Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Shame of Calais

In Brexit Britain xenophobia is plat du jour. Some politicians seem to have lost their moral compasses. The Home Secretary, for example, used her speech at the Conservative Party Conference to flirt with the idea of requiring businesses to list their foreign workers. Despite howls of anguish from sensible commentators, the Daily Mail appeared to heartily endorse what it chillingly called a “rivers of Rudd” speech, claiming that she had the backing of a majority.

As Home Secretary, Amber Rudd is responsible for the immigration service and for immigration policy. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that a report by the Red Cross reveals a damning chronicle of delay, intransigence and obstruction by British immigration officials who appear to be frustrating attempts to admit those unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Calais, who are eligible to come to Britain. Even the French government, whose record on refugees at Calais is far from good, appears to be aghast at what is going on.

Anyone who opposes child abuse and neglect has to recognise that it cannot be part of government policy to actually sustain the conditions in which it thrives. But that is what is happening. Somebody somewhere should be helping, safeguarding and protecting unaccompanied children at Calais; not making it more likely that they will suffer maltreatment.