• Le rail privé britannique, ce mort-vivant… Michaël Verbauwhede

    Trains hors de prix, en retard, souvent annulés : même le gouvernement de Boris Johnson doit reconnaître que la privatisation du rail anglais est un échec. Mais plutôt que de le renationaliser comme le demandent deux tiers des Britanniques, il a décidé de relooker la privatisation du rail. Explications.

    En 1994, la Royaume-Uni privatisait l’ensemble de son chemin de fer. Transport de passagers, vente de tickets, entretien des voies… tout allait mieux rouler avec le privé : moins de retards, plus de services, des tickets moins chers.


    Deux tiers des Britanniques demandent la renationalisation du rail anglais. (Photo : We own it)

    Mais très vite, le rail anglais dépérit : de nombreux accidents ont eu lieu, dont le terrible accident de Hatfield (4 morts) dus à un mauvais entretien des voies. Le service se dégrade et les tarifs sont de plus en plus chers. Les Britanniques dépensent en moyenne 14 % de leur salaire mensuel pour faire la navette https://www.latribune.fr/economie/union-europeenne/au-royaume-uni-la-privatisation-des-chemins-de-fer-deraille-628489.html , contre 2 % en France par exemple. Un jeune YouTubeur fait ainsi le calcul qu’il lui revient moins cher de faire le trajet de Sheffield (nord de l’Angleterre) à Essex (est de Londres) en passant par Berlin en avion, plutôt que de prendre le train. https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/teenager-flies-from-sheffield-to-essex-via-berlin-because-it-is-cheap

    Enfin, les conditions de travail se dégradent, comme en témoigne le splendide film de Ken Loach, The Navigators

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Gzdrqd4uQE


    The Navigators|2002| VOSTFR ~ WebRip

    Les opérateurs privés en ont par contre tiré des profits importants. Le syndicat anglais TUC a ainsi calculé que les actionnaires des compagnies privées avaient reçu un milliard de livres (environ 1,16 milliards d’euros) en dividendes entre 2013 et 2018.

    La privatisation du rail au Royaume-Uni en 1994 est donc un échec. Suite aux accidents à répétition, le gouvernement britannique avait déjà renationalisé la gestion de l’infrastructure en 2002, en créant Network Rail.

    Même la droite reconnait l’échec
    Mais les retards, les tarifs élevés et la mauvaise qualité du service n’ont pas arrêté pour autant. Les syndicats et voyageurs ont continué à dénoncer l’échec de la privatisation et à réclamer une renationalisation. Deux tiers de la population soutient cette reprise de contrôle public. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rail-chaos-denationalisation-chris-grayling-labour-two-thirds-bmg-res Sous la direction de Corbyn, le Labour avait également fait campagne en ce sens.

    L’échec du système est visible par tous. Sous pression, de l’opinion publique et des syndicats, le gouvernement de Boris Johnson a été obligé de le reconnaître, dans un rapport qui vient de sortir. Il met donc fin au système tant décrié des franchises. Ce système donnait l’exclusivité à une compagnie privée de faire rouler des trains sur une région ou des lignes bien déterminées. Sur cette franchise, la compagnie fixait les tarifs qu’elle souhaitait.

    Même morte, la privatisation du rail britannique vit encore...
    Dorénavant, une structure ferroviaire nationale unique (Great British Railways) est rétablie, avec un seul système de billetterie. Mais le gouvernement n’en tire pas toutes les conclusions. Car les compagnies privées restent toujours impliquées pour la circulation des trains, par des délégations de services (le public fixe les horaires et tarifs et le privé exploite les trains).

    Le communiqué du gouvernement est assez clair à ce sujet : « ce n’est pas une renationalisation (…) mais une simplification. Si Great British Railways joue le rôle d’âme dirigeante pour coordonner l’ensemble du réseau, notre plan prévoit une plus grande participation du secteur privé ». Et de citer les façons dont le privé pourra s’impliquer dans le transport ferroviaire : faire circuler les trains, innover dans la vente de billets…

    Le gouvernement continue donc à financer les profits du privé avec de l’argent public et celui des voyageurs. Il reste dans une logique de marché. Le groupe d’action We own it, qui se bat pour la renationalisation de toute une série de services publics, estime que cette décision n’est qu’une « privatisation relookée ». Les syndicats soupçonnent qu’il y aura encore des coupes budgétaires et que les profits continueront à aller au privé. https://www.rfi.fr/fr/europe/20210520-royaume-uni-le-gouvernement-d%C3%A9voile-sa-r%C3%A9forme-du-rail

    L’Écosse montre qu’un autre modèle est possible
    Le débat sur la renationalisation du rail au Royaume-Uni fait rage depuis des années. Sous pression, l’Écosse et le Pays de Galle avaient été beaucoup plus loin. L’Écosse a ainsi décidé de renationaliser l’entièreté de son rail en mars 2021, car l’opérateur privé (Abellio filiale de la NS néérlandaise) n’atteignait pas ses objectifs. Fini le privé (contrairement au plan du gouvernement de Boris Johnson), c’est une entreprise publique qui fera désormais rouler les trains en Écosse. Cette entreprise conservera l’ensemble du personnel. Les syndicats et organisations de gauche attendent beaucoup de cette véritable renationalisation écossaise.

    La lutte pour la renationalisation du rail en Angleterre n’est donc pas terminée. Mais cette nouvelle tentative de la droite pour maintenir coûte que coûte la privatisation du rail britannique montre qu’elle est sur la défensive. Elle a du reconnaître que la privatisation des années ‘90 était un échec. Et les syndicats, voyageurs et mouvement de gauche ont déjà annoncé la couleur : ils continueront à se battre pour reconstruire un rail public.

    Source : https://www.solidaire.org/articles/le-rail-prive-britannique-ce-mort-vivant

    #royaume-uni #trains #banlieue #privatisation #Network_Rail #boris_johnson #Great_British_Railway #délégations_de_services #Écosse

  • #Coronavirus : Scientists call for action after 50-fold rise in infections in schools | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/independent-sage-coronavirus-infection-schools-b1762906.html

    En #Angleterre multiplication par 50 des infections dans les #écoles ; les #enfants/adolescents de 11 à 16 ans sont désormais le groupe d’âge avec les niveaux d’infection les plus élevés.

    Professor Stephen Reicher of the University of St Andrews, of Independent Sage, said: “In the summer, the government effectively abandoned schools, requiring them to be safe but without providing the support or the resources to make this possible.

