how noble

John Hartley

This is one of those areas where Parliament has repeatedly failed & it probably needs a referendum to settle it. The question might be “Should net immigration be a) below 100,000 or b) above 100,000 per year.

Sean

There is a difference between
a) asylum seekers
b) economic migrants
Parliament can rule on (b), but currently out international legal requirements means we have to accept all that qualify for (a).

No referendums will be held again after the way the U.K. was torn apart by rancour last-time.

John Hartley

The low standard of MPs of all parties, means referendums are the only way forward for controversial issues to be decided.

Sean

They don’t think that and any proposal for a referendum must first be passed by MPs under new legislation: we can’t trigger automatic referendums as the populations of Switzerland or Californian can.

John Hartley

All politicians like to pass the buck. Letting the people vote on a difficult issue, gets the MPs off the hook.

Jonathan

The problem we face is that this is only going to get worse and worse…large areas of the world are just not working for the people that live there..Africa especially is simply going to see greater and greater levels of Economic and social stress, especially as world resources tighten and the effects of climate change hit…what we see now is reality the tip of the iceberg of population movement….at the moment it’s driven by war and economic collapse soon ( within a couple of decades) by 2050 its going to be pure water and food security…with populations having a choice of move or face a future of starvation….when you look at the modelling of a 4 degree hotter world large parts of Africa stops being able to support large scale human habitation and you would see maze crop production down by 30% in an already food insecure population ( malnutrition in Africa has already increased by 45% this decade) . 1.2 billion Africans will face the choice stay and face a future of starvation or move……no amount of floaty boats or home office boarder control will manage the likely human exodus from the regions impacted by climate change that we will being to see around 2040-50.

Not sure what the solution is but the clever people in charge better start think strategically, at scale and over the long term about this as it’s not going to get better and sticking your finger in the dame is not a long term solution.

Sean

Unfortunately your rationale, reasoned, and completely fact based post is probably going to be attacked by the climate-change denying conspiracy theorists on here. I’m pretty sure that human life within the tropics will become pretty much unsustainable due to climate change. The resulting migration waves are going to be unprecedented.

MBB

It doesn’t seem to be anyone’s job to stop illegals crossing the channel.

The Whale Island Zookeeper

Is the right answer. 🙂

Sean

It’s difficult to build a border fence in the middle of the English Channel…

Jonathan

The actual problem is it’s not actually illegal…if I wanted to get in rubber boat and float away into mid channel get stuck half way and get picked up by/rescued the French coast guard I can..it’s not acutely breaking any law and it’s the same on the other side of the channel….if they actually manage to cross enter the county and do not make an asylum claim that is illegal…getting into a dinghy floating out into the channel is not illegal neither is landing that same floaty boat on a British beach and claiming asylum.

what ever your belief around the whole thing…understanding it’s not illegal to do is a first step in understanding why the government are struggling so much.

Jonathan

Just repost this as it’s important to understanding the problem:

The actual problem is it’s not actually illegal what these people are doing….if I wanted to get in rubber boat and float away into mid channel get stuck half way and get picked up by/rescued the French coast guard I can..it’s not acutely breaking any law and it’s the same on the other side of the channel….if they actually manage to cross enter the county and do not make an asylum claim that is illegal…getting into a dinghy floating out into the channel is not illegal neither is landing that same floaty boat on a British beach and claiming asylum.
what ever your belief around the whole thing…understanding it’s not illegal to do is a first step in understanding why the government are struggling so much.

