By Luke Tinsley – Political Editor
Let me cast your mind back to the 24th of November 2021, a tragedy where 27 people drowned attempting to make the crossing to Britain from France. The most significant drowning of migrant people ever, in fact from France to Britain. Yet, there is a sad reality more so than the tragedy of their deaths. Let me emphasise that 27 people dead and the news cycle utilised their deaths as a tool to create further hatred causing a further increase in political tension between the governments of Britain and France.
As 27 people lay dead, some of which remain unidentified today, there was feigned words of regret and sadness but what was most noticeably predominant was more lives would be lost. It was a valid concern but greatly overshadowed by the fact it devolved not about these people who died but that both sides were not doing enough and hence blamed the other. I am unfortunately referring to the likes of Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron. Johnson almost threateningly used the belief that French authorities were not doing enough to prevent these tragedies suggesting to put British boots on the ground. It is a suggestion that can’t help but almost sound like an invasion from the view that the French want to handle matters on French soil by themselves and certainly don’t want a British intervention.
Macron fired back in anger at Johnson’s response to making his demands public on Twitter before receiving the correspondence privately. Again, however, the French interior minister Gerald Darmanin referred to Britain as an ‘el dorado’ rather than feeling any sorrow for, again 27 people did die at the end of the day. Again I would like to refer to the title of my article, the fondness for forgetting; one would think the most significant migrant drowning from Britain to France would make headline news for weeks. But, since late November, the only new articles at all written about these poor people are their bodies being identified and their bodies being placed in coffins for deportation. So many people are dead, and it does not feel like anything has changed. There are no new measures to help these people, just continued passivity from both sides.
It makes me sad. These people died. Instead of focusing on the tragedy and working to prevent this human error from happening again, there feels like little action is taken to solve this crisis. The purpose of this article is thus, while you go about your day today, perhaps drinking a nice refreshing cup of tea or going for a walk in this chilly winter air, you’ll take one moment to think people trying to find a better life are dying or have died. They wished for something better, a haven from the terrible difficulties they faced. Take a moment to consider helping those in distress when you see them because there is a lot wrong in the world right now, and we can only take small steps to try and fix it. I hope you do something good this week.