EU asylum and the sad deaths at sea

The spate of deaths by drowning this spring has been harrowing. More must be done to prevent the problem arising, and more to rescue those where a disaster does occur . The policing,patrolling and life saving where needed has to be done by those EU countries  and North African countries with ports nearest to the problem, as they have the vessels able to deploy quickly.

The countries and authorities who could do most to stop this problem are the North African states whose ports the ships leave. The ships should be properly checked for seaworthiness and to prevent overloading before departures.

There is a common EU asylum policy. Broadly the policy has to be applied at the first EU country an asylum seeker reaches. They should be permitted entry if they are fleeing persecution and in need of asylum, but not if they are economic migrants. The EU’s borders are as good- or as weak- as the weakest link in them in all the member states. That is one reason why many in the UK would rather have complete national control of our borders, and make our own judgements about asylum without EU law.

The EU itself has been asked to help Italy, currently facing a large part of the present  problem.The Italian authorities, assisted by the EU, need to do more to track down the criminals who take people’s money to risk them in unsafe boats. This vile trade which has led to so many deaths needs a strong police response, and may well need co-operation between EU member states and the countries allowing the people to travel in these dangerous boats. All member states who are part of the common border need to discuss the EU contribution to the policy costs.

The EU needs to stress there is a fair and safer way for people to be assessed for asylum status, than trying to turn up on unsuitable vessels.

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90 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    But it is largely yet another problem hugely exacerbated by EU policy and Cameron and other’s foolhardy actions of war in Libya.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile it seems that (despite Cameron’s best efforts to throw his second sitting duck election) still nearly 50% of the electorate want the Tories or UKIP. In England it must be rather higher perhaps 60%+.

      The election is still there for the winning but he has boxed himself into a corner. Can he fatten the pig now that it is nearly market day without looking too desperate?

      He is very luck to have such pathetically weak opposition of Miliband and SNP not something likely to be desired by anyone sensible in England.

      A vision of real growth, lower taxes, cheaper energy, more homes, sensible levels of immigration, a “fair” EU referendum, less EU, fewer regulations, far less government, some aspiration and a fair deal for the English. It is not rocket science to win this one it is still a sitting duck. He just need to take aim for a change.

      • Hope
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        He makes a pathetically weak rant about how Tories will review unfair Scottish powers on the rest of the country. Did he not consider this a few months ago when he was prepared to give the SNP anything! And now we hear the weasel words of the principal of EVEL being considered. This was NOT what he promised English voters last October on the doorstep of Downing Street. Completely useless at negotiating or keeping his word. Europhile prepared to give away our taxes and powers to foreign powers, take no responsibility for his useless decisions- including the travesty of invading Libya and helping regime change. He should now be held to account by public inquiry while evidence is fresh in what part the UK played in catching and killing HDaffi. Not the Chill it farce, yet to be published years after the e

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Indeed with proper leadership and working compass the tories would be even more popular in England than the snp are in Scotland.

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic:

        He is very luck (sic) to have such pathetically weak opposition of Miliband and SNP not something likely to be desired by anyone sensible in England.

        Sensible people understand that a SNuLab coalition is the best thing that could happen to England. Sensible people understand that a very bitter pill must be swallowed if an ailing England is to be saved, and there is no way to sugar coat it. You’re simply hiding under the pillows and whistling in the dark in the vain hope that the monsters won’t bite. They will, and hard, and it’s going to hurt but we’ll survive and, unburdened of obsolete and destructive notions of ‘Britishness’, we’ll thrive again.

        Here’s to a SNuLab coalition and independence for England.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Here’s to the confusion of the enemies of England, overt and covert.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Indeed this has the ‘heir to Blair’ hands all over it.

      I feel sorry for Mr Redwood on this – this was not his fault but he is in the unfortunate position of having to answer for his party’s actions. Explaining another calamity brought on by his leaders unshakeable faith in the doctrine of political correctness.

      It must be like being in a car driven by a deranged chimpanzee having David Cameron and George Osborne in charge. I look forward to Mr Redwood’s memoirs when he can be more candid about the disappointment and betrayal he must feel daily.

      Anyone with a jot of common sense could see that ousting a rather brutal regime and replacing it with chaos was going to bring trouble to our door by making a bad situation much worse.
      What part of the failure to bring democracy to Iraq with bombs did Mr Hague not grasp ?
      Thanks Cameron and the useless Conservatives for letting us down (again).

      All we can do now is take a tough line and hope this deters further migrants, and in the longer term saving lives.

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Kenneth R Moore:

        I feel sorry for Mr Redwood on this …

        You needn’t. He (presumably) pays his subs and accepts the whip, and he’s big enough to make his own decisions and accept the consequences., besides which, he’s certain to be returned.

