France’s right-wing government, whose leader Emmanuel Macron has called for Europe to “protect itself from waves of Afghan immigration”, has opposed Priti Patel’s plans to forcibly turn back migrant boats in the Channel as incompatible with “safeguarding human lives”. The MP for Calais, from the even more right-wing Les Republicains, calls it a violation of human rights “that should not be tolerated in a modern society”.
Of course right-wing French politicians do not want more migrants kept in France. Still, the Tories are putting themselves in the vanguard of European anti-migrant politics.
Border Force staff are being trained to employ “turn-around tactics” to force boats back into French waters. Patel suggests this will also apply to people from Afghanistan.
Not content with this barbarism, some Conservative MPs are calling for the Home Secretary to break international law and send all migrants arriving illegally by boat straight back to France.
TUC Congress earlier in September discussed nothing of any substance nothing about migrants’ rights. Some decent motions on migrants’ rights, including on the so-called refugee crisis, have been submitted to Labour conference (25-29 September), but it seems likely Keir Starmer’s leadership will try to evade firm commitments. The labour movement must speak up for migrants.