Calais Migrants

I've just watched the above video of 'Driving through Calais' and it is 10 times worse than I could have ever imagined. I know that 'some' of these people are true asylum seekers and genuinely need our help, but I can't help but wonder at the blatant arrogance (and the criminality) shown to those from whom they seek help. In the light of recent crimes against females in Germany and Sweden (to name but a mere two countries), I think it is time for 'debate' regarding this 'refugee' crisis. I'd welcome your thoughts on the content of this 'real' film, which incidentally is in Calais, France (this lovely country).

aw thank you Simon from both me and the rest of the socks rock team - Debbie - our founder, Angela Ros and Frances

this is why Joesphine - because they need dry suitable footwear and socks is something anybody can do.

Beacause with conditions in the The Jungle we are getting pleas of help from the medical team there treating trench foot.

I suggest you actually educate yourself to the conditions that the refugees are living in and maybe try and live an hour like it without socks and shoes

I'd also like to add that a lot of the mobile phones are actually donated by like minded people and distributed by my very good friend Sarah and other volunteers up at the camps

Mobile phones are widely owned in Africa particularly sub-saharan Africa. We white folks didn't have the time to build a fixed line telecoms system (too busy robbing the locals). It's a bit rich for people to be described as naive by someone who thought Rachel's pop-up Paris kitchen was real.

Woooooahhhhh - I'm so glad others got to you before I did Josephine Walmesley - I wouldn't have been nearly as polite with my initial response - it's just a shame Helen even has to see your drivel. You see Josie - Helen is someone who gives a damn, she actually does something to alleviate suffering, she understands the 'real' situation and, above all she's compassionate.

As a donor to I find your comments quite frankly vile. So, all I can suggest is that you put down your Daily Mail, turn off Radio 4 (bit crusty), open your ears and eyes and get your purse out! Maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to help make a positive change to someone's life.

The smart-phone isn't a status symbol or for looking at photos of cats.
It's an essential item for a migrant, more useful than a sock.

However, for those wanting confirmation of the "real" motivations of the migrants, see this

Do you have actual figures to substantiate the claim that 'most of the young male economic migrants you pity so much in the Calais camps have mobile phones'? Apart from that, a very large part of the discussion has been about those who are refugees, rather than those purely out to improve what are very likely to be pretty awful lives where they came from.

Josephine - For one, SFN is based around a dinner party ethos not 'Just a Minute' so conversations are actively encouraged to deviate. For two, I'd suggest you read up about the sock campaign. It will prove enlightening.

As for the mobile phone argument, I think this is becoming akin to the old 'mention the Nazis and you've clearly lost' adage!

It certainly smacks of the Victorian idea that there were 'deserving' poor.

I know that my mobile would be about the first thing I grabbed if I was forced to flee. And I'm sure I'm not the only person to think that.

Aside from all the deviation (some of you wouldn't last a second on 'Just a Minute') I have a very simple question for you Helen.... why, for heaven'sake, are you collecting socks when most of the young male economic migrants you pity so much in the Calais camps have mobile phones? Why are some of these do-gooders so naive? Maybe it's another case of virtuous signalling.

Jonathan, it has been made clear to me that not all migrants are fleeing a war zone, many are looking for better work opportunities so have not lost all their possessions. It has also been pointed out that the high proportion of young men have been sent ahead to find a safe haven, in many cases leaving their families behind. Many have mobile phones which, as the phones work abroad, have to be on contract for which a certain amount of paperwork is required including, if all systems are similar, personal ID. Lets not fall into the trap of thinking that the majority of migrants have had their houses bombed or were dodging bullets, managing to flee with nothing. I am sure that many have but it does not apply to all migrants.

I'm also sure that the various security services in allied countries share information collected in many ways - GCHQ is not there to look pretty! It is interesting to hear on news reports following an terrorist attack or a series of police raids that so & so was/was not known to be a sympathiser or a member of a particular faction or was on a "watch" list. None of us knows for sure what information governments have on their citizens or who gets to see it. Certainly we do not know how it is obtained but yes, there is an all knowing database of people, in fact more than one. Our own police can check if a person has any kind of criminal record, from a parking ticket to a murder conviction, or that they have been suspected of committing any crimes. What do MI5 have? How did the americans find Bin Laden? Almost everyone leave a footprint even when they are trying not to.

The rules I mention actually apply to everyone in the world wishing to visit another country, not just the EU. My question is what is the point of having passport checks for some & not others? If one does not have a passport then there is no harm in giving other details. Some newspaper writer claimed that ALL the Calais migrants had university degrees so if they brought those with them I'm sure that would help.

Your last comment is an easy answer. Brits working on the black & claiming UK benefits are criminals in both countries. If you are on sickness benefit but are well enough to travel then travel - there is no rule to prevent that. If they have lied in order to obtain that benefit that is something else.

A short sea voyage is both a powerful cure for disability and the opportunity to gain vocational skills hitherto unknown to the voyager. Travel IDS Lines to new horizons!

I'll let you start that can of worms, if you don't mind!

Excellent Jonathan - well put! As for Brits in France either working on the black or having an illegal residence status - that should be a whole new discussion.......

Croydon has just been judged the friendliest place in London. Must be all that multiculturalism ....

Mark, you're thinking under the impression that future terrorists have some kind of big black mark on their passport or in some clever, all-knowing database of people. Nearly every case of a terror attack in Europe and the US was carried out by a long-term resident, if not citizen, of the country they attacked.