        • Ken Moore
          Posted April 21, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          ‘You needn’t. He (presumably) pays his subs and accepts the whip, and he’s big enough to make his own decisions and accept the consequences., besides which, he’s certain to be returned’.

          Well I give Mr Redwood the benefit of the doubt on this. I suppose there are several schools of thought :-

          1. Mr Redwood is a ‘lightning rod’ for Conservatives offering a crumb of hope to those that are angry with Mr Cameron for his pro Eu/ PC stance…allowing the ‘modernising’ agenda to stay on track by taking a little heat out of the flack….

          2. Mr Redwood is a ‘Cameroon sleeper’. In private he agrees with Cameron’s brand of New Labour Conservatism and loathes traditional Tory values. .. recognising BlueLabour is deeply unpopular with many voters. Unlikely.

          3. Mr Redwood the critic .. disagreeing with the leadership on many issues but taking the view that he can be most effective working within the party structure to secure change.

          I think option 3. is the closest to the truth – JR seems like a decent and honourable chap ..Mr Redwood could ofcourse silence his critics immeadiately by joining UKIP!.

      • stred
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Even Private Eye predicted chaos after toppling the Libyan dictator.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Desperate people do desperate things, and wherever there are desperate people criminals will take advantage, a simple fact.

    Given the areas from where these people appear to be leaving has no proper government or it would appear any proper systems in place, it would be difficult to complete any meaningful checks before they leave.
    The fact that if they get to Italy, Spain or anywhere else and are not sent back immediately, is encouragement enough for them to continue.

    The only real way is to blockade the areas outside the ports ( in international waters) with navy’s from the EU to turn them back and stop them leaving in the first place.

    The EU should fully fund such action.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Looks like our adventures in Libya have been part of the absolute disaster those people now find themselves in.

      Yet another reason why we should keep out of foreign conflicts if at all possible.

      The so called United Nations has also failed so many people in so many areas for too long.

      Bad as Gadaffi and Saddam were, we now seem to have absolute total chaos and complete and utter lawlessness and terrorism in those areas.
      Perhaps we should learn the lesson that you cannot bomb anyone into a so called democracy, and that some Country’s perhaps simply have to be run under some sort of dictatorship until a democracy gradually evolves.

      External Governments and arms manufacturers have a lot to answer for.

      • Chris
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Why do we suppose we have the God given right to try to impose democracies of our choice on other countries, particularly when our government’s knowledge and understanding of them seems quite inadequate and superficial? Our disastrous sorties into Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the indirect role we apparently played in encouraging the so called Arab Spring and in the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine are all examples of our failed foreign policy, based on an incomplete understanding of those regions, greed/lust for power and resources, and a craving to be seen as a “player” on the world stage.

      • acorn
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
      • Stephen Berry
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        This is absolutely right Alan.

        Just over 10 years ago the US and its allies began the drive to ‘drain the swamp’ of the Middle East. Huge applause from the neo-conservatives. Less than five years ago the ‘Arab Spring’ was similarly greeted with massive enthusiasm by opinion makers and the media in the West. But it’s pretty clear Europeans are going to be picking up the pieces from the mess in the Middle East for decades to come. Why?

        Countries do not need wars and revolutions. These damage the economy, tend to create instability and breed animosity between peoples. There was a revolution in England in the 1640s and it was no different for us. Of course, we call it the English Civil War, but that’s often the way with revolutions, they develop into civil wars.

        In order to foster social progress, countries need economic growth and peace, not political upheaval. I think that Conservatives have always been rightly suspicious of revolutions but quite fond of wars. It should be an article of faith in the Tory party that the UK does not get involved in other peoples revolutions or wars. Against that backdrop there would have been no way that the coalition would have become involved in Libya or tried to get involved in Syria.

        It’s facile to attack the people who attempt to transport refugees desperate to get away from the war zone. Thousands of people also sought to escape from France and Russia during their revolutions, often at great risk. We even regard the Scarlet Pimpernel as a heroic figure.

        Has the doctrine of liberal interventionism met its Waterloo? Let us hope so.

    • Ralph Musgrave
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

    • eeyore
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      This is a terrible dilemma. There’s only one solution: sending all migrants/refugees back, without exception. Word will soon get round. I believe Australia and Singapore solved similar problems that way.

      However, to take such a step in the face of outraged public opinion demands high moral courage. Thank heavens that’s the one thing those magnificent Euro politicians are never short of!

    • zorro
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      This is sensible – some of john’s comments about checking passenger loads and ship worthiness seem a bit naive. Perhaps they should check that they have passports and visas too!! (Tongue firmly in cheek)…..

