Migrants in the Channel: “pure electoral calculations”, “fury” of France … the British press divided after the tragedy

The tragic accident, which claimed the lives of 27 migrants on Wednesday, November 24, while crossing the Channel to the coasts of the United Kingdom, tears relations between London and Paris, which mutually impute the responsibility for the tragedy. The tension rose a notch on Friday, November 26, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made public a letter to Emmanuel Macron, in which he asked in particular that immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom be returned to France .

Denouncing both the substance and the form of this letter, the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, withdrew the invitation to an international meeting on migrants from his British counterpart, Priti Patel. The event will take place, but in the presence only of the Belgian, German and Dutch ministers, as well as the European Commission.

It is this last information which appeared, Friday, with the “one” of the principal titles of the British press, between a upon “Uninvited Priti Patel” of the center-left daily The Guardian and the “Fury” by Gérald Darmanin on the tabloid website The Sun. The pro-European media The Independent consecrated him, a long article on this subject, relating in particular to the statements of Labor Nick Thomas-Symonds who considers that the publication of Mr Johnson’s letter was “Clearly a huge mistake”.

To understand the context: Article reserved for our subscribers Tension mounts between France and the UK

The progressive press scolds the British government

Part of the British press is very upbeat, calling on the UK government to change its migration policy. The Guardian thus highlighted, Thursday, November 25, a forum signed by the boss of the NGO Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, titled “The terrible deaths in the English Channel show that the United Kingdom needs a more humane asylum policy”. Mr. Solomon accuses in particular the government of Boris Johnson of having “Chosen to speak out and act harshly, taking an uncompromising position” instead of “Show compassion, humanity and understanding”.

In another article, two journalists from Guardian are trying to explain that the situation is ” more complex “ that the British accusations against France of “Not to do enough”. And to estimate that “Politics, security and repression alone will not solve the problem of refugees risking their lives to find asylum in the UK”. Dissertant on the same idea, the centrist newspaper The Economist believes that the accident “Explains how the UK is failing in its management of migrants”.

Read the story: Article reserved for our subscribers After the death of 27 migrants in a shipwreck off Calais, the anger of associations

Above all, “Reducing the number of deaths will require cooperation between the United Kingdom and France”, writes the economic media. “Migrants who reach Britain have the right to seek asylum”, he continues, regretting that “Drownings [aient] highlighted the human cost of what has been discussed so far only in terms of pure electoral calculations ”.

Consequence “of the failure of the French police”

If these media tend to point to British responsibility in the current diplomatic and migration crisis, others, more conservative, side with the government. The Sun – criticized for its sensationalist coverage of the news – relayed Thursday a platform of the Conservative MP Tim Loughton, blaming all the responsibility for the drama on France and its police.

“The sad truth, in my opinion, is that today we need a whole lot of equipment [pour empêcher les migrants d’accoster au Royaume-Uni], because of the failure of the French police to control its coast ”, asserts the deputy, supporting Mr Johnson’s proposal to send British border guards to prevent departures from French beaches.

The media had also created the controversy, Thursday, by publishing to its “one” the photograph of a vehicle of French police officers watching, without acting, migrants launch their makeshift boat. The image was intended to be proof that the French law enforcement agencies do not “All they can” to prevent migrants from sailing to the UK. The Guardian explained that the car in the photo had nevertheless turned around the migrants, as recounted Reuters agency. “A woman with a baby in her arms stood in front of the vehicle screaming. The police car stopped ”, specifies the agency. An information confirmed at Release by the Pas-de-Calais prefecture – where the photo was taken – which explains that the risks associated with “The presence of children (…) brought [les policiers] to reconsider an intervention “.

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Likewise, the curator Daily Mail estimate that Paris acted like a discontented child on Friday excluding London from the meeting scheduled for Sunday. The tabloid uses the idiomatic expression « throw your toys out of the pram » (literally “throw your toys out of the pram”) to qualify the French response to Boris Johnson’s public letter, a document that the newspaper qualifies as “Plan to avoid another tragedy in the Channel”.

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Migrants in the Channel: “pure electoral calculations”, “fury” of France … the British press divided after the tragedy

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