This morning’s agreement in Paris won’t solve the problem of the small boats in the Channel, Suella said, but we can be proud – really proud – of the co-operation between us and the French.
It’s like the famous rain dancers: they may not make it rain but what lovely dancers they become.
The deal the Home Secretary signed with her French counterpart is a great step forward, she told the House just now. It was a positive step forward. We are to have hundreds of officers embedded with the French authorities in Calais. And what will they be doing? Oh, sharing information. Observing, liaising, digitising. And, sidebar, we will be paying the French how much more than the last five years’ £200 million that Tim Loughton quoted? Another £62 million, was it?
And remember this is to put more police into the equation, more British police officers. As if our knee-taking, conga-dancing, protest-facilitating police are the answer to any public order question.
For onlookers, commentators and the Opposition, the great thing about the migrant situation is that everyone is doing it all wrong, and every solution is as bad as the next. The opportunities for “carping from the sidelines” are legion.
Tory Luke Evans told of a hotel that had been taken over by migrants even though the place had failed a fire inspection. Henry Smith said Germany and Sweden didn’t recognise the claims of Albanian men and sent them straight back to Albania. Yvette told us that a Written Ministerial had recorded only four trafficking convictions a month and 7,000 migrant arrivals in one month alone. And as for the Home Office – the lamentable productivity of the justice system shames them. One and a half applications processed per official per week. They really could do with some proper bullying.
Maybe migrants might be moved out of hotels (£6 billion a year) and into Pontins’ resorts (also known as “concentration camps” by the Left)? That has a cheerful holiday feel but could only result in another pull factor. They’re not talking Butlins, note.
Diana Johnson of the Home Affairs committee actually does have a useful idea, forgive the note of surprise. Set up asylum reception centers in France to issue visas. Anyone arriving on Dover beach without a visa would automatically – ah. Automatically what? Would they be automatically held in a cruise ship in international waters? Not Guardian-compliant. Rwanda? Needs our withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. Fly them straight back to Albania? Lawyers stop that, and if lawyers fail, Brits lie down on the tarmac in front of the planes. And the migrants get on a bus straight back to Dover.
There’s no silver bullet. No, it needs a Gatling gun firing silver bullets. And where do we get one of them, these days?
PS: Boris made a rare appearance on the backbenches asking about police training in his constituency. What a career arc, from world king to Uxbridge, a seat he is struggling to hold onto by pleading for more police training to be hosted there. Sic transit gloria Boris