Not really Priti, no

Priti Patel looked at idea of sending asylum seekers to South Atlantic
Home secretary asked officials to see if applicants could be processed on isolated St Helena

Not got the transport links, d’ye see?

32 thoughts on “Not really Priti, no”

  1. Surely St. Kilda is a bit nearer and empty of humans (apart from a few resident scientists / twitchers)

    Just shove up a few Nisan huts and let the buggers wait while their applications are processed. Alternately they can bugger off home. Not France though, they’ll just try their luck again and vanish into the “community”.

  2. If Priti Useless wanted to send asylum seekers to a suitable place pending their asylum applications, there is a certain location I know from experience which would fit that Bill and is not that far. Rather than house them in military accommodation on the edge of a large town in Kent, or a Welsh village which has less residents than would be housed in the barracks, why didn’t she send them to Okehampton Camp? It would afford all the benefits that the asylum seekers are looking for, such as wonderful views of the Devon countryside, the opportunity for peaceful, quiet contemplation, and plenty of fresh air. How could they complain?

  3. Mr Ecks,

    “Send her there. Another Tory “Star” shown up as useless.”

    They’re pretty much all useless. Parliament should be made up of intelligent people over the age of 45 with decades of experience in management or specialisms. Other than the odd barrister who becomes attorney general, none of them have that.

    All you can really hope for is someone who is fairly useless but at least on your side.

  4. What’s the underlying logic behind using a remote island? Are they liable to escape from UK-based holding centres? Will they get a worse calibre of lawyer if the only lawyers they can get are ones prepared to shuttle off to St Helena every other week? Will they become so demoralised that they actively request to be returned to Crapholeistan? Will the mere threat of having to spend six months in St Helena – as opposed to six months in wet Wales – actually be a deterrent? A bit of all of the above? What lessons can we draw from Australia’s experience?

  5. Not got the transport links

    Perhaps the coastguard could tow the dinghies into the North Atlantic and just point towards St Helena and say “It’s that way. Start paddling”.

  6. This something I’ve never understood. It’s not as if this problem with immigrants trying to get over from France is recent. When I was first in the process in conducting my escape from the UK in ’07, the Calais are was already becoming a squatters camp for Middle-Easterners. And I do know that part of the Kentish coast fairly well. It’s not all prime agricultural land. The answer was obvious, then. Buy a piece of ground. You wouldn’t need very much. Size of a small housing estate. Might not even need to buy it. The military still have odd bits on the books. Put up some prefab dormitory blocks. Fence it with 20ft high razor wire. One well guarded entrance but no exit. You enter the country without permission, that’s where you go & where you stay. The problem the French side would disappear because there’d be no incentive to try & get across.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    What’s the underlying logic behind using a remote island?

    The advantage is that they are not eligible for Legal Aid and the UN’s standards apply, not the domestic court system. It is said that every refugee took 10 years to remove and cost the tax payers million dollars through appeals.

    You just need an island where British law does not apply.

  8. How about hiring some (currently unused) cruise ships and using them as accommodation hulks? Better yet they can be transferred straight to without stepping foot on UK soil.

  9. SMFS said

    You just need an island where British law does not apply.

    Couldn’t you just declare that land that the camp is built on is not part of the UK. I seem to recall the Aussies declared several islands to be outside of Australian territory when they implemented their Pacific plan.

  10. gunker September 30, 2020 at 10:32 am – “Couldn’t you just declare that land that the camp is built on is not part of the UK.”

    I would fully support declaring the two main islands of the UK being outside the jurisdiction of British courts.

    The “Supreme” “Court” might not agree

  11. @TMB:

    Gruinard is too damn close. Swimming distance. It’s probably safe if you don’t disturb the soil in case that’s what you were thinking.

    How about Rockall?

  12. “What lessons can we draw from Australia’s experience?”
    Answer: don’t let them set foot on British territory. Give them the opportunity to claim asylum in some remote poverty stricken island nation instead, if asylum is actually what they want.

  13. “You just need an island where British law does not apply.”

    If the migrant dinghy goes straight from French waters to British ones, without ever passing through international waters, can we legally pluck them out of British waters and transfer them to a third-party island?