    “As a result, far too many of our children are left in crowded, badly ventilated classrooms; infections have increased 50-fold since September; one in five students are off school; and all this is now putting the whole community at risk.

    “The government must acknowledge its error and change direction. We must act urgently to make schools safe.”

    #sars-cov2 #covid-19

  • #Priti_Patel derided over #Royal_Navy threat towards France as Home Office’s approach to migrants is questioned

    Priti Patel’s threat to send the Royal Navy into the English Channel has been derided and her department’s border policy questioned on Twitter.

    The home secretary’s threats come after suggestions a record number of migrants crossed the Channel on Thursday.

    The BBC reports up to 235 migrants made the perilous journey across Britain’s maritime border with France, bringing the total of arrivals since January at nearly 3,900 people.

    https://twitter.com/Otto_English/status/1291633665475334145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

    According to a Home Office source in the Daily Mail, Patel has accused France’s border force of deliberately allowing migrants to make the crossing and has now threatened to deploy the Royal Navy to tow any new arrivals back to France.

    The move could be illegal under international maritime law and risks alienating the French government, who has partnered with the Home Office to stem the flow of crossings.

    Patel has said the Navy may be used to deploy floating “booms” to block the way for migrant dinghies or stop boats by clogging their propellers with nets.

    A government source acknowledged these were “all [the] options that are being considered”. The source added: “She [Patel] has instructed her officials to speak to the Ministry of Defence about how we can proceed. She has also requested a discussion with the French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.”

    People vented their frustration with the approach on Twitter, while others questioned the effectiveness.

    Otto English wrote: “When Priti Patel says she ‘wants to send in the Navy’ to stop Channel migrant crossings - what’s her intention? Are warships going to fire shells at kids in rubber dinghies? Is a destroyer going to run them over? What are they going to do that the Border Force isn’t?”

    Rae Richardson called it a load of “meaningless posturing”. “It’s just a load of meaningless posturing to make the government seem effective. (Good luck with that!),” he wrote.

    “The Royal Navy have no authority in French waters so they can’t escort any boats out of UK waters, i.e. they can only do what Border Force are already doing.”

    Michael Moran said: “Sending a gunboat is a tried and trusted method of making things worse.”

    In October, Patel made a pledge to eliminate crossings by spring and negotiated a deal with French authorities.

    The news comes as footage of migrants arriving on the Kent coastline on Thursday surfaced on social media.

    The boat carrying the asylum seekers had ten young children and a heavily pregnant woman, among others, on board.

    In the footage, the woman is seen holding her head in her hands and appears weary while one of the children lays exhausted on the pebbled beach with his arms spread out.

    The Daily Mail suggested the total number of asylum seekers reaching Britain this year is double that from 2019. It failed to provide an explanation for the spike.

    https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/priti-patel-mocked-on-twitter-over-daily-mail-royal-navy-threat-1-

    #UK #Angleterre #France #frontières #Manche #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #Calais #armée
    ping @isskein

    • ‘Inappropriate and disproportionate’: Priti Patel suggestion to use navy to combat migrant crossings attacked by MoD

      Priti Patel is discussing using the royal navy to tackle the number of migrants crossing the Channel, prompting accusations from Ministry of Defence sources that the idea is “inappropriate and disproportionate”.

      While facing increasing pressure from MPs on her own back benches, the home secretary also called on France to help prevent people coming to the UK’s shores.

      At least 235 people arrived on small boats on Thursday – a new high for a single day.

      The Home Office is yet to provide a full breakdown of the crossings, meaning the total number could be higher still.

      The home secretary is understood to be keen to know what royal navy vessels and other assets could be deployed.

      It is thought they would be expected to stop boats and send them back to France.

      But a Ministry of Defence source told the PA news agency the idea of using the navy was “completely potty” and could put lives at risk.

      “It is a completely inappropriate and disproportionate approach to take,” they said.

      “We don’t resort to deploying armed force to deal with political failings.

      “It’s beyond absurd to think that we should be deploying multimillion-pound ships and elite soldiers to deal with desperate people barely staying afloat on rubber dinghies in the Channel.

      “It could potentially put people’s lives at even greater risk.

      “Border Force is effectively the Home Office’s own navy fleet, so it begs the question: what are they doing?”

      Ms Patel is facing increasing calls, including from Tory MPs, to deal with the issue.

      The Commons Home Affairs Committee has announced that it has launched an investigation into the crossings.

      Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP and chair of the Commons Defence Committee, backed the use of navy patrols.

      Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, also backed the use of the royal navy, saying: “All options need to be on the table.”
      Immigration minister Chris Philp said he shares “the anger and frustration of the public” at the “appalling number” of crossings.

      Mr Philp is to visit France next week to speak with counterparts following what is understood to have been a “constructive” meeting with the country’s deputy ambassador earlier this week.

      Earlier Ms Patel appeared to call on France to do more.

      She tweeted that the number of illegal small boat crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route unviable.

      She added: “We also need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France.”

      Almost 4,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year, according to analysis by PA.

      Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said the numbers showed the Home Office had “lost control and all credibility on this issue, fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma for those who feel forced to make these dangerous crossings.”

      Resorting to tougher enforcement was “naive grandstanding”, she said.

      “What is needed is recognition that people who reach France will have valid claims to protection in the UK and the urgent development of safe and legal routes for them to do so.

      “This would end the crossings overnight.”

      Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said it was “particularly troubling to see children being put at risk”.

      Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, said: “No one wants to see people making these perilous attempts to cross the Channel. It’s heartbreaking to think how desperate people must be to cram themselves into tiny boats and try.

      “The Tories have been trying the same approach of getting tough on Channel crossings for years, but it’s failed.

      “The only way to prevent these dangerous crossings is to ensure there are safe, legal routes to the UK – especially for vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/priti-patel-migrants-channel-royal-navy-record-a9659346.html

    • The Guardian view on Channel migrants: shame on the scaremongers

      Ministers should respond with compassion and pragmatism to an upsurge in arrivals of small boats. Instead, we get histrionics

      What do the images of cramped dinghies in the Channel make you feel when you see them? Or pictures of their passengers on the decks of grey Border Force vessels, or disembarking on beaches? More than 4,100 migrants and refugees have reached the UK this year so far in small boats, most of them arriving in Kent. Almost 600 arrived in a surge of crossings between Thursday and Sunday last week.

