Convoy to Calais

Mitch Mitchell reports on the convoy that he and others are taking to Calais this weekend with food, clothes and other things that have been donated by people in the UK to show solidarity with the migrants there. 

Some of the food that activists are taking to Calais

Some of the food that activists are taking to Calais

This weekend, I with several others, will be travelling to Calais to distribute food, clothing, books, sanitary products and many other items to the migrants who have been forced to live in what is known as “The Jungle”. We also plan to buy and help install a generator for the camp school in order to try and make conditions a little more bearable. We have been told of places where the migrants spend some of their days and so I’m hoping we will make contact with a few of them.

The police on both sides of the Channel (or “La Manche”) can sometimes be ‘difficult’ and so we are prepared for this. One of our number has discovered that she is being ‘followed’ on Linkdin by a member of the Kent Constabulary.

Yesterday (Thursday) was spent sorting out the logistics of who takes what and spreading the load of heavy items, such as canned food, etc. I think we are now sorted!

The need for this trip goes without saying. The refugees have put their lives at risk, crossed continents, escaped war and conflagration and generally suffered extreme hardship, only to end up in a place that has poor sanitation, will be cold at night, and poor hygiene facilities while governments wring their hands over “what to do”.

British politicians from all parties, tabloid newspapers and broadsheets such as the Telegraph have all used inflammatory language to stoke up fears of an “invasion” which is utter rubbish. We hear of thousands “storming” the ferries and Eurotunnel, to try and get to the UK. The truth is that the figures recorded by French police are related to attempts to breach security – so, one person could try ten times and it is recorded as ten attempts. Even if all those in the camp came to Britain, it is only around 3000 people. This is hardly a ‘flood’ or ‘swarm’ by my definition of those words.

Further, the Tories have recently cut the benefit paid to immigrants with children and it is estimated by charities that there will be many who will not be able to afford to feed either themselves or their children properly, if at all.

And why are they risking all to come to Europe? Well, leaving aside for the moment the history of European colonisation of their countries, recent histories of the West intervening in conflicts in countries such as Iraq and Syria have shown that those interventions have been the main factor in causing further troubles for already beleaguered lands.

So, I am looking forward to this trip – I hope we will be able to add to those who have been already and let the refugees know that not everyone in Britain is against them.

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