      There are no functioning states there which is one of the reasons why the traffickers are bribing officials to allow them to sail! Another of Cameron and the West’s own goals in their officialy naive policy of bringing democracy to the region at the barrel of a gun……

      zorro

  3. Cheshire Girl
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    The North African countries have no interest in stopping the refugees from leaving. On the contrary they are quite happy to see them go, and be someone else’s problem. Europe need expect no help from them.
    I sympathise with Italy but they are happy to just move them on to other parts of Europe. Im sure the goal of some of them is to end up in the UK.
    The asylum rules have been a joke for many years. Many asylum seekers cross several countries to get to the one they desire. The rules need to be tightened up. Also, some of the people are economic migrants, and not asylum seekers at all.
    I dont pretend to know what the answer is, but if some effective action is not taken soon, Europe (and us) will be overwhelmed.

    • zorro
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Very few if any are genuine asylum seekers. They are mainly young single males/females looking for work or families joining relatives…..

      zorro

      • Mark
        Posted April 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Quite. And even fewer are Libyan – so few that Frontex doesn’t evwn bother to report Libyan nationality of these sea migrants separately.

    • Dennis
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      It has been stated,”I dont pretend to know what the answer is, but if some effective action is not taken soon, Europe (and us) will be overwhelmed.”

      The word overwhelmed reminds me of the overwhelming of foreign areas/states by the colonising powers to enrich themselves – poetic justice?

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Oh, that old chestnut again. Well we are not responsible for the problems in those countries now. They asked for us to go and we went so they could organise their own affairs in the way they wanted. The fact that it all went wrong through bad governance is not our problem,despite the fact that you would like to make it so.

        • Dennis
          Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          I didn’t say we are responsible now – re read my post and understand it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      The Italian authorities have been doing this for many years: allowing, at times helping, illegal immigrants into Italy and then sending them on their way to other EU countries so they become somebody else’s problem.

      I recall seeing a TV programme about this when much of the flow was from and through Albania, and this article is from 1995, twenty years ago now:

      https://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=665

      “Every night hundreds of Kurds, Albanians, Yugoslavs, and Chinese are ferried from Albania across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. At its closest point, Albania is 50 miles across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Officials estimate over 50,000 illegal immigrants enter the European Union each year through Italy’s heel.”

      And then well-meaning(?) people in Italy were housing and feeding them until they could be sent out of Italy on their way to other EU countries.

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    While there are rescue operations which land these people in Italy where they can claim asylum or flee there will be greater appetite for passage on overcrowded leaky vessels. Anyone rescued should be returned to an African port, if the port of origin can not be determined then any port will do, these people have after all chosen to leave their homes.

    Any country issuing a refugee a passport must become liable to support that refugee. My local school is under pressure from a large group of Italian speaking Somalis who are mostly claiming benefits too. How is that right. Italy issued passports, Italy must support them.

    Additionally, if the persecuted flee without standing to fight for change, the countries will never improve. The oppressed have been a driver for change throughout history. These people should stay and find solidarity in their own country to improve it for all.

  5. They Work for Us?
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Off topic and mischievously, a solution to an SNP whip hand and blackmail would be for minority Govt backed by all other MPs that don’t support SNP extremes like scrapping Trident. In such a situation all English MPs should consult their constituents and if needs be vote as Independents. Such minority Govt, if brave, could also mischievously suggest the removal of the Barnett formula and a referendum for England as to whether they wished to continue in a United Kingdom that included Scotland. The power of England would therefore be felt.

    Reply There is likely to be a majority in the new Parliamentfor new submarines whatever the election outcome

    • formula57
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Also do not overlook the infamous Vow – in consequence of which neither the Conservatives, Labour nor the Liberal Democrats could touch the Barnett formula (which formula is not unfair in itself when allocating increases, as Mr Redwood has explained hitherto, yet is based on an overly generous initial allocation to Scotland.)

      Reply All have to revisit the settlement, however, to adjust the grant for Scotland collecting and spending more of her own taxes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      To Reply:

      There is indeed likely to be a majority in the new Parliament for new submarines whatever the election outcome. But it is not electorally good for the Tories to point this out too often. Better to suggest that the SDP will hold the English at gun point.

      Alas there is also likely to be one for remaining in the EU (without reference to voters), the continuation expensive energy religion, tax borrow and piss down the drain HS2 etc., more and more state regulation of everything, the judicial robbing of landlords, the economic suicide of attacking non doms ……

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Reply to JR’s Reply

      It’s obvious to all of us here that the Conservatives could and would support a Miliband Government to get spending cuts and the defense budget through the house against SNP objections. Such will be the numbers that the Conservatives would only need to abstain, not actually vote in favour of a Labour budget to see it through.

      Our host is very brave to state this openly while at the same time Cameron is trying to make out what an uncontrollable monster a Labour/SNP alliance would be for the country.