      While they remain a tiny proportion of the total number of asylum seekers in the UK, which was 35,566 in 2019, the steep increase in arrivals has thrust immigration and asylum back to the top of the news. But the hate mill has been grinding away for months, with the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, using his social media channels and appearances to churn up public anxiety about what these migrants might do when they get here – while crushing out any grains of more generous impulses.

      There is no question that the crossings are a problem. The Channel is the world’s busiest shipping lane. Unlicensed journeys in small boats across the Mediterranean have ended in disaster. The new arrivals include children, around 400 of whom are being looked after by Kent county council.

      No one knows exactly why the traffic has increased so much. Boris Johnson and his ministers, as well as Mr Farage, appear determined to amplify the role of traffickers. But the more likely explanation could be that the pandemic has made entering the UK by other means (air, lorry, ferry) harder, while the weather has made crossing by boat safer than at other times. The conditions at Calais are awful. Far worse are the political and humanitarian situations in many of the countries where the migrants come from – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan – and from which they view the UK as their longed-for safe haven.

      Whatever the reasons for the surge, the UK government’s reaction has been reprehensible. Migration is a difficult global issue that requires international cooperation. For European democracies, with long histories of entanglement with many of the nations that people are fleeing, it presents particular challenges. But having set their face against the EU with their campaign to “take back control” and lacking a plan to replace the Dublin Convention, which enables EU countries to remove some asylum seekers, ministers now appear to be panicking.

      How else to describe the threats by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to make the navy force boats back to France, or the creation of the new post of “clandestine Channel threat commander”? What does it mean for Boris Johnson to declare crossing the Channel in a small boat to be “dangerous and criminal”, when people have the right to travel to claim asylum under UN rules dating back to 1951?

      Not a single refugee has been legally resettled in the UK since March, when an existing scheme was suspended due to Covid-19. Restarting this system (or explaining when the pause will end), so that claims can be processed without people having to present themselves first, is the obvious route back to some form of order. Serious talks with the EU, above all France, will obviously require give as well as take. Last year Germany processed 165,615 asylum claims, and France 151,070. Neither they nor other governments are obliged to help the UK out.

      Two years ago Donald Trump showed the world how low an elected western leader could go on migration with his policy of separating families at the Mexican border. This week, the UK’s home secretary was singled out for praise by our most xenophobic national political figure, Mr Farage. Ms Patel, and more importantly her boss, Mr Johnson, a man who purports to venerate Winston Churchill and the postwar international order that was his legacy, should both be ashamed.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/10/the-guardian-view-on-channel-migrants-shame-on-the-scaremongers

    • Refugees crossing Channel tell of beatings by French police

      Asylum seekers give accounts of injuries, as Priti Patel says many refugees feel France is racist.

      Asylum seekers in the UK and France have described injuries they have received at the hands of French police, as Priti Patel said many were making the perilous journey across the Channel because they believe France is racist.

      The home secretary made her comments in a conference call with Conservative MPs concerned about the recent surge in numbers attempting the voyage in small boats.

      One man in Dunkirk told the Guardian he had recently received injuries to his hands after French police beat him.

      Another man who has reached the UK said he was struck in the face, causing injuries to his eyes. “I was beaten very badly by the French police. I have some injuries to my eyes and I’m still suffering from these injuries,” he said. “The French police are very bad for asylum seekers.”
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
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      According to reports, Patel told Conservative MPs that refugees and migrants were worried they may be “tortured” in France. Government sources told PA Media that she had made clear she did not share those views and was simply explaining the “pull factors” that led so many people to risk their lives by making the Channel crossing.

      Clare Moseley, of Care4Calais, a charity that works with many asylum seekers in northern France, expressed concern about some of the French police’s treatment of asylum seekers that she had witnessed. “The police seem to be a law unto themselves, “ she said. “It’s the culture I find so shocking.”

      A number of asylum seekers have said one of their reasons for crossing the Channel was to escape police violence, which is especially traumatic for those who have survived torture in their home countries. Another reason cited was the long delay after making an asylum claim before they receive accommodation or support.

      Orsi Hardi, of the Taise Community, which supports and cares for many asylum seekers who congregate in northern France, said many believed reaching the UK was their last chance to find safety after a difficult journey through mainland Europe.

      “The only way to stay in France at the moment is to claim asylum, and the system is overloaded, which makes it very inhuman during the time when people are waiting to get accommodation and support,” she said.

      The Guardian has learned that more people who crossed the Channel in small boats were rounded up by the Home Office on Thursday and Friday and placed in Brook House immigration detention centre near Gatwick airport.

      More than a dozen of them say they have gone on hunger strike. The men, who have come from a variety of conflict zones including Yemen and Sudan, say they would rather die in the UK than be sent back to France or other European countries.

      Speaking from Brook House, one man who is refusing food told the Guardian: “I am a dead person in detention.”

      Nobody who has been arrested and detained in the last few days has been given a ticket for a new removal flight, but the large number of arrests suggest more removals are likely soon. The Home Office is not supposed to detain people unless there is an imminent prospect of removing them.

      One man from Yemen said he had tried to claim asylum in Spain and had been told he would have to wait more than a year sleeping in the streets before his claim could be processed, so he decided to try to reach the UK.

      “My journey was terrible. I crossed many countries – Mauritania, Mali, where traffickers wanted to sell me as a slave, Algeria, Morocco. I crossed the desert. I spent 12 hours in the sea when I crossed the Channel in a small boat in March. I thought I would freeze to death but I was rescued by the Border Force. I’m sending my voice to the public. This is the last opportunity to tell people what has happened to us on our journey and what is happening to us now in detention.”

      Another man from Yemen who said he was on hunger strike in Brook House said he had been abused by smugglers who agreed to help him cross the Channel to the UK. “The smugglers have guns and sometimes they shoot people. The smuggler who was taking us across the Channel pointed a gun at us and said if we made any noise he would shoot us,” he said.

      The Home Office and the French embassy have been approached for comment.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/16/priti-patel-migrants-crossing-channel-uk-they-believe-france-racist
      #police #violences_policières

    • UK tested Channel ‘blockade’ to deter migrants, leak reveals

      Exclusive: official document shows tactic based on Australian ‘turn back the boats’ policy has been trialled.

      Trials have taken place to test a blockade in the Channel similar to Australia’s controversial “turn back the boats” tactic, according to official documents seen by the Guardian.