Duker

Yes it is . Britain has borders, arrivals without the correct visa means its illegal, even when in EU it was outside the EU free travel area

Your understanding is wrong from the very beginning

Jonathan

Sorry that’s not true, it is not illegal for me to sail across the Channel into French waters..infact if that was the case your talking to a hardened criminal and I would have been arrested by French boarder forces no end of times..what would be illegal is if took my launch and landed in an area that was not a port of entry….if I want to go to France I simple sail legally across the channel and enter a designated port of entry say Dunkirk , I then fill out my declaration of arrival form etc and off I pop…there is literally nothing illegal about crossing the channel it’s not an illegal act your talking bollox to someone that does it all the time.

it is also not illegal to travel to this county to claim asylum…we cannot make it illegal without breaking our international treaties..

so you can freely cross the Channel in a boat…be you visiting for a day with your pass port or claiming asylum..the only thing that is illegal is entering the United Kingdom without permission ( so not going through a port of entry or not immediately walking up to boarder forces and claiming asylum)

so to make it very clear…you can cross the channel in a dingy that’s not illegal, you can be rescued by the RNLI, boarder forces ect because you are in the open ocean in a dingy…that’s not illegal either and those agencies actually have a legal obligation to save you under international law..it’s not illegal to make your way to this country via a rubber dingy and then claim asylum..it would only be illegal if you did not claim asylum and did not attempt to complete the entry paper work in a port of entry essentially it’s only illegal to sneak into this county without the correct entry paperwork.

Carney

It’s indisputable that there are zero legitimate grounds for any Channel-crosser to request asylum in the UK, for the screamingly obvious reason that France is not an oppressive state from which anyone need flee. No matter what awful place the person came from, once he is in France he is no longer in danger from a hostile government. Therefore 100% of such self-styled “asylum seekers” should be sent back to France. The method (plane, channel, boat) is irrelevant. Just put the French in the same position they put Britain – of having to either fire upon the vessel, or helplessly allow it to arrive unmolested onto their territory to disgorge its occupants into the morass of their soft touch legal system. And then bill the French for the expense of re-crossing, directly charged to entry fees from France, taxes levied upon Frenchmen living in the UK, or new surtaxes on imports from France. If they retaliate, escalate. Eventually they’ll have to negotiate and accept that they must stop allowing these people to flood into Britain.

Sean

Not really thought this though practically I think…

So we take the migrants, stick them on a cross channel ferry and send it France. All the French have to do is not allow anyone to disembark without the correct paperwork, or simply refuse to allow it to dock in the first place.
Then what do you do?

You’re forgetting the migrants arrive here in unseaworthy boats that means they either have to be rescued or they can just land on any beach. If we were to try and use such boats to return them, there would undoubtedly be deaths, which would result in international condemnation and lawsuits, and probably sanctions against the U.K.

As for retaliating economically against the French, you do realise how utterly dependent the U.K. is to goods coming across the Channel? They could simply shut down the Chunnel and ferry crossings, and we’d see U.K. inflation double over night.
Also the economic or taxation action you propose to be taken against France, would be met with corresponding retaliatory action by the entire EU.

Congratulations, you plunged the U.K. into a deep recession and reintroduced rationing for basic foodstuffs.

Jason

Just threaten with Trident.

Oh dear

Wait till the anti migrant Swedish Democrats gets into its stride and the inhabitants of Malmo and else where look around for a new home.All several thpousand of them.
It will have to be somewhere that has not invested in its defense, has a woke /PC brigade and moronic goverment who do not know their arse from their elbow…..ah

Frank

RN ships are not covered by SOLAS

Christopher Lynch

Seems to be effective in Australia(?) But perhaps they are more committed.

Eddy

Good article on the migrant crisis, timeous, relevant and with an intelligent analysis of all sides of the debate involving small boats crossing the channel. Just one wee point – when natacha bouchart was described as going ‘overboard’, was she in one of the boats?

We are witnessing a crime whenever we see rigid inflateable boats put to see overloaded with men women and children. This is being done deliberately by people smugglers who are intent on maximising their profits.

It is a sound bite but does need to be repeated – stop the criminal gangs by prosecuting the ringleaders disrupt their logistics and seize their ill gotten gains. It really is an issue of law and order when all is said and done.

simon

any reason why one of the channel islands has not been commissioned as a holding facility to process the migrants and act as a staging post for deportation if need be