  6. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Well in a sense they are all economic migrants, otherwise why choose to seek asylum in a different continent rather than in (say) Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “The EU needs to stress there is a fair and safer way for people to be assessed for asylum status, than trying to turn up on unsuitable vessel”

    That statement highlights the truth that the EU and the left ignore. The people on those unsafe boats are, with a few exceptions of course, not asylum seekers. They are in the main, seeking to leave their own poor country to make a life in a ‘wealthy’ country within the EU, because they can.
    We all know once they get into any EU country they then have the means to continue their migration to the country of their choice, all to often Britain (in fact England)
    Until the EU makes it clear that anyone entering any EU country illegally will be returned, they will continue to risk everything, including their lives.

  8. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    This is an international issue of inter-continental proportions.

    The World has reached a point where there are far, far more people who have some money, considerable initiative and boundless courage who at considerable risk to their lives are seeking a better life outside their own country. These are the same people who would be capable of making life in their own country very much better for their own populations, if only there were give the freedom and fair governance so to do.

    The EU can not solve this problem by simply absorbing those who make it across the border.

    The issues are World-wide. They should be addressed in the UN. European countries should play their part, but the only effective solutions lie in the countries from which these migrants are leaving.

    • Mark
      Posted April 24, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. Looking at the nationalities who dominate these trans Mediterranean flows, they start with Syrians, Eritreans, Afghans, sub-Saharan Africans, Nigerians, Gambians, Somalis…

      Many are economic migrants. As the EU’s Frontex points out, most illegal immigrants are those who come to the EU legally and then overstay their visa, often involving the same cast list of nationalities.

  9. agricola
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a disaster, and Italy being in the front line deserves the full support of the EU. This however is only short term. Europe cannot be the final domicile of the Worlds disasters long term.

    Here is an out of the box solution which could occupy the minds of our Foreign and Commonwealth Office and all the skills it might have. It would also give a focus to some if not nearly all of the UK and EU overseas aid budget.

    With the agreement of a North African state, create a new state to which all these refugees could go to create a new life. Part of the deal would be the need for a real incentive for the host state.

    It must not be allowed to become a vast failed state like the Gaza refugee area, but a successful one like Israel. It could also be an opportunity to sow the seeds of democracy in an area that has hardly seen it. Israel has all the expertise when it comes to turning desert into productive farm land so invite their help.

    Big challenges need big solutions. This is a possible solution born out of disaster that organised properly could become a shining light in an otherwise failed area. Discuss.

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Interesting idea.Wasn’t Liberia originally created as a refugee for freed/escaped African slaves?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Liberia for ex-slaves from the USA while the British equivalent started slightly earlier was Sierra Leone.

      • zorro
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        It was in the 1840s….. The idea was that enlightened freed slaves would create a country which would be an example of good governance…… etc ed

        zorro

    • zorro
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      LOL…. I am sure that the Maghreb countries will think that is a swell idea!

      zorro

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    So the spokeswoman in Catania says we need a Naval Task Force under an EU flag. Beneficial crisis or what.
    Most of the problems have been instigated by Eu and American foreign policy.
    No doubt all except UKIP will be calling for unlimited access to UK housing and benefits especially for the members of ISIL who are out to destroy us

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      What, like this EU Naval Task Force?

      http://eunavfor.eu/

      “Forces of Operation Atalanta deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. EU Naval Force protects vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia and the protection of African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping.”

      Another branch of those non-existent EU armed forces, like Eurocorps.

      But it seems that the ships do not always fly any kind of EU flag.

  11. Bob
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    “The ships should be properly checked for seaworthiness and to prevent overloading before departures.”

    Quite right Mr Redwood, perhaps we could also provide a safe “free at the point of use” ferry or air service direct from those countries to the UK to take the pressure off of our EU partners.

    Thanks to the cultural enrichment and the huge financial benefits these immigrants bring, the UK economy will be in surplus in no time flat.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I understand from Nicola Sturgeon & Leanne Wood that both Scotland and Wales are crying out for immigrants and will take all of those that wish to go there…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        They may be crying out for immigrants, but they do not necessarily speak for the majority of people in Scotland and Wales.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Well Denis the polls seem to be saying that they may well be 🙁

          I was being ironic…

          As I said before “It’s all much too scary!”…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Not the polls that I’ve seen.

    • zorro
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Well done you got in there before me 😉

      zorro

  12. Peter Bounds
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I am far from being a Gaddafi supporter, but would this happen if he was still in power?

    • Mark
      Posted April 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Those the Libyan economy could make use of would be employed, albeit on terms that many would regard as akin to slavery. Many of the rest would be beaten up and hounded out of the country. That is how it used to be when he was in power.