      The documents, produced in mid-September and marked “official” and “sensitive”, summarise advice from officials who were asked by Downing Street to consider “possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

      In August it was reported that the home secretary, Priti Patel, was planning to approach French officials for cooperation in using Royal Navy and Border Force boats to block the path of refugees and migrants attempting to reach the UK in small boats.

      The document reveals this approach has been trialled. It reads: “Trials are currently under way to test a ‘blockade’ tactic in the Channel on the median line between French and UK waters, akin to the Australian ‘turn back’ tactic, whereby migrant boats would be physically prevented (most likely by one or more UK RHIBs [rigid hull inflatable boats] from entering UK waters.”

      The Australian policy was developed by the country’s former prime minister Tony Abbott, who was recently appointed as a UK government trade adviser. Operation Sovereign Borders involves turning back boats to the country of embarkation before they reach Australian waters.

      The Australian government considers the policy to be successful but it has been met with severe criticism from human rights groups. The Home Office has been approached for comment.

      The documents have been revealed by the Guardian at a time of increased tension over the UK’s asylum policy. Seven thousand migrants have arrived in the UK in small boats across the Channel so far this year, according to PA Media analysis – more than three times the number of arrivals by this route in the whole of 2019.

      The UK government has also launched a consultation with the maritime industry to explore constructing floating walls in the Channel to block asylum seekers from crossing the narrow strait from France, the Financial Times reported.

      An email from the trade body Maritime UK, obtained by the newspaper, reveals that the idea of floating barriers is being seriously pursued by Home Office officials. Maritime UK told the Guardian it had informed the Home Office that it did not think the proposal was “legally possible”.

      A Maritime UK spokesperson said: “As the umbrella organisation for UK maritime, we are a conduit between industry and government and are often asked by government for advice or input on policy matters. The Home Office engaged us to pass on a question around options to inhibit passage to UK territorial waters, which we gave to our members. The clear view, which we shared with the Home Office, was that as a matter of international convention, that this is not legally possible.”

      Downing Street said it would not comment on each of the leaked measures but said the government would soon bring forward “a package of measures” to address illegal migration once the UK has left the EU.

      The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We are developing plans around illegal migration and asylum to ensure that we’re able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.

      “That includes looking at what a whole host of other countries do. But the work is ongoing. There’s an awful lot of speculation around today and I don’t plan on adding anything beyond that.”

      Downing Street said it did not recognise some of the more outlandish reporting – including the possibility of a wave machine in the Channel to push back migrants in small boats. “These things won’t be happening,” the spokesman said.

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “As the public will fully understand, we do not comment on operational matters because to do so could provide an advantage to the exploitative and ruthless criminals who facilitate these dangerous crossing, as they look for new ways to beat the system.

      “We are driving innovative tactics to deploy in every aspect of this operation, underlining the Government’s commitment to ending the viability of using small boats to illegally enter the UK.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/oct/01/uk-tested-channel-blockade-to-deter-migrants-leak-reveals

    • UK and France sign deal to make Channel migrant crossings ’unviable’

      Both countries agree to double police patrols on route already used by more than 8,000 people this year

      Britain and France have signed a new agreement aimed at curbing the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

      The home secretary, Priti Patel, and her French counterpart, Gérald Darmanin, said they wanted to make the route used by more than 8,000 people this year unviable.

      They agreed to double the number of French police patrolling a 150km stretch of coastline targeted by people-smuggling networks.

      However, the Home Office did not say how many more officers would be deployed.

      The announcement was criticised by a charity as an “extraordinary mark of failure” akin to “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

      Meanwhile, Amnesty International UK said it was “profoundly disappointing”.

      Patel and Darmanin also agreed an enhanced package of surveillance technology, with drones, radar equipment, cameras and optronic binoculars.

      It is hoped the equipment will help the French deploy officers to the right places to detect migrants and stop them before they start their journey.

      The agreement also includes steps to support migrants into accommodation in France and measures to increase border security at ports in the north and west of the country.

      It builds on measures previously agreed which the Home Office said had seen the proportion of crossings intercepted and stopped since rising from 41% last year to 60% in recent weeks.

      Patel said the new agreement with France will “make a difference” to the numbers.

      Speaking inside the Foreign Office following talks with her French counterpart, she said: “We know that the French authorities have stopped over 5,000 migrants from crossing into the United Kingdom, we’ve had hundreds of arrests and that’s because of the joint intelligence and communications that we share between both our authorities.

      “This new package today that I have just signed with my French counterpart, the French interior minister, effectively doubles the number of police on the French beaches, it invests in more technologies and surveillance – more radar technology that support the law enforcement effort – and on top of that we are now sharing in terms of toughening up our border security.”

      She said the number of migrants making the crossing had grown exponentially, in part due to good weather this year, and blamed trafficking gangs for “facilitating” dangerous journeys.

      “We should not lose sight of the fact that illegal migration exists for one fundamental reason: that is because there are criminal gangs – people traffickers – facilitating this trade,” Patel said.

      She added that the cost charged by traffickers has gone down so “people are putting their lives at risk”.

      Despite deteriorating weather conditions, the UK’s Border Force has continued to deal with migrants making the dangerous trip from northern France.

      The number crossing aboard small boats has rocketed this year, with more than 8,000 reaching the UK – compared with 1,835 in 2019, according to data analysed by the PA news agency.

      This is despite the home secretary’s vow last year to make such journeys an “infrequent phenomenon”.

      A recent report chronicled nearly 300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999.

      Written by Mael Galisson, from Gisti, a legal service for asylum seekers in France, it described the evolution of border security in and around the Dover Strait as a “history of death”.

      It claimed responses to the migrant crisis have become increasingly militarised, forcing people to resort to more dangerous routes.

      Bella Sankey, director of humanitarian charity Detention Action, said: “It is an extraordinary mark of failure that the home secretary is announcing with such fanfare that she is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      “No amount of massaging the numbers masks her refusal to take the sensible step of creating a safe and legal route to the UK from northern France, thereby preventing crossings and child deaths.

      “Instead she throws taxpayers’ money away on more of the same measures that stand no chance of having a significant impact on this dangerous state of affairs.”

      The shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, argued that the Conservatives had “regularly announced progress and not delivered”.

      He said: “A deal with the French authorities alone is not enough. The Conservatives continue to fail on establishing safe routes and have abolished DfID [the Department for International Development], the department that has addressed the reasons people flee their homes in the first place.”

      The deal was also criticised by human rights group Amnesty International UK. Steve Valdez-Symonds, its refugee and migrant rights programme director, said: “It is profoundly disappointing that yet again these two governments have ignored the needs and rights of people who ought to be at the heart of their response.

