Travelling across the Channel
This week I had to travel through the channel tunnel in my car and after reading for weeks about the delays and disruption I was surprised to find that there was none. We turned up, got on board with no trouble at all and didn’t see anyone apart from members of staff.
Friends who had been through the week before painted a very different picture. Lots of people sitting on the side of the road, looking destitute and in a very poor way. There were no attempts that they saw to try and get in cars, they just sat there. Their cars were checked and searched several times where all I had to do was wake a deeply sleeping daughter for her passport to be checked. They probably spent more time looking at her because her wide eyed expression looked quite amusing and probably not a lot like her passport photo
I don’t even begin to know the answer to trying to sort this out, but I don’t think it can be either Britain or France being the countries on their own to find a solution. I don’t think that I can quite cope with the Australian system of patching up boats and giving more supplies and sending people on their way
I was talking to one person and he felt that it was less to do with the excuse of claiming lots of benefits than English being the language that most people learn at a young age. French is not an easy language to learn (as I can testify from making lots of mistakes while I was speaking) and perhaps we are most used to other languages and accents being spoken in the UK than occurs in other countries
Moving the border to Folkestone is not going to solve the problem, it is just going to change the location. I can’t imagine what many of these people will have been through to think that this is a better option for their lives. One thing I know is that merely talking about this in terms of immigration is not the answer. There was quite a lot of that around the time of the General Election, but unless we are able to understand the reasons that this is happening then we are not going to get to the bottom of the answer. Do we need to do more? One of the things that I have learnt from travelling the world is that this is a place that I want to live. The political and religious freedom we have, the NHS (however strapped for cash) means that the one thing I do understand is why others want to be here as well