Friday’s events in Paris lead me to flick open my keyboard once more and click on the new WordPress post button, but it’s not about what you expect: I am not going tri-colour on FaceBook or drape myself in the French flag or any other flag for that matter. Today I’m having a good old Sunday morning rant against the stupid kippers that manage to turn yet another human tragedy into a good opportunity to shout: “Regain control of our borders, Brexit now!”
First of all I would like to challenge the myth that Britain has no control over its borders (or boarders as many kippers think it should be spelled). Britain opted out of Schengen as it opted out of the Euro. Britain can control its borders and it does. Trust me!
I have been travelling in and out the UK longer and more often than many, and without fail my biometric EU passport is put in a reading device. Staff on duty will compare my face with the image stored on the chip. No match and you’re refused entry. It happened to a mate who washed his UK passport by accident, rendering it unusable. I am pretty sure this is followed up by an on-line check against a computerized Home Office database containing a constantly updated watch list of people who pose a risk to the UK and should be denied entrance or will be monitored to see who they network with. Intelligence is our best defense, not pulling up the draw bridge, not blocking up the Channel tunnel.
Let’s be honest, these kind of automated database checks are the only sensible way to check the volume of visitors an open modern economy like the UK’s is expected to be able to handle in this day and age. UK Airports and Ferry ports would become a national embarrassment if immigration checks were done by third degree interrogations. What next: Lie detectors? An army of interpretors at every border post? If anything, this Identity and Access Management (IAM) method of border control calls for all of the EU’s similar data bases to be linked with meta directory connectors, or we’d still be pissing in the wind! Again more integration is the answer, not LEAVE.EU
“But..”, the simple kipper interjects: “Not being cynical but an EU passport granted to an ‘alien’ in Greece is a passport without clarity, how can we stop those falling in the hands of terrorists?”
My answer to that question is again one of incredulity: Do Brits really think that Greece, or Germany for that matter, give out blank biometric EU passports to every migrant they check in? And that this allows these people to take a Eurostar into London the very next day?
Now I don’t work in ‘Immigration Services’, but from what I have read as an Identity Management expert, migrants applying for asylum in an EU country get a temporary residence permit from that country at most, while their proper refugee status is assessed. This can take weeks, even months! Try entering Britain with a piece of paper that just confirms your identity and a statement your immigration status is being verified in another EU country? Document forgers would have a field day! All refugee camps in Dunkirk and Calais would be empty overnight, if all that was needed is a piece of paper with an official looking stamp. You think people traffickers would not bolt on that small service on their extortionate fees if it was that simple?
Some Eurosceptic cartoonists portray the news that France is closing its borders with an obscene relish. Personally I think what we have here is more political posturing. So maybe a few Gendarmes are posted at the main motorway border crossings for the next few days. the Schengen agreement allows this anyway as a temporary measure. I don’t think for one moment France or any other Schengen nation has the manpower or appetite to repeat this at every little B-road border crossing. It just makes for good television and reassures the masses. What will come out of this tragedy is that together in the EU we will put more resources into securing the EU’s external borders like the ones with Turkey. You probably won’t read about in British tabloids, certainly not that measures like that benefit Britain more than bulldozing a few hundred migrants’ tents in Calais.
In conclusion I would like to make the point, that making a headline out of the fact that a few ISIS/daesh terrorists might have slipped in, hidden amidst the diaspora of refugees crossing EU borders, is like filling up your front page with the news that “Turkeys do not vote for Christmas after all”. It’s as stupid as ‘Freddy ate my hamster’.
Does that mean we should push back all refugees back into the Mediterranean in their little leaking boats like one ukip tweeter suggested today?
Well, if that’s your solution, use your free movement of EU travel; buy a ticket to Greece and start pushing. My guess: Even the most hardened kipper will start thinking of their own children and grandchildren as they look in the crying faces of those they condemn. Or better still, rewatch a movie about the Dunkirk spirit at the outbreak of WWII and then wipe the tears from your eyes when you realise what people like Nigel Farage have reduced this great nation’s once kind and welcoming spirit to.