      “Women, men and children make dangerous journeys across the Channel because there are no safe options provided for them – to either reunite with family in this country, or access an effective asylum system, to which they are entitled.

      “The UK government must share responsibility for providing sanctuary with its nearest neighbour.

      “This continued focus on simply shutting down routes to the UK is blinkered and reckless – it does nothing but increase the risks that people, who have already endured incredible hardship, are compelled to take.”

      Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said: “This package of surveillance, drones and radar sounds like the government is preparing for a military enemy.

      “These are ordinary people – from engineers to farmers and their families – they are not criminals and they do not want to make this terrifying journey.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/28/uk-and-france-sign-deal-to-make-channel-migrant-crossings-unviable

      #accord

    • #Déclaration_conjointe de la France et du Royaume-Uni sur les prochaines étapes de la #coopération_bilatérale en matière de lutte contre l’#immigration_clandestine

      29 novembre 2020

      Le ministre français de l’intérieur, M. Gérald Darmanin, et la ministre britannique de l’intérieur, Mme Priti Patel, se sont entretenus hier pour évoquer la coopération entre le Royaume-Uni et la France dans la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine à notre frontière commune.

      Ils ont notamment abordé la nécessité d’empêcher les traversées maritimes illégales et de prévenir les troubles à l’ordre public qu’elles génèrent des deux côtés de la Manche.
      Les ministres ont souligné que le nombre élevé de passages illégaux observé cette année n’était pas acceptable et qu’il fallait y remédier avec détermination. Ces traversées à bord d’embarcations de fortune ont donné lieu à des accidents au cours des derniers mois. Elles représentent pour les femmes, hommes et enfants à bord de ces bateaux un danger mortel, qui reste un sujet de préoccupation pour les deux gouvernements. L’implication de réseaux criminels sans scrupules, qui exploitent la vulnérabilité des migrants, est l’une des causes de ce phénomène. Les autorités des deux pays continueront à s’y attaquer avec une détermination sans faille.

      Pour toutes ces raisons, les deux ministres partagent un engagement résolu à coopérer pour mettre fin au phénomène dit des « small boats », et annoncent à cette fin la mise en œuvre de nouvelles mesures conjointes qui doivent permettre de prévenir les départs et d’empêcher la formation de camps illégaux dans le Calaisis.

      Les ministres sont convenus que le travail des forces de l’ordre pour prévenir et arrêter ces passages n’a jamais été aussi efficace, le taux de réussite des interventions passant de 41 % en 2019 à plus de 60 % ces dernières semaines. Malgré ces efforts importants, le nombre de tentatives de traversées reste toutefois encore trop élevé.

      Les ministres ont reconnu et salué les récents efforts déployés pour lutter contre ce phénomène : une présence policière accrue sur la côte entre Boulogne et Dunkerque ; une augmentation du nombre de patrouilles terrestres ; une meilleure utilisation des équipements de détection ; un renforcement de la lutte contre les réseaux criminels de contrebande, permis notamment par la mise en place d’une unité de renseignement opérationnel (URO) dédiée à la lutte contre le trafic de migrants. Cette structure a commencé à donner des résultats concrets : depuis son ouverture en juillet, l’URO a permis de procéder à environ 140 arrestations et d’empêcher quelque 1 100 passages.

      Les deux ministres sont convenus de l’importance de continuer à travailler en étroite collaboration à tous les niveaux, sur la base d’objectifs communs et d’indicateurs clairs, permettant de mesurer les progrès accomplis et d’évaluer les résultats obtenus. A cet effet, le Royaume-Uni et la France se sont accordés sur la mise en place d’un nouveau plan opérationnel conjoint visant à optimiser le déploiement des ressources humaines et des équipements dédiés à la prévention de ces traversées maritimes illégales.

      Ce plan sera effectif dans les prochains jours et comprend :

      une augmentation significative des déploiements de forces de l’ordre pour enquêter, dissuader et prévenir les traversées irrégulières ;
      le déploiement d’équipements de technologies de surveillance de haute définition pour détecter et empêcher les tentatives de franchissement avant qu’elles ne se produisent ;
      des mesures visant à aider les migrants à trouver un hébergement approprié afin de les soustraire à l’emprise des trafiquants ;
      des mesures visant à renforcer la sécurité aux frontières afin de réduire les possibilités de passage irrégulier, y compris par le biais du trafic de marchandises.

      Le Royaume-Uni s’est engagé à faire un investissement financier supplémentaire de 31,4 millions d’euros pour soutenir les efforts importants de la France contre les traversées irrégulières dans ces domaines.

      Au cours des six prochains mois, les résultats seront examinés afin d’évaluer l’efficacité et l’impact de ces mesures supplémentaires. Ces engagements reflètent la conviction des ministres de la nécessité pour le Royaume-Uni et la France de travailler en partenariat étroit à tous les niveaux pour faire face à cette menace commune, briser le modèle économique des passeurs, sauver des vies et maintenir l’ordre public. Les ministres se félicitent de la poursuite du dialogue sur un large éventail de sujets afin de parvenir à une réduction de la pression migratoire à la frontière commune, à court et à long terme.

      https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Declaration-conjointe-de-la-France-et-du-Royaume-Uni-sur-les-prochain

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests ’the weather’ is to blame for UK’s sky-high coronavirus death toll https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-uk-jacob-rees-mogg-death-toll-weather-a9585616.html

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested “the weather” is to blame for the UK’s sky-high death toll from coronavirus, in the latest extraordinary explanation given.

    The Commons leader also pointed to “the practices of individual cultures and societies” – although he did not expand on the thesis.

    The reasoning comes after a different government minister drew criticism for claiming the UK was particularly vulnerable as “a global travel hub”.

    Most experts have pointed to Boris Johnson’s reluctance to lock down society until late March – after an explosion of Covid-19 infections – as the key reason for more than 50,000 deaths.

    But, facing questions about that “shocking” record in the Commons, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “A wide range of factors have affected death rates in different countries.

    “Even things as simple as the weather may have influenced how the virus has spread, and so may the practices of individual cultures and societies.

    “I think, therefore, that these headline comparisons are not necessarily enormously illuminative.”

  • Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leak-report-corbyn-election-whatsapp-antisemitism-tories-yougo

    Labour party officials opposed to Jeremy #Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him, a dossier drawn up by the party suggests.