  13. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Where Africa aid is siphoned straight to Mercedes Benz and the Gateguard fee to Gaddafi wasn’t paid + killing him…..no surprise is it?

    And the EU will do what..oh, discuss? The southern states are still the southern states only this time carrying much debt and internal problems. So what will that element of the EU do…apart from giving bus fares/docs to Calais etc?

    No amount of bombing is going to bring this calamitous situation to an end. So all they do is travel direct to get the Aid…dying on the way. And so many fools in this country want the borders wide open……better get much, much more money than £8Bn for the International NHS in that case.

  14. Kenneth
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    It would surely save lives if Italy and other affected countries suspended asylum and deported these unfortunate people on arrival. My understanding is that nationality is much easier to determine for these kinds of migrants.

    By offering asylum these European countries are condemning people to death.

    • zorro
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Nationality easy to determine??? Where do you get that idea when they have no passports or documents. They will hardly be cooperative!

      zorro

      • Kenneth
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        I was going by the news reports where they usually knew the country of origin (e.g. Libya).

        Also, it is common sense that a boat full of people would yield some obvious clues as to the origin.

        What is horrible is that people are dying yet the European countries are putting out a beacon encouraging more to come.

        It is callous and inhumane to allow this to continue.

  15. formula57
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The great problem for countries chosen as their destination by those fleeing places like contemporary Libya is that if any are admitted, especially with post arrival care which is inevitable at a basic level at least, then more will be encouraged to come. There will not be the will to stop them since the measures that would have to be adopted will be seen as inhumane and likely contrary to applicable laws.

  16. A different Simon
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    There is a history of unscrupulous operators taking people to mid channel before throwing men , women and children overboard and taking all their money and belongings .

    A variation of the Nazi death camp plan without the gold teeth extractions and forced labour .

    Desperate people do desperate things .

    The IMF and World Bank are complicit in holding Africa back .

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Cameron says he is going to sell bank shares at a heavy discount to the public in order to “pay down the national debt” yet another out and out lie. For one none of this money will touch the national debt as we will still be borrowing much more than this and the national debt will still be going up every single day. For two given our financial position we should not be giving discounts on state assets, be they shares or houses.

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right!Cameron continues to take us for fools,the £4 billion proceeds of a Lloyds divestment will cover the deficit for just two-to-three weeks and you can only sell an asset once.

      • A different Simon
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Could there be a clearer sign that they are absolutely bankrupt of ideas ?

        By any standard the electioneering which Cameron and Osborne have engaged in has been particularly shameful .

        I didn’t think they would stoop so low . These people are not fit for office and this latest stunt may have cost them the election . Disgusting .

    • stred
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      If the government announces that it is going to sell a large amount of somehing at a discount in the future, does this not depress the value of the item? This sale of Lloyds reminds me of the Brown bottom when our gold reserves were sold for the minimum and the sale of the Post Office by Dr Vince, when he took bankers advice and they sold it cheaply to their friends and said Sids were not the right sort to own it, and then it greatly increased in value shortly afterwards. HMG’s politicians don’t seem to have the Midas touch.

  18. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Whilst the opportunists are taking money to ship (boat) these people to Italy, I can’t help but feel angry towards the African nations who make their own people so desperately scared that they have to flee.Surely something can be done to address the source of the problem.

  19. James Matthews
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    If these people are picked up it should be on the basis that they will, without exception and immediately, be returned to their port of embarkation. If they, or the country from which they departed, will not accept this, that is their choice.

    It is not acceptable that economic migrants, many of them heading to the UK, should blackmail their way into Europe by putting themselves at risk. Fairly obviously, the more they are accepted, the more they will come.

    Harsh? Perhaps, but the alternative is to be swamped.

    • Bert Young
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Absolutely agree . There is no point in adopting a “we can save the world” attitude – we simply cannot . Returning migrants to their point of embarkation is the most straightforward solution . This approach would soon end the crisis . The U.N. should harness enough vessels from appropriate nations to patrol the coast of N.Africa and return the migrants .

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Totally agree with these comments. We cannot take them all so where do we draw the line. Take them all back. They are illegal immigrants basically. How do we know if any mean us harm once they get here and get established? Haven’t we got enough problems now without adding to them? Unrest in Europe will not be pretty and then we cannot help anyone.

  20. Mondeo Man
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Things have changed dramatically since the asylum laws were made.

    – transport is cheaper and faster

    – borders are weaker and wider

    – our own populations have grown exponentially

    In theory we could have tens of millions arrive with legitimate asylum claims – particularly if persecution because of sexuality is included, then add the rights to bring over family afterwards.

