The Face of Failed Foreign Policy,

Tonight we heard of the tragedy unfolding in the English Channel – an accident waiting to happen some would say, and the English are blaming the French and the French are blaming the English, and they are both right, for they are both to blame.

When I first started sailing, out of sight, of land it was on a very seaworthy boat of 27 feet in length and well equipped, and although I had little experience of blue water sailing, I had over the years, sailed most weekends in coastal waters and had a Yachtsman’s certificate and radio licence. Still, when you are out at sea, even in a well-founded craft, such as this, you feel very tiny indeed and not at all as confident as in the relative safety of coastal waters. I have sailed to France a few times and always found the English Channel, daunting. Knowing what I know, you would have to be pretty desperate to risk your life in an overloaded rubber boat across the English Channel, even if you can on a clear day see the White Cliffs of Dover.

Patel tells us these people are not proper asylum-seeking – migrants escaping a life-threatening situation, in coming to England, they have travelled through half of Europe or across the Baltic countries, so that is where they must stay, these people, she will tell you are in fact ‘Economic Migrants’ (even although many of their immediate family are already settled in England) and is there really any difference anyway? All migrants are looking to better their lives and those of their families; you could say the same about the Irish, or the Scots wishing to move to London to better themselves. Or the retired English that moves to Scotland on their retirement because of free health care.   

The saddest part of this story, flashed across our television screens this evening, is that it was predictable, and the result of British and French foreign policy – colonization, regime change, corporate plunder and wars to back up all of the above.

Yes, the US played a big part in all of this but, they have little to fear, migrants from a land torn by their wars, may be willing to risk, water cannon, pepper spray, even bullets to cross borders into Europe, or a rubber boat to England, but unlikely to try to reach America by the same means.

Nigeria, 1973

Tigray region of Ethiopia, 1984

Mali, 1985

Kuwait 1991

Burundi 1994


Rwanda 1995

…………………………. This is the real face of their, wars against humanity, and their weapon sales to puppet dictatorships that they themselves have installed.

Not some medieval movie, a story from or long-forgotten history – no this is within the last three decades, and we have not even mentioned -the Falkland war, wars across the Middle East, Noth Africa and Afghanistan.

Oh, soldier, soldier,

You frighten me,

In all your bind brutality,

For behind the soldier mask I see,

A man- just like me.

Stay safe.

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