  14. @ Arthur Teacake

    They would need some mattocks and hoes and a supply of seed to grow stuff and not being great swimmers and unused to the cold water, I’m sure they could make Gruinard an earthly paradise (virgins not included).

  15. Andrew M September 30, 2020 at 11:49 am – “can we legally pluck them out of British waters and transfer them to a third-party island?”

    Well yes. International law says refugees cannot shop around for asylum. They must apply in the first country they come to. If they are coming from France they are not refugees.

    But the Courts do not give a damn what the law says.

  16. @SMFS

    “International law says refugees cannot shop around for asylum. They must apply in the first country they come to.”

    It doesn’t say this, which is part of the issue here, and indeed one of the reasons why Andrew M’s point is important.

    No source I cite will be accepted by you, clearly, but this is something there’s not actually any serious legal dispute on. Have a look at for example.

    What you’re probably thinking of is but that’s a separate issue (anyone knows what is going to happen to this, post-Brexit?).

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    MyBurningEars September 30, 2020 at 1:41 pm – “It doesn’t say this, which is part of the issue here, and indeed one of the reasons why Andrew M’s point is important.”

    Actually it does say that. As your source more or less admits. The Convention says that an asylum seeker must travel directly to the country where he applies and he must apply immediately.

    Gradually over time lawyers and judges who clearly think not enough White girls are being raped have pushed the plain meaning of that. It is not the Convention that says “asylum seekers” can stop over in France as long as they like. It has been lawyers arguing in front of judges that have expanded the meaning of the Convention. It is not the Convention that says France is not safe. It is judges.

    So I suppose you can claim the US Constitution contains the right to birth control if a judge says so. But anyone reading it can see it does not.

    Asylum seeking does not work to Britain’s advantage. It not only needs to be abolished. It needs to be undone.

  18. @SMFS

    The Convention does not state that “an asylum seeker must travel directly to the country where he applies and he must apply immediately”, you’re misquoting. In fact the linked article makes it perfectly clear that this is not the case. Moreover, that would obviously be silly, it would mean e.g. an Iranian refugee who legally books a flight to France and then a second flight to Canada would be disallowed from applying for asylum there, despite their journey and arrival being legal. Nowhere in the Convention are potential refugees put under any obligation or duty of direct travel and immediate application. Rather, those who do these things get some additional protections, via Article 31:

    The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.

    In other words, a potential refugee who follows those steps must not be penalised for illegal entry to the country. Nothing requires countries to penalise or disallow asylum seekers who breach those conditions, and they can certainly choose not to do so, they’re just not allowed to penalise for illegal entry those who do abide by the conditions. This is a massive difference from international law actively requiring direct travel and immediate application as a precondition for claiming asylum, and one you are perfectly intelligent enough to comprehend.

    Where you’re a bit warmer is on the issue of English judges and case law. While the Convention does not require asylum seekers to “travel directly to the country where he applies and apply immediately”, it does implicitly leave it open to countries, if they so choose, to penalise the asylum applications of those who enter illegally, unless they have travelled directly and applied immediately. In principle, this gives the UK some leeway with respect to illegal entrants via France, but in practice UK courts have decided – quoting R v Uxbridge Magistrates Court (ex parte Adimi) – “that some element of choice is indeed open to refugees as to where they may properly claim asylum”. This is where governments potentially have a bit more room to manoeuvre according to international law, as the Dublin Regulation shows, but given the history of domestic case law it looks to me like they need to pass some legislation in order to take advantage of it.

    There’s some discussion of this from a pro-free movement point of view at which as far as I can see is legally well-informed (written by a practising immigration barrister) but obviously has biases in terms of perspective and what the author thinks is a desirable outcome.

  19. MBE: e.g. an Iranian refugee who legally books a flight to France and then a second flight to Canada would be disallowed from applying for asylum there, despite their journey and arrival being legal.

    Where is your Iranian taking his first flight from? If he is legally booking and taking a flight from Iran, he doesn’t sound like much of a refugee. If his luggage is booked through on a connecting flight then your man would understandably want to claim asylum in the same country as his luggage because nobody wants to make a new life in one country if their socks are in another.

    Of course you might argue that someone who can hop on a plane in all tranquility is an asylum seeker who has cleverly outsmarted the secret police and so might be a valuable intelligence asset.