    What is proposed – in effect – is a supervised ferrying service. Word will spread. This will mean ever more people attempting the journey. So many, in fact, that the ferries will be unable to cope and the rogue charters continued with the deaths mounting as the trickle becomes a flood and people panic – as they did on that stricken fishing boat when they saw a rescue ship.

    Nothing short of a cruel-to-be-kind policy can limit this.

    The choice that the EU faces is whether or not to open the floodgates. It needs to weigh , not only the risk of the deaths at sea, but the deaths that will occur among the EU populations owing to shortages, social, cultural and religious instability, criminality, disease and the inevitable failure to assimilate and educate potentially limitless numbers of people.

    The people of our country need to have their say on whether or not to do this.

    David Cameron was largely responsible for this problem – his intervention in Libya blew the lid off it.

    So much for the booming economy if there will never be enough jobs, enough housing, enough services.

    What would make us ‘come home’ to the Tories would be the promise of an EU referendum forthwith.

    After all. Setting one up for the Scots didn’t seem a problem, nor one for AV. Anyone who says that large businesses will get the jitters about us breaking from the EU might like to explain why they didn’t get the jitters about the break up of GB.

  21. AndyC
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Older readers may recall a thing called the ‘Royal Navy’. Now sadly defunct due to more pressing financial committments.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, I am utterly shocked by the news that in the event of a minority Labour government the Tories would be willing to join with the SNP to block defence spending and shut down the government and generally reduce the country to chaos:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ed-miliband/11548611/Election-2015-SNP-prepared-to-paralyse-Armed-Forces-unless-Trident-is-scrapped.html

    If this threat that in opposition the Tories would vote with the SNP to paralyse our armed forces is meant to persuade people to vote Tory then I suggest that it’s far more likely to have exactly the opposite effect; at least we know that a Labour government with an overall majority would at worst only erode defence spending, not suddenly shut it down altogether so that our brave troops wouldn’t even get paid.

    Reply Conservatives will vote for the new submarines and for paying the armed forces!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      In which case the Telegraph’s front page story is twaddle, and so too is the article by Boris Johnson claiming that “without the support of Salmond and his troops in the Commons, there is not a single bill that Labour could get through”; which of course could only be true if the main opposition party, the Tory party, resolved to always vote against a minority Labour government whatever the issue and was content to go through the same lobby as the SNP in order to bring government to a halt, even to the point of paralysing our armed forces. And that’s the same Boris Johnson who in previous years has already done a great deal lot to stir up quite unnecessary antagonism between the English and the Scots in an effort to boost support for his party in England.

      Reply Conservatives support the new subs and will vote for them. Why do you believe all you read in papers?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        But we are meant to believe it, JR, that’s why such stories are fed to the newspapers in the first place. More to the point is why political parties think they have a right to feed such twaddle to the mass media.

    • acorn
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Denis, don’t believe anything you read in the Telegraph in a run-up to an election. It is the Tory house journal after all. No politician will ever have the balls to cancel our nuclear strike force; the SNP won’t do it either and they know it.

      Now, matters of the moment. The electoral commission (EC) said this morning that 7.5 million persons had not registered to vote. Do you believe that?

      In 2010, the electorate was 45.60 million and 29.69 million voted (65.11%). the voting age population was 49.12 million. 3.52 million didn’t register to vote.

      In this 2015 election the population is guessed at 64.7 million which would probably yield 50.8 million voting age population. If the EC says 7.5 million are missing from the register, we are back to an electorate of 43.3 million registered voters, which is what we had in 1992.

      I give up.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        sentence deleted ed
        I have to admit that claim by the Electoral Commission had passed me by until you pointed it out. I did read before that considerable numbers of previous “electors” have now been removed from the electoral rolls across the country because they had never actually existed, or they had existed but were now dead, and so on. Could it be that the 45.60 million in 2010 was inflated by a few million fictitious “electors”?

  23. fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    We should never have interfered in Libya or any other African country. What we should understand is the democracy as we see it doesn’t work for every nation. This problem has no end now and whatever we do they will keep coming. Yes, we could blockade the ports but they will find some other way to get over. The more that come the more the Europeans will become angry and upset over the situation and once we have problems in Europe then the whole situation will become worse with carnage of the streets of Europe. We can surely only take so many. Many of these people do not speak any European language, none have no homes to go to, no jobs and many have illnesses which need treatment. If we thought we had problems with the NHS and housing and education now then we ain’t see nothing yet.

  24. Iain Moore
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Asylum is a blank cheque written by a past generation, in a different time, that we have no hope of honouring. It is time we were honest about, and call a halt to the farce that entices desperate people to attempt to get to Europe.

    If these migrants knew they had no chance of setting foot in Europe , and would be returned to their country of origin , then they wouldn’t set out on their journey and expense in the first place.