    A huge cache of leaked WhatsApp messages and emails show senior officials from the party’s right wing, who worked at its HQ, became despondent as Labour climbed in the polls during the election campaign despite their efforts.

  • Boris Johnson to pass law banning anti-Israel boycott, official says | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-bds-law-israel-boycott-divestment-sanctions-palestine-a

    Le prix à payer pour une élection ou bien dédommagements pour services rendus ? #Boris_Johnson, #Israël et le boycott (#BDS)

    Boris Johnson will attempt to pass a law banning local councils from joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues has announced.

    Eric Pickles said the movement was “antisemitic and should be treated as such” during a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s conference in Jerusalem on Sunday.

    He said the new law would not allow public bodies to work with those who boycott, divest from or sanction Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.

    It comes after Donald Trump, the US president, signed an executive order effectively definition Judaism as a nationality, not just a religion – in a move which could suppress the BDS movement.

    Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PDS), told The Independent: “The campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) seeks to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights and of international law.

  • Revue de presse du jour comprenant l’actualité nationale et internationale de ce jeudi 31 janvier 2019
    https://www.crashdebug.fr/revue-de-presse/15564-revue-de-presse-du-jour-comprenant-l-actualite-nationale-et-interna

    Bonjour à toutes et à tous, j’espère que vous allez bien, veuillez trouver ci dessous la Revue de presse du jour de notre Gâchette, bien sûr plus de titres dans la Defcon Room,

    Amitiés,

    L’Amourfou / Contributeur anonyme / Chalouette / Doudou / Gâchette

    La Revue de presse du jour comprenant les informations de ce qui fait l’actualité française et internationale du 31 janvier 2019 vues par notre Gâchette.

    TROP DROLE

    ...y en a partout !

    Mystère Spatial du fait qu’un “sac poubelle vide” orbite autour de la Terre à 600 km d’altitude - Mystère Spatial du fait qu’un “sac poubelle vide” orbite autour de la Terre à 600 km d’altitude Un objet non identifié en orbite erratique près de la Terre...

    Doubs : Il pèse sa console Playstation 4 au rayon fruits et légumes et la paye 9,29 euros en caisse. Mais (...)

    https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2018/12/28/2018-1335/jo/texte
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/04/four-million-british-workers-live-in-poverty-charity-says
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/young-people-uk-unemployment-poverty-life-state-support-benefits-cuts

  • UK facing longest fall in living standards for over 60 years, finds think tank | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-living-standards-fall-longest-60-years-records-began-economy-house

    It went on to say that despite the Chancellor’s small changes to improve universal credit, tax and benefit policies announced since 2015 will push living standards down and increase inequality.
    Read more

    It added that the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of the parliament, while the richest third gain an average of £185.

    Mr Bell added: "Faced with a grim economic backdrop the Chancellor will see this Budget as a political success. But that would be cold comfort for Britain’s families given the bleak outlook it paints for their living standards.

    #austérité #récession #inégalités

    • ’National day of shame’ : #David_Lammy criticises treatment of Windrush generation

      Labour MP says situation has come about because of the hostile environment that begun under Theresa May, as he blames a climate of far-right rhetoric. People who came to the UK in the 1950s and 60s are now concerned about whether they have a legal right to remain in the country. The government has admitted that some people from the Windrush generation had been deported in error, as Theresa May appeared to make a U-turn on the issue Some Windrush immigrants wrongly deported, UK admits.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfy1mDdNtEQ

    • Amber Rudd’s resignation letter in full and the Prime Minister’s response

      Amber Rudd has resigned as home secretary amid increasing pressure over the way the Home Office handled immigration policy.

      Her resignation came after leaked documents undermined her claims she was unaware of the deportation targets her officers were using.

      Downing Street confirmed Theresa May had accepted Ms Rudd’s resignation on Sunday night. She is the fifth cabinet minister to have left their position since the Prime Minister called the snap election in June 2017.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/amber-rudd-resignation-letter-full-transcript-windrush-scandal-theres

    • Black history is still largely ignored, 70 years after Empire Windrush reached Britain

      Now, 70 years and three to four generations later, the legacy of those who arrived on the Windrush and the ships that followed is being rightly remembered – albeit in a way which calls into question how much their presence, sacrifices and contributions are valued in Britain.

      https://theconversation.com/black-history-is-still-largely-ignored-70-years-after-empire-windru
      #histoire #mémoire

    • Chased into ’self-deportation’: the most disturbing Windrush case so far

      As Amelia Gentleman reflects on reporting one of the UK’s worst immigration scandals, she reveals a new and tragic case.

      In the summer of 2013, the government launched the peculiarly named Operation Vaken, an initiative that saw vans drive around six London boroughs, carrying billboards that warned: “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest.” The billboards were decorated with pictures of handcuffs and the number of recent immigration arrests (“106 arrests last week in your area”). A line at the bottom adopted a softer tone: “We can help you to return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention.”

      The Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto promise to reduce migration to the tens of thousands had been going badly. It was time for ministers to develop new ways of scaring immigrants into leaving and for the government’s hostile environment policy to get teeth. More than 170,000 people, many of them living in this country legally, began receiving alarming texts, with warnings such as: “Message from the UK Border Agency: you are required to leave the UK as you no longer have the right to remain.”

      The hope was that the Home Office could get people to “self-deport”, frightening them into submission. In this, politicians appeared to have popular support: a YouGov poll at the time showed that 47% of the public approved of the “Go home” vans. The same year, Home Office vehicles began to be marked clearly with the words “Immigration Enforcement”, to alert people to the hovering presence of border guards.

      Operation Vaken ran for just one month, and its success was limited. A Home Office report later found that only 11 people left the country as a result; it also revealed that, of the 1,561 text messages sent to the government’s tip-off hotline, 1,034 were hoaxes – taking up 17 hours of staff time.

      Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy later tried to argue that the vans had been opposed by the prime minister and were only approved while she was on holiday. But others who worked on the project insisted that May had seen the wording on the vans and requested that the language be toughened up. Meanwhile, the Immigration Enforcement vehicles stayed, with their yellow fluorescent stripes and black-and-white checks, a sinister presence circling areas of high migration. Gradually, the broader strategy of intimidation began to pay off. Some people were frightened into leaving.
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      In my two years of reporting on what became known as the Windrush scandal, Joycelyn John’s experience was the most disturbing case I came across. Joycelyn arrived in London in 1963 at the age of four, travelling with her mother on a Grenadian passport as a British subject. She went to primary and secondary school in Hammersmith, west London, before working in hotels in the capital – including the Ritz and a Hilton.

