TWENTY-SEVEN people, including a pregnant woman and three children, were drowned attempting to cross the Channel in an inflatable boat on Wednesday – the highest number of people killed making it the most dangerous crossing since records were first started in 2004.
Desperate men, women and children are forced to risk their lives crossing the dangerous waters of the Channel to escape war and poverty inflicted on their countries by US, British and European imperialist nations who have destroyed their homes and any future in pursuit of re-ordering the world in order to exploit its people and natural resources.
When news of this tragedy broke on Wednesday there was an outpouring of the most repulsive hypocrisy from Boris Johnson and the Tory government.
Johnson said he was ‘shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea’, ending with a call for everyone to ‘do everything we can to stop these gangs who are getting away with murder’, effectively attempting to shift the blame for these deaths onto the backs of people smugglers.
The real criminals are this Tory government in Britain who have the blood of the drowned on their hands.
While Johnson was shedding crocodile tears over the deaths at sea, his Home Secretary Priti Patel is driving through Parliament her Borders and Nationalities Bill which she intends will criminalise anyone arriving in the UK ‘without a valid entry clearance’.
This Bill even contains a clause that makes anyone rescuing any immigrant or refugee in peril at sea guilty of a criminal offence.
This week, the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) warned its members against rescuing migrants amid fears they could be prosecuted and jailed for people smuggling. The RYA advised sailors to ‘stand off and report’ rather than rescue and bring people ashore. Saving lives is a criminal offence as far as the Tories are concerned.
In a statement to Parliament yesterday Patel said Channel crossings were ‘unnecessary’ and ‘illegal’ and that people should use legal channels to arrive in Britain.
She concluded by saying that she has ‘already approved’ new Border Force tactics ‘including boat turnarounds’ – tactics that will ensure even more small boats being capsized and people drowning.
In fact, there will be no ‘regular routes’ for asylum seekers, unless of course you are an anti-communist Hong Kong resident.
Last year, Johnson offered as many as three million of them a chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.
Open arms for anti-communist, pro-capitalists and death by drowning for the most vulnerable people in society, and jail for those trying to rescue them.
Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: ‘How many tragedies like this must we see before the government fundamentally changes its approach by committing to an ambitious expansion of safe routes for those men, women and children in desperate need of protection?
‘Every day, people are forced to flee their homes through no fault of their own. Now is the time to end the cruel and ineffective tactic of seeking to punish or push away those who try and find safety in our country.’
In fact, the Tories have seized on the tragedy to push this reactionary, murderous bill through Parliament – they have no intention of doing anything other than punish or drive away these fragile crafts from UK waters, virtually guaranteeing even more deaths of men, women and children.
To their eternal shame all Labour Party shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said in response to Patel’s declaration of intent was to ask what she will do to ‘deepen’ law enforcement and strengthen coastal patrols.
The Labour leadership refuses to stand up for refugees, just as it refuses to stand up for the working class, instead crawling before this Tory government and its racist programme.
The enemy of the working class is not refugees and asylum seekers but capitalism in its most degenerate imperialist stage.
The only way to prevent more tragedies is to put an end to this barbaric capitalist system by bringing down the Tories and going forward to a workers’ government that will welcome every worker from any country to join in building a socialist society.