But unless Mr. Johnson and his senior colleagues and advisers are taking the initiative to take a different direction, there is no reason to believe this tragedy will be a turning point. Right now the government seems trapped in a trap of its own making - with the part of the public it took with it when ministers decided to speak out and act harsh towards asylum seekers. This is what has led to the shameful situation in which the main response to this week's tragedy is to blame the French. The government is pushing for morally and legally dubious designed to create an even more hostile environment is justified by claims that the number of people seeking asylum is overwhelming.
It is true that with 23,000 arrivals of small boats so far , this year's total will surpass the 8,400 that came in 2020. Overall, the 37,562 asylum claims lodged up to September is an increase. But in the early 2000s, that figure was over 80,000 . And several European neighbors of the UK are currently handling similar figures: there have been around 80,000 applications so far this year in Germany, 70,000 in France and 60,000 arrivals by boat in Italy.
Intercontinental migration and refugees fleeingwar and persecution are major global issues that require a common international approach, like Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council said this week . What makes this all the more important is that global warming is expected to increase migration, as parts of the world become warmer and harder to live with. The people who risk their lives to reach the south coast of England come from some of the most troubled countries in the world: Eritrea, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen.
They make the trip they take for a reason: because they have relatives or friends in Britain, or historical ties, or speak English (one that reached Kent by boat this week is appears to be an Afghan soldier who worked with British forces). Once in the UK, almost two-thirds of those arriving by small boat are allowed to stay .
It 's the context that the audience needs to understand, and that the experts are now doing their best to explain . There is no doubt that, as Conservative Kent MP Damian Collins said on Thursday, some voters find the boats troubling. A government aware of its responsibilities would seek to allay concerns about local pressures on resources (such as housing) and work with partners to find solutions, to the fow to the immediate challenge of those encamped in miserable conditions at the s and with broader geopolitical causes. This would include stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia, to protect Yemen, and reinstating the part of the UK's global aid budget that was inexcusably cut .
Unfortunately, Mr Johnson and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel, show no willingness to abandon xenophobic rhetoric. Rather than distance themselves from Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh for cruel remarks on the RNLI operating a" taxi service , they prefer to bow to the lowest instincts. The convictions of the traffickers seem toe more and more insane as they are not accompanied by meaningful actions, such as an honest discussion on the safe and legal routes to the UK which would reduce the demand for dangerous passages. Ms Patel's demand for British 'field boots' in France seems designed to ignite. Once again, the Home Office is at the heart of an ugly sight.