      Some time around 2009, she lost her Grenadian passport, which contained the crucial stamp giving her indefinite leave to remain. She had trouble getting a new passport, because her mother had married and changed her daughter’s surname from Mitchell to John. Because she never registered the change, there was a discrepancy between Joycelyn’s birth certificate and the name she had used all her adult life. She spent several years attempting to sort out her papers, but by 2014, aged 55, she had been classified as living in Britain illegally. She lost her job and was unable to find new work. For a while, she lived in a homeless hostel, but she lost her bed, because the government does not normally fund places for people classified as illegal immigrants. She spent two years staying with relatives, sleeping on sofas or the floor.

      In that time, Joycelyn managed to gather 75 pages of evidence proving that she had spent a lifetime in the UK: bank statements, dentists’ records, medical files, tax records, letters from her primary school, letters from friends and family. But, inexplicably, this was not enough. Every letter she received from the Home Office warned her that she was liable to be deported to Grenada, a country she had left more than 50 years ago. She began to feel nervous about opening the door in case immigration officers were outside.

      A Home Office leaflet encouraging people to opt for a voluntary departure, illustrated with cheerful, brightly coloured planes and published about the same time as the “Go Home” vans were launched, said: “We know that many people living in the UK illegally want to go home, but feel scared of approaching the Home Office directly. They may fear being arrested and detained. For those returning voluntarily, there are these key benefits: they avoid being arrested and having to live in detention until a travel document can be obtained; they can leave the UK in a more dignified manner than if their removal is enforced.” This appeal to the desire for a dignified departure was a shrewd tactic; the idea of being forcibly taken away terrified Joycelyn, who saw the leaflets and knew of the vans. “There’s such stigma... I didn’t want to be taken off the plane in handcuffs,” she says. She was getting deeper into debt, borrowing money from a younger brother, and felt it was no longer fair to rely on him.

      When the hostile environment policy is working well, it exhausts people into submission. It piles up humiliations, stress and fear until people give up. In November 2016, Joycelyn finally decided that a “voluntary” departure would be easier than trying to survive inside the ever-tightening embrace of Home Office hostility. Officials booked her on a flight on Christmas Day; when she asked if she could spend a last Christmas with her brother and five sisters, staff rebooked her for Boxing Day. She was so desperate that she felt this was the best option. “I felt ground down,” she says. “I lost the will to go on fighting.”

      By that point, she estimated she must have attempted a dozen times to explain to Home Office staff – over the phone, in person, in writing – that they had made a mistake. “I don’t think they looked at the letters I wrote. I think they had a quota to fill – they needed to deport people.” She found it hard to understand why the government was prepared to pay for her expensive flight, but not to waive the application fee to regularise her status. A final letter told her: “You are a person who is liable to be detained... You must report with your baggage to Gatwick South Virgin Atlantic Airways check-in desk.” The letter resorted to the favoured Home Office technique of scaring people with capital letters, reminding her that in her last few weeks: “YOU MAY NOT ENTER EMPLOYMENT, PAID OR UNPAID, OR ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS OR PROFESSION.” It also informed her that her baggage allowance, after a lifetime in the UK, was 20kg – “and you will be expected to pay for any excess”.

      How do you pack for a journey to a country you left as a four-year-old? “I was on autopilot,” Joycelyn recalls. “I was feeling depressed, lonely and suicidal. I wasn’t able to think straight; at times, I was hysterical. I packed the morning I left, very last-minute. I’d been expecting a reprieve. I didn’t take a lot – just jeans and a few T-shirts, a toothbrush, some Colgate, a towel – it didn’t even fill the whole suitcase.” She had £60 to start a new life, given to her by an ex-boyfriend. She had decided not to tell her sisters she was going; she confided only in her brother. “I just didn’t want any fuss.” She didn’t expect she would ever be allowed to return to Britain.

      In Grenada, she found everything unfamiliar. She had to scrub her clothes by hand and struggled to cook with the local ingredients. “It’s just a completely different lifestyle. The culture is very different.” She was given no money to set her up and found getting work very difficult. “You’re very vulnerable if you’re a foreigner. There’s no support structure and no one wants to employ you. Once they hear an English accent – forget it. They’re suspicious. They think you must be a criminal if you’ve been deported.”

      Joycelyn recounts what happened to her in a very matter-of-fact way, only expressing her opinion about the Home Office’s consistent refusal to listen when I ask her to. But her analysis is succinct: “The way I was treated was disgusting.” I still find it hard to accept that the government threatened her until she felt she had no option but to relocate to an unfamiliar country 4,300 miles away. The outcome – a 57-year-old Londoner, jettisoned to an island off the coast of Venezuela, friendless and without money, trying to make a new life for herself – is as absurd as it is tragic.

      *

      In April 2018, the leaders of 52 countries arrived in London for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting. The Mall was decorated with flags; caterers at Buckingham Palace prepared for tea parties and state dinners. In normal times, this summit would have been regarded as a routine diplomatic event, heavy with ceremony and light on substance. But, with Brexit looming, the occasion was seen as an important opportunity to woo the countries on which Britain expected to become increasingly reliant.

      A week before the event, however, the 12 Caribbean high commissioners had gathered to ask the British government to adopt a more compassionate approach to people who had arrived in the UK as children and were never formally naturalised. “I am dismayed that people who gave their all to Britain could be discarded so matter-of-factly,” said Guy Hewitt, the Barbados high commissioner. “Seventy years after Windrush, we are again facing a new wave of hostility.”

      Hewitt revealed that a formal request to meet May had been declined. The rebuff convinced the Caribbean leaders that the British government had either failed to appreciate the scale and seriousness of what was happening or, worse, was aware, but did not view it as a priority. It smacked of racism.

      By then, I had been covering cases such as Joycelyn’s for six months. I had written about Paulette Wilson, a 61-year-old grandmother who had been detained by the Home Office twice and threatened with deportation to Jamaica, a country she had left half a century earlier; about Anthony Bryan, who after 50 years in the UK was wrongly detained for five weeks; and about Sylvester Marshall, who was denied the NHS radiotherapy he needed for prostate cancer and told to pay £54,000 for treatment, despite paying taxes here for decades. Yet no one in the government had seemed concerned.

