Tony Taking Action on Bogus Asylum Seekers

by Brian Risman, Publisher, www thelawjournal co uk - 23 May 2002

In the light of the recent right-wing gains in Europe, Tony Blair has adopted the issue of bogus asylum seekers. The approach is similar to his earlier initiatives with the NHS Health Service, Street Crime -- lots of statements, talk, but at the end of the day, little or no action.

However, this time Tony seems more proactive than his European counterparts. The French Interior Minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, has promised to close the Sangatte camp near Calais, where the internees make nightly runs for freight trains heading to England via the Channel Tunnel. However, Mr. Sarkozy will not give a date for the closing. Isn't that wonderful. The issue is not only worsening relations between London and Paris -- it is also feeding the Le Pen far-right in France, who point to the French indecision as an example of the inability of mainstream parties to deal with the hard issues.

Back to Tony. Tony is calling out the Navy to stop asylum seekers on water; calling out the RAF to fly mass deportees back to their country of origin. Will he do it? Can he do it? We will need to wait and see.

What is more interesting is that Tony is reflecting the UK ability to take action; Mr. Sarkozy is reflecting the European inability on this or any other issue. It is interesting that at the meeting between the Spanish Prime Minister (who heads the EU in this rotation) and Tony Blair, sanctions were proposed against EU countries that did not deal with this problem. Obviously, Tony and the Spanish PM are quite aware of the inability of the EU countries to take concerted initiatives. That is certainly a sad realization.

In any case, we hope Tony Blair does follow through with action on bogus asylum seekers -- if he does, that would be an improvement over the debacles regarding street crime and the NHS.

Brian Risman