    All the bleeding hearts good intentions are leading to bad outcomes. If anyone is to blame for these migrants to set out to sea, it is they who should be blamed for these people drowning.

    Australia showed how to deal with boat people. Do we have to spend decades of misery before European politicians learn the same lesson!

  25. Backofanenvelope
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The nation states of Africa have all been independent for 50 or 60 years and the West has shovelled uncounted billions of pounds of aid to them. If they are hellholes it is their fault not ours. Time for a drastic re-think.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The only way to get control of this situation is to insist that any would be immigrant from Africa has to have his/her application dealt with in Africa. If anybody else makes it to the UK uninvited they should automatically be sent back.

    It is totally unacceptable that a person originating from Africa should have the right to come to the UK because of a decision by Italian, Greek or Maltese governments. That is why an OUT vote is essential when the EU referendum finally comes.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Agree but people like DC and JR cant seem to see that. Perhaps a few years in the wilderness connecting with the voters might refresh Tory fortunes.

  27. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Any seaworthy boats found should be towed back to the nearest North African port with their occupants and if not seaworthy the passengers should be put aboard one that is and towed back in that by armed vessels and disembarked, and messages sent out that such will happen in all future cases.

    If that is not successful as a deterrent, governments such as exist, and any ‘authorities’ must be warned that all boats over a certain size in coastal waters where these people have likely set out from, except those in guarded and approved areas, will be destroyed at their moorings, until the practice stops.

    • stred
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The manager of our local Italian restaurant, who is extremely fed up with the situation, told us that they cannot return the migrants once they are picked up, owing to European law. As some, such as those murdered on board last week were from Nigeria these should not be considered refugees. Only parts of this country are under threat and it is comparatively wealthy. The number from other countries are too great for Europe to handle.

      There are plenty of Christians in refugee camps already if we wish to take our share. The refugees from the Sunni and Shia groups have been killing each other, so why should we take these? The idea of destroying these boats before they set off seems a good one. If bombing Gadaffi was legal, surely blowing up some empty boats would pass the bleeding heat lawyers.

  28. Ian B
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Focussing on the “vile trade” is the wrong target. Like drug dealers, they are supplying a market demand in a manner which circumvents the State. The problem with Libya has arisen since the decision by certain Western powers to topple its governing regime, causing increasing numbers of people to attempt to flee the resulting murderous chaos. And in simple terms this is what happens when we implement the Neoconservative policy of bombing people to democracy. It has a very poor track record.

    I am in favour in general of tight immigration controls. But as our country was directly involved in the creation of the Libyan crisis, we also now have a moral responsibility to help these people, just as I would be morally responsible for your homelessness if I had burned your house down.

    The Conservative Party needs to rediscover real conservatism- which, if it stands for anything, it stands for restraint and common sense- and ditch the “neo” kind. And in the meantime, accept the moral responsibility we have brought upon ourselves and offer help to people who are refugees largely due to British government policy.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I have warm feelings for the Italian people, but my annoyance with their government is now moving to real anger. They know that few of the illegal immigrants they are landing in Italy will stay there, and that there are organisations in Italy actively helping them on their way to other EU countries, with the UK as the preferred end destination for many, and yet they are determined to persist with this perverse and unfriendly policy.

    If we still had a decent navy I would seriously consider sending a powerful fleet to the Mediterranean, not to help the Italian coastguards but to warn them that if they did not stop conveying illegal immigrants into Europe then their vessels would be sunk.

    The Australians have shown us how to deal more effectively with this kind of problem and bring it to an end rather than exacerbating it; but of course there are those in the EU who don’t see large flows of illegal immigration into the EU as even being a problem, for them it is just another way to maximise the mass immigration they want.

    Reply Killing more people by sinking ships would not be a good idea.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      My sinking would be of the Italian coastguard vessels which are helping illegal immigrants on their way to my country, an act which is so obviously unfriendly that it could be seen as a hostile act and a casus belli. Of course if it ever came to that then the crews would be rescued. As far as the boats with illegal immigrants are concerned I would not sink them at sea, I would do as others have suggested by towing them back to North Africa, allowing the occupants to disembark, and then destroying the boats so that they could not be used again. As for the people smugglers, if they resisted arrest they could be shot, and good riddance to them; it’s a mistake to pussy-foot around with those types just as it is with the ISIS types, extermination is what is required. The Royal Navy did not sweep pirates and slave traders from the seas by being very careful to treat them nicely.

  30. forthurst
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    “The countries and authorities who could do most to stop this problem are the North African states whose ports the ships leave. The ships should be properly checked for seaworthiness and to prevent overloading before departures.”

    Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary, said that Britain, “can make an important contribution to addressing the factors driving migration” through aid programmes.

