Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Enemy at the Gate?

As you might have noticed, there's a bit of a thing going on at Calais at the moment.

Lots of people (many of them from countries where we've either actively bombed their infrastructure into rubble, or supported dictators who did it for themselves) are quite keen on getting into the UK. Many of them have survived hazardous journeys across the Mediterranean on unsafe, overcrowded vessels having paid people traffickers all their worldly possessions for the privilege.

They now sit by the side of the road, looking for ways to find some sort of egress into the UK, either in the back of a lorry or by walking 30 miles down a tunnel used by 150mph massive hunks of metal that would vapourise them on contact.

We're told by the government and their usual rabble of media acolytes that these folks are trying to get here for two reasons.

1. They want to claim benefits, and/or

2. They want to blow us up

Let's take a look at why both of those statements are absolute piles of bollocks, shall we?

They're only coming here to claim our benefits

So, you're sat in a crumbling house in Syria with bombs and rockets going off all around you, or starving to death in Sudan and you think "where shall I go to escape this hell?"

Obviously the clear solution is to whip out your smartphone, search "benefit rates and qualifying periods in the EU" and make your choice from there, right?

Do people not get how ridiculous that sounds? 

Even if the infrastructure existed for them to be able to make these considered comparisons, are we seriously suggesting that people climb off a boat on the Greek mainland and then in order to get their hands on £60 per week embark on a 3,000 mile overland journey with nothing except what they can carry in their pockets?

On the way, they pass through other countries that have very similar conditions for the receipt of benefits to the UK and indeed plenty who pay at a higher weekly rate. Surely if it was all about the benefits they would stop off in any one of those and make it their home?

They're coming from Islamic State to blow us up

Again, let's examine how logical that statement is.

IS clearly has no trouble getting its hands on money to buy weapons. It is funded in part by rich people from what is an incredibly rich part of the world and centre of its oil production.

It puts time and effort into recruiting and training its soldiers and planning guerrilla military campaigns and acts of terror.

So are we seriously saying that after all that effort, the most effective way it has of getting its operatives into the UK is to try and sneak them onto the back of a lorry at Calais having exposed them to potentially fatal journeys over land and sea to get there?

Terrorist 101 suggests that if you want your operatives to be able to move freely and without suspicion around the world, you either recruit ones that already have the right to live in the place you want to attack or you create false identities to get them into your target country legally, on student visas for example.

What you don't do is stick them in a leaky, overcrowded boat then bank on Barry leaving the back doors of his lorry full of Ginsters pasties open while he nips for a slash. It's ineffective, highly likely to be unsuccessful and basically plain bonkers.

Alright smart arse, why are they coming here then?

You want to know why? Simple really, it's because they like us and have heard good things about us.

They know we're a country which has a history of being racially tolerant. One where if you are prepared to knuckle down and work hard, there's a fairly decent chance you can make a reasonable life for yourself. One where the fact you're the wrong religion won't get you kidnapped, tortured and killed by your theological or political opponents.

In short, they like the image Britain has created for itself in large parts of the world as being a capital for enterprise, fairness and opportunity.

It's just a shame that so many politicians and media outlets are determined to ruin that image, by acting exactly the opposite in order to distract the indigenous population from the damage they are doing to it.

So next time you see a refugee camp at Calais, or a boat bobbing in the Mediterranean full of men, women and children that your government is quite happy to let drown, have a think about whether you would be prepared to put yourself through that for the promise of an extra £60 a week rather than barking to the dog whistle.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Dead Politician Sketch

Scene: The interior of a pet shop. The shopkeeper is waiting behind the counter, as the door opens and the bell rings.

SK: Ah, Comrade Corbyn. Good to see you again. What can we do for you?

JC: I wish to complain about the politician I bought from this here establishment not hours ago.

*puts cage on counter*

SK: Oh yes. The Burnham. Lovely plumage, changes to suit the political climate. What's wrong with him

JC: I'll tell you what's wrong with him my lad. It repeats everything I say, that's what.

SK: No it doesn't!

JC: Yes it does!

AB: Yes it does!

JC: See!!

SK: That wasn't repetition, it can't have been. Look, he's resting.

JC: Resting? Resting? If I hadn't covered it in manifesto commitments it would be pushing up the deficit right now

AB: Up the deficit! Up the deficit!

JC: There! It did it again!

SK: No, that was me. It couldn't have been the Burnham because it's...err....dead. That's it, dead. 

JC: Dead?

SK: Yep. Dead. If he wasn't laying on his back you would be able to see the stab wounds. He's a stiff. Bereft of votes. Giving a speech to the conference invisible. Climbed up the party hierarchy and gone to meet his backers.

JC: Well if he's dead, I want a replacement

SK: Sorry chief. We don't have any more in stock. I could do you a Cooper or a Kendall

JC: What's the difference between them and a Burnham

SK: To be honest with you mate, fuck all.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Tube Strike Blues - with apologies to W H Auden

Stop all the trains, close off the underground
Prevent the customers from queueing, clutching their hard-earned pound
Silence the tannoys and with muffled moan
Turn out the public, have them find their own way home

Let the traffic copters hover, whirring overhead
Clog the streets with buses, a stationary sea of red
Put hi-vis jackets on the staff manning all the doors
Hire out a Boris bike, without reading every clause

Clapham North, East Ham, South Ealing, Acton West
My morning rush and bus replacement day of rest
My late nights, my weekends, my never having to wait long
I thought the Tube was here forever: I was wrong

Departure boards are not wanted now, put out every one
Ascend to the surface, step out into the sun
Mop away the urine, sweep up all the litter
For all you'll hear tomorrow is Londoners being bitter