  20. @TMB

    The standards for persecution that are required to come under the protection afforded by the Convention are clearly not such that the only people who count as “refugees” are those with no legal means to leave the country. Plenty of Jewish refugees from the Russian pogroms and then from the earlier years of the Nazis – the kind of people the Convention-writers would have had squarely in mind – got out by sea with tickets for their place on a ship (that era’s equivalent of a flight ticket), without having to flee as stowaways or whatever.

  21. They’re not asylum seekers. They are young men on the make (as would I be, were I in their shoes), sometimes using children as shields.

    We all know this, through the application of mature adult judgment, as distinct from the indulgence of bloodless, prostrate casuistry.

    But even if they are asylum seekers, we’re full-up.

    And even if we are not full-up, we’ve done more than any other civilisation in history to swallow our genetic and cultural gag reflexes in favour of the world’s benighted.

    We are entitled to secure our borders. Let someone else do the charity work for a few decades, and then let’s see what’s what.

  22. MBE – but you were talking about an Iranian on a plane, not a time machine so your initial example remains unconvincing.

    I don’t dispute that genuine refugees and asylum seekers have existed and will continue to exist in fits and starts. Indeed, old mother Bison was one such for whom Berlin became too hot in late summer 1939 and who got out in the nick of time.

    However, the tide of humanity on the move over the past years simply doesn’t square with the genuine threats that people face.

    This traffic is spurred on by the conviction of finding a shangri-la in a country which has sadly forgotten the need to defend its borders, its culture and a way of life.

  23. There’s a difference between people booking a flight to the US and claiming asylum/refugee status when they arrive and the migrant caravans heading for the US southern border.
    Conflating the 2 groups doesn’t help and if the law as such doesn’t allow dealing with them differently then as Trump has shown the countries being targeted will take action on their own, which usually means a worse outcome for all as it tends to be a pendulum swing not a settled renegotiation of existing rules

  24. Woo Hoo, my idea gaining traction

    “Strategic border management adviser Henry Bolton (failed UKIP leader) has accused the Home Office of “incompetency” after Priti Patel reportedly ordered officials to explore plans for building an asylum processing centre on a remote volcanic island in the south Atlantic.”

    Wrong island, peeps live on St. Helena. I said South Georgia on cargo boat and a Green, self-sufficient life with Prince Harry of Woke in charge as Governor

    Parliament petition rejected : (

    Let’s have Draw Mohammed Day and see how compatible islam is

  25. Not got the transport links, d’ye see?

    Well, I dunno. Christmas Island is 1500kms from the Australian coast and about half the size of St Helena, and it wasn’t exactly a hotbed of world commerce when we started the detention centre there. It did have the advantage of being a lot closer to where the asylum seekers/boat people/illegal immigrants (choose your own label) were mostly coming from in the first place. But there doesn’t need to be a lot of transport between the selected island and the country running it. The whole point is to keep them out of legal system, so there don’t need to be lawyers shuttling back and forth. Just immigration officials.

    Yes, I know the disadvantages, far further to transport detained boat people there in the first place, haven’t got the luxury of a wide stretch of international waters to intercept them in, expense of maintaining a large facility in a far flung place. On the other hand, much less coastline to guard in the first place, kind of balances out.

    Lessons from the Australian experience though pretty much boil down to political will. The technical stuff can all be worked out. Any government that decides to start offshore processing immediately finds itself in a political shitstorm though, and not many politicians are willing to hold the line*. Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is pretty good. I’ll stipulate that the mental health issues with being in limbo for years can’t have been great. But the stories describing intentional abuse, deliberate sinking of boats, etc were endemic for a while (it was usually the boat people themselves who disabled/sank the boats as soon as they reached international waters in order to get picked up and ferried to Christmas Island. For a while there we were running a bloody taxi service). I couldn’t pick up the paper in the 2000s without reading a condemnation from local human rights groups about Australia ‘the international pariah’. I can’t see Boris putting up with that.

    * There was an interregnum in our experience when Labor were in charge from 2007 to 2013, they relaxed the rules considerably on ”compassionate grounds’ and attracted 50,000 boat people (from almost none), approximately 1200 deaths at sea. The point is, that as always, incentives matter. Hold out the carrot that there’s a possibility of making it and people will try.

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