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What Migrant Crisis?

Summary:
Marsham Street “I’m so glad you were able to accompany me to my new ministry, Humphrey.” “My pleasure, Minister.” “You know, Humphrey, I’ve come to regard your advice as positively Socratic; Platonic dialogues and all that.” “You are too kind, Minister, but that is beyond me.  The civil service has long since ceased recruiting people who know about such things.” “Yes indeed, back to business.  Quite a conundrum: these migrant chappies crossing the channel.” “More than 23,000 such migrants have arrived already this year compared with 8,500 in the whole of last year and your predecessor was panicking, sorry, expressing mild concern, then.” “Why do these people want to leave La Belle France anyway?  My wife and I often motored around there in the summer.  Picnic lunches bought in their

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Marsham Street 

“I’m so glad you were able to accompany me to my new ministry, Humphrey.” 

“My pleasure, Minister.” 

“You know, Humphrey, I’ve come to regard your advice as positively Socratic; Platonic dialogues and all that.” 

“You are too kind, Minister, but that is beyond me.  The civil service has long since ceased recruiting people who know about such things.” 

“Yes indeed, back to business.  Quite a conundrum: these migrant chappies crossing the channel.” 

More than 23,000 such migrants have arrived already this year compared with 8,500 in the whole of last year and your predecessor was panicking, sorry, expressing mild concern, then.” 

“Why do these people want to leave La Belle France anyway?  My wife and I often motored around there in the summer.  Picnic lunches bought in their charming covered markets and the Michelin star dinners are absolutely cracking.  The weather is better too.” 

“If I may say so, Minister, the camps in the Pas de Calais do not receive many Michelin stars.” 

“Then they should nick a few bicycles.  I believe there are over 270,000 job vacancies in France.” 

“That may be so, but they don’t speak French and they would need identity cards, proofs of right to work and bank accounts, just for a start.  And, as the French point out, they really, really want to come to Britain.  They say the UK’s ‘pull factor’ is caused by us and it’s up to us to eliminate it.” 

“The fact remains, Humphrey.  That we coughed up another £55M in July to stop the crossings and they have just gone up.  The French police simply watch.”

“True but the French say they have spent €217M and prevented 60% of attempted crossings.” 

“Passez-moi un morceau de sel.  After they watch them on the beach, they have to fish them out of the water when they launch because, according to your newspaper,  ‘any attempt to stop the dinghies [is] too dangerous because of the risk of panic or sudden movements that could capsize the vessels.’  So if we push them back to French waters, they would have to rescue them?” 

“Unfortunately, Minister, Channel Rescue, an organisation founded last year to ensure the safety of migrants, has brought a legal action against our home secretary claiming that pushing back is ‘life-threatening, inhumane and unlawful’.” 

“As I see it, Humphrey, Monsieur Micron is easily offended.  He regards any offer of help as patronising.” 

“Unfortunately, M. Macron shares with our own beloved leader a remarkable capacity for over-looking inconvenient facts.  Mr Johnson says the Northern Irish Protocol should be disregarded because he never really meant it and M. Macron says exactly the same about Frenchmen fishing in UK home waters.” 

“Two tits for two tats, you might say.” 

“I certainly would not, Minister.” 

“What are we going to do with all these rubber boats we must have collected?” 

“I hoped you would ask me that, Minister.  It may be time soon to share our plan.  We should agree with the French to make the manufacture, sale or distribution of these boats illegal from any source other than the sole French nominated supplier and labelled ‘Pas pour Hauts-de-France’.  We give boats to the French government for free and they get the profits.” 

“Jolly good that, Humphrey.  And we can send loads of loyal Tory voters over to stick knives into any rubber boats they find on the beaches of the Pas-de-Calais.” 

“Except fishing boats, of course, Minister.” 

“We don’t have to worry about them, Humphrey.  They’ll all be fishing in the Channel Islands.  Talking of islands, why don’t we do as the Australians do.” 

“That does have merits, Minister.  Anyone who the UN certifies as a genuine refugee is ‘authorised’, i.e. gets a visa to enter the country and has his or her right to remain accessed there.  According to the Australian government ‘Anyone who attempts an unauthorised boat voyage to Australia will be turned back to their point of departure, returned to their home country or transferred to another country’.  In practice, they don’t want to go back and other countries won’t have them, so they are dumped in a so-called processing centre on the island of Nauru.  Once the word got around the migrant community, they stopped going to Australia.”  

“It’s got to be legal, Humphrey, if the Australians have been doing it for eight years without trouble.  All we need is a processing centre on a remote island like St Helena, Macron would like that, or Ootsta.” 

“Ootsta?” 

“Humphrey, really!  Every school-boy knows Ootsta, or Out Stack.  It’s the northernmost place in the UK, an island 260 miles north of Aberdeen.  There’s no land between Ootsta and the North Pole.  Ideal migrant processing centre.  It would give those from hot countries the opportunity to cool their ardour and the locals wouldn’t complain, ‘cos there aren’t any.” 

“Minister, I fear I need to advise you of another point of view.  The number of boat people really is not that great in the scheme of things.  Many of them are useful trained people, doctors, nurses, fruit and vegetable pickers and lorry drivers.  Just the people we need.  We are, these days, critically short staffed in many areas.” 

“That’s only because, according to the Governor of the Bank of England, the PM is, according to some, Dagenham and has added up to another 300,000 to the public payroll.” 

“Dagenham?” 

“It’s five minutes beyond Barking.  Yes, there would be useful people along with terrorists, scroungers and lay-abouts.  Only the other day, I heard a boat migrant who has become a dentist on the Today programme.  Clearly he’s filling a gap.  Our department does not, Humphrey, have a great record in sifting the wheat from the riff-raff.  We had boatloads of people from Jamaica 60 years ago and we still don’t know who should be here and who shouldn’t.” 

“Minister, you are missing, if I may say so, the subtlety of my point.  At the moment, everyone is blaming the Home Office for not dealing with this so-called migrant crisis.  What I’m suggesting is that we give all the arrivals, except the obvious undesirables, identity cards and work permits.  Between them, they would have to look after the children that came with them.  Then we would transfer them to the Department of Work and Pensions as it would then become their problem, not ours.  With the DWP in charge, what could possibly go wrong?” 

“Congratulations, Humphrey.  You’ve cracked it.”

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Tim Ambler
Tim Ambler (born 1937) is a British organizational theorist, author and academic on the field of Marketing effectiveness. Ambler featured on Marketing's list of the 100 most powerful figures in the industry. He is cited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of the top 50 marketing experts in the world

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