    So there we have it: first destroy regimes with offensive warfare, achieving death and destruction, refugees, warring militias, a failed state, then give aid. An examination of the map of the Med demonstrates that Libya is not closest to Europe or even Italy: Tangier or Tunis are much closer; however, the likelihood is that an Egyptian fishing boat would not have been allowed to dock to take on passengers and the latter would have stopped at the border, in any case. The likelihood is that all the vessels attempting to cross into Europe are fishing boats which are designed to carry a small crew, and fish which act as ballast, not to be crammed with passengers; in other words none seaworthy, in practice.

    One of the rescued passengers was apparently from Bangladash, presumably taking his annual holiday in a failed state, as one does, and nothing to do with the al qaida/ISIS operatives who tend to travel to failed Islamic states such as Libya, the victims of neocon instituted regime change.

    The need to get out of the EU in order to take full control of our borders so that anyone whether they have an EU passport or not can be turned back, is now the most urgent issue facing this country; the second most urgent issue to modify our foreign policy and our leadership so that we cease to dance to the neocon tune: that would be leadership by example, for other European countries to follow.

  31. ian
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    How else are they going to get the EU population up to over 600 million and your up to 90 million, all refuges and asylum seekers because they have not got the money to buy a EU passport. Big business call it economy of scale, all part of the chess game, why invest in African and middle east when can bring the people to you where you have shops and infrastructure all in place and governments who want to expand their spending budgets, your establishment been behind it all the way, your governments have spend billion on the policy with the usa. People do not leave homeland unless they are force out or feel compelled to leave, just like hear. By the end of this century over 90 million living in England a lone etc ed.

  32. Ken Moore
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    We get all self righteous talking about the ‘vile trade’ in people trafficking. Yet it is the attraction of our open access to free NHS treatment, and benefits that draws desperately poor people to risk everything to get here . We are literally killing these people with our supposed moral superiority and ‘kindness’.
    We can’t rely on the re-treaded New Labour party (The modern Conservatives) to make this case anymore so don’t blame us for turning to UKIP.

  33. BobE
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    As others have said. The only solution is to return the boats and passengers to the port of embarkation. Then it will be seen to not work and will stop.
    Or is that to hard to understand!!

  34. Richard
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    These people are not asylum seekers. Nor are they economic migrants or victims of people traffickers having paid relatively large sums for places on these vessels.

    As we are discovering many are not looking for a new life in a new country but to continue to live a more comfortable version of their old life at our expense and with no wish to accept our democracy or our tolerant culture.

    Of course the EU should be doing all they can to save their lives but this does not mean they should be allowed to remain in the EU.

    The only way we can stop this invasion is to return these people back to the ports from which they came and to destroy the vessels.

    The quicker it becomes clear that being saved in the Mediterranean does not automatically lead to entry into the EU the sooner these terrible deaths will cease.

  35. Sir Graphus
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I’d like to thank the Tories for keeping us out of the Schengen agreement.

    Special credit to whoever negotiated proper British customs/immigration checks at Calais, and not Dover.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Hold on here. If we stay in the EU then eventually, inevitably, we will end up in Schengen just as we will end up in the euro. And who got us into the EEC, under false pretences, and then into the EU?

      Should you really be thanking the people who pushed us into the coils of this boa constrictor because they managed to negotiate a delay before it finally crushes the life out of us?

  36. ChrisS
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    On the PM program this evening their reporter in Italy interviews a survivor who admitted he had come from Nigeria. This man can be nothing more than an economic migrant, certainly not a mas escaping from desperate war zone like Syria. How many others are there masquerading as genuine Asylum Seekers ?

    Of course the BBC interviewer made no comment nor did he question why the man was trying to get to Europe. Typical !

    We then had an intervention today from the Australian PM who has successfully reduced the death toll by turning back every boat to either where they came from or to an island where their claims can be examined. They are then returned or resettled but not in Australia. He said Europe must take similar tough action.

    Clearly he is right : that is the ONLY way we can defeat the people trafficers.

  37. Jon
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    There is an EU initiative called the Euromed, it’s aim is

    “The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East.”

    One directive is:

    “the de-pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, including coastal and protected marine areas”

    Arguable in a chilling way whether they are de populating the Mediterranean.
    Years ago I remember them setting up offices in North Africa to promote the EU. They could still be there on the payroll for all I know.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    JR, I can’t see why you have declined to publish my comment with factual information about the population explosion in Africa. If we are to start taking in people migrating from Africa across the Mediterranean then surely we need to have some idea how many there could be? I saw Nigel Farage on TV saying there could be millions, and of course he is right insofar as each million would only be 0.1% of the present population of Africa and equivalent to something like three weeks’ growth of that total population.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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