Thursday 3 September 2015

The problems won't go away by ignoring them

This isn't meant to be a detailed post and there are many caveats to consider but I wanted to outline the basics of the solution to the migration crisis.

First and foremost, these people are human beings. You have to start from that basic recognition. If they made it as far as the continent, they are here, they have immediate human needs - food, sanitation, medical care. That IS our problem.

In this context, there isn't a migration crisis, per se - there is a refugee crisis and within that an exacerbating factor of economic migrants piggy-backing on the refugee flow. We need to manage that and make the distinctions.

That said, we have to be pragmatic. FACT: Greece, and Southern Italy are not safe, there are insufficient resources to deal with them, and there are no jobs for them and the administrative systems are not mature enough to cope. So, they must be distributed evenly over Northern Europe. That means we take more than we presently do.

We need processing camps and we need to make sure they are safe, clean, policed and secure and so we can adequately determine genuine asylum cases. We need a very big one in Calais, and we need to take our fair share. When we do, we refuse right to settle in London. Our Northern cities could use some diversification and re-population. The binary Muslim-White culture needs to be broken.

Meanwhile, any EU migrants here without a job or place to stay, will be expected to return to their place of origin. EU law permits this. We also make sure we enforce housing overcrowding rules and minimum wage rules so that EU migrants don't get to undercut domestic workers. That means word gets back to Eastern Europe that it's expensive to come and there's no sympathy if you arrive and expect to doss on the streets. That much is not unreasonable.

Crucially, the reason refugees are risking the Med is because land routes have been closed off by fences. Fences which do not serve as a deterrent. Take them down - but at the same time, stop the rescue boats. They are an incentive and reduce the risk of trying the journey.

Next up is to create more legitimate means of legal entry, so we don't see such widespread abuse of the asylum system. That gives us short to medium term relief.

Long term, we have to invest and invest big in Africa, dredging the ports, building roads, building good governance and supporting property rights. Build offshore asylum processing centres in Africa, run by the UN, and audited by our own government to ensure sanitation and safety. We then say that to gain entry, you will be refused at Calais, but if you go to an offshore processing centre, and wait your turn, we will get to you.

But as much as we need to fix Africa, we need to fix Greece and Italy - so they can take their share of migrants and ensure migrants actually can stay there.

To do all this we have to start with reform to the Geneva Convention. Immediately - in order to reduce the incentive. It is part of the pull factor and a reason for migrants (not refugees) to ignore the legitimate immigration processes.

We could do this, we can afford to do this - and we could do it tomorrow IF there was the political will - but the British public want reductions in immigration - which is just not possible. We'd rather the problem festered and got worse and seemingly we'd rather see people getting tear-gassed and festering in squalor.

The truth is, we are not going to be able to close our borders or even adequately control them, we are going to take on a lot more people, but if we manage the distribution that need not be a bad thing for Liverpool, Hull, Bradford and Newcastle. Many will go back to Syria after the war - and so will Iraqis, and in the mean time, the remittances they send back will be better for international development than any aid programme. There will be an outflow eventually if we act now. We need to make Africa wealthier.

We cannot ignore the problem, we're going to have to take more people - and suck it up because we have no other choices - other than that which Ukip proposes, which is to close the borders and leave people to rot hoping the problem will go away. If you have any sympathy with that view or that party, you need to be elsewhere - because if that's what you think, you have nothing to say that I want to hear.

No comments:

Post a Comment