Calais situation / Refugees, Syria and something else?


HiFi made a comment about it in another thread and it reminded me that I don’t understand the situation either. Why are they all hell-bent on getting out of France, which is a prosperous EU country, and going to the UK? It’s driving them to do such dangerous things that some of them get killed in the process, so clearly this is a matter of life and death, but I don’t understand why.

I heard the usually excellent Colm O’Gorman on the radio trying to explain it and he really wasn’t doing a good job of it at all.

Anyone care to shed some light on it?


Indeed some of them have had more than a close shave. Razor no good on this one?


My understanding is that it’s a combination of family connections and language that’s pulling them to Britain. There are plenty of migrants who stay in France (and Italy and Spain and other), but the crowd at Calais really want to get to Britain.

Edit: A couple of other points I read here:*

  • Easier to find work in Britain, whether formal or casual
  • Most of the Calais-based migrants are from former British colonies
  • Higher success rates of asylum applications. France has twice as many migrants as Britain, but 39% of applications in Britain are successful versus 22% in France.
  • No identity cards in Britain, so the police can’t demand to see your ‘papers’

*** Europe1 does appear to think that James Cameron is the British PM, so caveat emptor.**


The official figures put the population of the UK at 64 million, but…

City Eye: Facts on a plate: The UK population is at least 77 million - The Independent, October 2007

Given that that estimate was from 2007, it’s not unlikely that the actual population of the UK is now in excess of 85 million.


it might be true

a growing number of people in the UK can see that the official stats just don’t match the reality of what they see with their own eyes


The greatest threat to Ireland comes from the UK. Ireland needs to very carefully consider the risk of sharing an open border with a country that has such a massive undocumented underclass.


Calais is just one pressure point (albeit an economically sensitive one) in the whole migration issue confronting Europe right now. I heard a commentator on the radio last week saying that the problem is unsolvable because “everyone is right”. Meaning that the migrants are right to feel entitled to “sanctuary” while sovereign governments are right to protect their borders from those wishing to enter illegally. It’s a stalemate and given that Europe doesn’t have a coherent migration policy it’s guaranteed to become even more chaotic (and politically dangerous) into the near future.

One thing that does bring a smile to the face is the fact that Aodhan O’Riordan couldn’t have possibly picked a worse time in which to launch his crusade against “Direct Provision”. If anything, we’re going to need more of it into the future…


Direct provision is a disaster though. However you feel about immigration the fact is that through this system, hundreds and perhaps thousands of Irish children are growing up as second class citizens. It seems like a system designed to create ghettos over generations. Future nightmare potential.


how are you calling them Irish children, and they are not second class citizens


Let’s assume one of these figures (77m or 85m) is correct, where are they all from? Most Europeans will be registered now, so are all of these additional 13 million or 21 million people Asians and Africans or non EU Europeans?
How did they get into Britain? The Channel Tunnel route is precarious and might let five people through per day on average, but that’s still only 1500 per year. There’d have to be 500K tourists overstaying their visas every year since 1989 to get +13 million people.

Using food consumption as a proxy is an interesting idea, but does the assessment take current obesity levels into account?
Adult obesity rates have quadrupled in the UK in the last 25 years.


Migrants have been coming illegally via the ferries for decades. Is the expanded crisis being facilitated by the French and in turn exaggerated by the British to create a strong enough public backlash in both countries to move this crisis up the EU agenda which has been totally dominated by Greece in recent times.


How does that work? Hidden on trucks? Do you think 10 million people could have entered that way?

The recent ‘expanded crisis’ is due to 1500 people storming the Channel tunnel, with one guy getting crushed by a lorry (I think - I was traveling at the time so didn’t get a lot of info).

The French are fed up with the situation because Britain hasn’t been doing anything about it.
Recently the British government has agreed to spend more money on fences, but this isn’t addressing the root of the problem, which is that people want to get into Britain and will risk life and limb to do so. These are the children of Empire who want to return to mother England, but she’s disowned them completely.


A fair point. Food wastage could also be another contributor to distorting the figures. I think I read somewhere that there were other good proxies that pointed at similar figures. I’ll check it out. Maybe something like tooth paste, toilet paper? Any other ideas?


Changes in the earth’s rotational velocity as mass moves north, away from the equator. Angular momentum has to be maintained.


Ok, we’ll get PS200306 to crunch the numbers.

Edit: It doesn’t account for the obesity issue. One or two fat Englanders could easily account for a half dozen Somalians.


That depends on the diet of the fatties.

If they are eating chocolate and banana chips from the tropics, then the two would be equivalent, but if they’re gorging themselves on hamburgers made with Canadian wheat flour and Irish beef from temperate northern latitudes, there would be no net transfer of mass by latitude and the rotational velocity would be unaffected, though such a movement of mass along a parallel could induce an additional precession.

As a final qualification, all of these calculations could easily be thrown off by everybody in China jumping up and down simultaneously.


The article mentions checking the water in relation to drug use, but measuring water consumption over time could be an indicator. Any goods with inelastic individual consumption - toothpaste is a good idea yes, toilet paper, other sanitary goods might be worth looking at. They could also be compared with other countries for which we are fairly confident of the numbers.
Could hospital records give some idea? Does the NHS operate any form of numerical ID system? Undocumented migrants are likely to under-represent themselves at hospitals for minor injuries, but for major injuries they don’t have not much choice.


The Calais situation is one of migration to Europe from the likes of Syria and Eritrea mainly along with the usual migration. Some figures ive seen is about 0.5 million. I’d assume a tiny fraction are trying to get into England, mostly those with english as a language or a love of the former empire.

Surely former minions of the empire deserve free passage??

. I assume most from west Africa stick to France.


There are some figures here and a good overview by Eurostat here. Germany and Sweden had the most applications for asylum last year - almost 50% of EU total.
Calais represents about 3K out of an estimated 175K people so far this year. The total for last year was 626K applications in the EU, of which 25K were to the UK and 1.4K were to Eire. This is up from 431K total applications to the EU in 2013.

Top 10 countries of origin last year in descending order (2013 ranking in brackets): Syria(1), Afghanistan(3), Kosovo(6), Eritrea(8), Serbia(4), Pakistan(5), Iraq(11), Nigeria(9), Russia(2), Albania(10).


why ?

if one EU state opens the flood gates it will effect everyone

a few years ago the Dutch wanted to get rid of a large number of Somalis, lord knows why, such great people :unamused:

so they handed out passports hoping the Somalis would leave for London, well it worked a treat and London became even more vibrant