You're also assuming that a migrant who fled Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iraq or Mali is carrying a valid passport which can be used to look him up on the big clever database.
When a bomb drops on your house or the bullets start flying, people don't really think too much about making sure to grab their passport, a bank statement and a recent utility bill. Most of them probably never had a passport.

I'm not accusing you of racism or even having the Daily Mail / Katie Hopkins "not one of us" viewpoints. I am saying that you're trying to apply rules that apply to an EU citizen to a desperate migrant from another continent. You have to try to see the situation from their point of view. Whether they have valid passports or not, whether they are waiting patiently or taking their chances, they are still human beings.

There are Brits working on the black in France who claim disability and sickness benefits in the UK. Should anyone on a sickness benefit be prevented from travelling to France or another EU country?

That is the Berlin Wall alone Mark, the sum total of known people is actually a couple of million from 1969 to 89, often via Finland or across the Baltic, through the more 'open' countries like former Yugoslavia and so on. Bear in mind that between East Germany and Poland, or Ukraine and Poland there were also 'secure' borders that I once asked why they were there? I was told to keep people separated by their nationalities. Oh yeah! Anyway, it happened.

To repeat, if people have not a blemish to their name and obtain a legitimate visa but are terrorists anyway, they are in without let or hindrance. Not much is said about that but it is considered a far greater likelihood than the people reaching Europe by sea or via Turkey at present. The terror organisations are too sophisticated to go for the slower, less reliable methods. However they are relying on hysteria about infiltrators among the migrant mass to cloak how they get people through. That is far more worrying. Databases only contain what is known which is the biggest flaw in the system and is not working perfectly since perfection cannot exist in those terms.

The majority of people entering are doing so illegally, nobody is questioning that. Once they have arrived and if they are without papers of any kind there is no legal process that allows them to be returned 'home' if it is not even possible to ascertain where they come from. Yes, language, names and so on might give it away but proving that is difficult to almost impossible, so they become stateless persons. Then they find ways of setting out for where might be better. Very few target anywhere in particular but are simply gradually moving on step by step in the hope they find somewhere where they can stop and get on with life. A few people smugglers sell the line that the UK is heaven on earth, they know no better and all of their resources are invested in getting there, as is also the case for France, Germany, Belgium and other countries. All of the checks you name are indeed in place but it does not work with what is happening, the points of departure and entry are not fixed positions, so controlling, monitoring, screening, policing and all the rest of it is very porous. It is easy to say we could close down Schengen, but then people would cross fields, rivers, mountains and all the boundaries that have been dismantled. It would take years to reinstall. It has been suggested umpteen times by the likes of Pegida leaders in Germany and one of Farage's 'henchmen' but it is not as easy as imposing controls on the spot. By the time anything significant is done it is far more likely the Middle East will have calmed down and then the next situation will arise.

Proposing checks and controls is easy, putting them in place and implementing them is not. The time and money are not as easily available as you might believe they are.

I'm not privy to the workings of the immigration service but I have flown into Heathrow & had to go through checks there. As a UK passport holder I know that my passport is scanned & would presume that this would trigger a search of various databases. If I have not triggered any alarms I am free to enter. Visitors from outside the EU are checked exactly the same way, perhaps the databases are more thorough or delve more deeply. It does not take long. Heathrow sees a flow of over 80 million of international travellers a year, 40 million in & out, which is just under 110000 people per day entering the UK & they have all been subject to various checks before being allowed in. It is expected & is normal. Nobody objects. Now consider how many points of entry there are to any country. There must be a reason why international travellers are subject to this so why should migrants not be put through the same checks? If migrants are exempt it puts the whole point of passports in the bin. So why do we have them? All countries have a similar checking system at entry points. It cannot be difficult so set up mobile units.

Asking anyone who wishes to enter a country to be subject to checks is not unreasonable neither is it tantamount to slamming the door in their face any more than an american being refused entry because they have a criminal record.

I am pleased that the terrorist threat is a red herring & IS are not sending any through, although I wonder how you can be so sure & I am aware that there are ways of crossing borders undetected, although this is no excuse to make it easy. Between 1961 until its fall just over 40000 people escaped through the Berlin wall, an average of 1485 per year.

I have no wish to restrict help from the genuine needy but I cannot help thinking that the situation is open to exploitation by the few.

Exactly Helen. Plus, the terrorist threat is a red herring. So far we have seen how many here is Europe were either born and are citizens of EU nations or had been here some considerable time and were already permanent residents. Issuing visas, making checks and all the rest of it will make very little difference because applicants will be given entry permission if their record is clean. In some countries that is difficult and on the other hand IS and their like will being selecting people with unblemished records to go through that process. Loopholes are already bigger than preventive measures.

Of the many millions of displaced and stateless people in the world, 22 and 10 million respectively, only the minutest fraction are reaching Calais, indeed if in total a couple of million reach the EU legally or otherwise that is less than 10% of all of them. The rest remain 'somewhere'. Your controls, Mark, would work if borders were impermeable, which they are not. Given a steady stream of used to get out of eastern Europe as it was when there were minefields, high voltage electric fences and either round topped walls or mainly high, double line fences, the present boundaries have little chance. Furthermore, borders have two sides and when a country on one side wants people on their side out they will make sure the borders 'leak'. There is no foolproof way. Anyway, if people who appear to be genuinely in need of help knock at your door, so you slam it closed in their faces? That is the moral dilemma. Logistically it is difficult but not impossible to deal with such numbers, however there has been nothing like time enough to really do very much and therein lies the real problem.

and how and when would all these checks take place? current conditions in the Balkans and Greek Islands make it impossible to do it there so we are working our way through checks here in France