AMID images of wailing children, grinning young men and a flotilla of abandoned inflatables, the fight over illegal immigration has reached a promising new dawn . . . or another dead end.
There are two views on the tide of humanity being ferried by criminal gangs to sanctuary on Kent’s crowded shores.
One demands an orderly queue for immigration status which is fair to all.
The other insists everyone who wants to come is welcome.
The clear winners are the 9,000 who have arrived by boat so far this summer escorted by British and French warships, some billeted in 3-star hotels.
Pro-immigration forces have been drafted in to support their case.
The politically active RNLI — the lifeboat charity that spent a fortune on swimming lessons and crèches in Bangladesh while cutting its UK workforce — steamed to the rescue on breakfast TV.
A record tally for the first seven months of 2021 — double the whole of last year — is dwarfed by the number who normally arrive by lorry, Eurostar or easyJet and other airlines in a non-pandemic year.
In just 20 years, the UK population has exploded by around seven million to nearly 70million. According to a study, 90 per cent of this growth was driven by immigration.
Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that the Great British public had had enough of “uncontrolled migration directed by organised crime gangs”.
“They’ve had enough of people being trafficked and sold into modern slavery, of economic migrants pretending to be genuine refugees, of adults pretending to be children to claim asylum,” she told MPs.
“For the first time in decades, we will determine who comes in and out of our country.”
She then unveiled her new Borders Bill to block both illegals and the shadowy mafia gangs who have made a fortune as their travel agents.
Bogus asylum seekers will be sent back, she promised. Criminals will be rounded up and punished.
But how? Syria and Iran won’t have migrants back. The European Union has slammed its doors shut. France may patrol remote French beaches for pre-launch inflatables — at our vast expense — but once launched, those boats might as well be in Britain.
Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott recommends a tactic he used successfully Down Under: Offering unsinkable boats to capsizing migrants with just enough fuel to make it home. The crime gang’s trade dried up overnight.
HOWLS OF FURY
“We could adapt this by towing them into the Atlantic with enough fuel to reach the French coast,” suggests a senior minister, only half joking.
Imagine the furore that would rouse in Islington.
With migrant accommodation bursting at the seams, we cannot even billet newcomers in ex-Army barracks.
They may be fit for our poor bloody infantry but they sparked howls of fury from Labour’s Yvette Cooper.
We cannot limit welfare benefits without protests from human rights lawyers. And the courts won’t let us send the gangsters home.
In truth, ministers are bound hand and foot by UN diktats and the European Convention on Human Rights, introduced after World War Two Nazi atrocities.
Every new law must affirm compliance with ECHR rules. Only one exemption has ever been sought — by Lib Dem Nick Clegg in his futile bid to reform the House of Lords.
Downing Street is in no mood to risk global abuse by quitting the ECHR. Which leaves this hot potato firmly in the hands of Priti Patel.
“If she can’t do it, nobody can,” says a Cabinet ally. Which means nobody can.
On the basis of dismal experience over 30 years, she is doomed — through no fault of her own — to fail.
She is faced not just by hostile charities and human rights lawyers but by her own Home Office mandarins who believe all borders are evil.
And a Prime Minister who is tired of strife.
They are reinforced by a broadcasting media led by the BBC which supports total freedom of movement and sniffs at the notion we might actually want to police who enters our country.
Priti might just as well use the £54million we have donated to France (on top of the £26million last year) to hire some ferries, build comfy hotels — and put up a “welcome” sign on the White Cliffs of Dover.