      I contacted Downing Street on 15 April to ask if they could explain the refusal to meet the Caribbean delegation. An official called back to confirm that a meeting had not been set up; there would be other opportunities to meet the prime minister and discuss this “important issue”, she said.

      It was a huge mistake. An article about the diplomatic snub went on the Guardian’s front page and the political response was instantaneous. Suddenly, ministers who had shown no interest were falling over themselves to express profound sorrow. The brazen speed of the official turnaround was distasteful to watch. Amber Rudd, then the home secretary, spoke in parliament to express her regret. The Home Office would establish a new team to help people gather evidence of their right to be here, she announced; fees would be waived. The prime minister decided that she did, after all, need to schedule a meeting with her Caribbean colleagues.

      There were a number of factors that forced this abrupt shift. The campaigner Patrick Vernon, whose parents emigrated from Jamaica in the 50s, had made a critical connection between the scandal and the upcoming 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks. A fortnight earlier, he had launched a petition that triggered a parliamentary debate, calling for an immigration amnesty for those who had arrived as British subjects between 1948 and 1971. For months, I had been describing these people as “Caribbean-born, retirement-age, long-term British residents”, a clunky categorisation that was hard to put in a headline. But Vernon’s petition succinctly called them the “Windrush generation” – a phrase that evoked the emotional response that people feel towards the pioneers of migration who arrived on that ship. Although it was a bit of a misnomer (those affected were the children of the Windrush generation), that branding became incredibly potent.

      After months of very little coverage, the BBC and other media outlets began to report on the issue. On 16 April, the Guardian reprinted the photographs and stories of everyone we had interviewed to date. The accounts were undeniable evidence of profound and widespread human suffering. It unleashed political chaos.

      *

      It was exciting to see the turmoil caused by the relentless publication of articles on a subject that no one had previously wanted to think about. Everyone has moments of existential doubt about whether what they do serves a purpose, but, for two weeks last April, the government was held to account and forced to act, demonstrating the enormous power of journalism to trigger change.

      At the Guardian’s offices in London, a team of reporters was allocated to interview the huge number of emerging Windrush voices. Politicians were contacted by constituents who had previously been nervous about giving their details to officials; they also belatedly looked through their constituency casebooks to see if there were Windrush people among their immigration caseload; finally, they began to speak up about the huge difficulties individuals were facing as a result of Home Office policy.

      Editors put the story on the front page, day after day. Any hope the government might have had of the issue quickly exhausting itself was dashed repeatedly by damaging new revelations. For a while, I was unable to get through my inbox, because there were too many unhappy stories about the government’s cruel, bureaucratic mishandling of cases to be able to read and process. Caroline Bannock, a senior journalist who runs the Guardian’s community team, created a database to collect people’s stories, and made sure that everyone who emailed got an answer, with information on where to go for advice and how to contact the Windrush Taskforce, set up by Rudd.

      I found the scale of the misery devastating. One morning, I came into work to find 24 messages on my answerphone from desperate people, each convinced I could help. I wanted to cry at my desk when I opened a letter from the mother of a young woman who had arrived in Britain from Jamaica in 1974, aged one. In 2015, after being classified as an illegal immigrant and sent to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, she had taken an overdose and died. “Without the time she spent in Yarl’s Wood, which we understand was extremely unpleasant, and the threat of deportation, my daughter would be alive today,” she wrote. The government had been aiming to bring down immigration at any cost, she continued. “One of the costs, as far as I am concerned, was my daughter’s life.”

      Alongside these upsetting calls and letters, there were many from readers offering financial support to the people we interviewed, and from lawyers offering pro bono assistance. A reader sent a shoebox full of chocolate bars, writing that he wanted to help reporters keep their energy levels up. At a time when the reputation of journalism can feel low, it was rewarding to help demonstrate why independent media organisations are so important.

      If the scene at the office was a smooth-running model of professionalism, at home it was chaos. I wrote until 2am and got up at 5am to catch up on reading. I tapped out so many articles over two weeks that my right arm began to ache, making it hard to sleep. My dictaphone overheated from overuse and one of its batteries exploded. I had to retreat entirely from family life, to make sure I poured out every bit of information I had. Shoes went missing, homework was left undone, meals were uncooked. There was an unexpected heatwave and I was aware of the arrival of a plague of ants, flies and fleas (and possibly nits), but there was no time to deal with it.

      I am married to Jo Johnson, who at the time was a minister in May’s government. As a news reporter, I have to be politically independent; I let him get on with his job and he doesn’t interfere in mine. Life is busy and mostly we focus on the day-to-day issues that come with having two children. Clearly, there are areas of disagreement, but we try to step around anything too contentious for the sake of family harmony.

      But the fact did not go unnoticed. One Sunday morning, Jo had to go on television to defend Rudd, returning home at lunchtime to look after the children so I could talk on the radio about how badly the government had got it wrong. I can see why it looks weird from the outside; that weekend it felt very weird. I had only one brief exchange about the issue with his brother Boris, who was then the foreign secretary, at a noisy family birthday party later in the year. He said: “You really fucked the Commonwealth summit.”

      *

      On 25 April, Rudd appeared in front of the home affairs select committee. She told MPs she had been shocked by the Home Office’s treatment of Paulette and others. Not long into the session, Rudd was thrown off course by a question put to her by the committee’s chair, Yvette Cooper. “Targets for removals. When were they set?”

      “We don’t have targets for removals,” she replied with easy confidence. It was an answer that ended her career as home secretary.

      In an earlier session, Lucy Moreton, the head of the Immigration Service Union, had explained how the Home Office target to bring net migration below 100,000 a year had triggered challenging objectives; each region had a removal target to meet, she said. Rudd’s denial seemed to indicate either that she was incompetent and unaware of how her own department worked, or that she was being dishonest. Moreton later told me that, as Rudd was giving evidence, colleagues were sending her selfies taken in front of their office targets boards.

      Rudd was forced back to parliament the next day. This time, she admitted that the Home Office had set local targets, but insisted: “I have never agreed there should be specific removal targets and I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people.” But, on 29 April, the Guardian published a private memo from Rudd to May, sent in early 2017, that revealed she had set an “ambitious but deliverable” target for an increase in enforced deportations. Later that evening, she resigned.

      When I heard the news, I felt ambivalent; Rudd hadn’t handled the crisis well, but she wasn’t responsible for the mess. She seemed to be resigning on a technicality, rather than admitting she had been negligent and that her department had behaved atrociously on her watch. The Windrush people I spoke to that night told me Rudd’s departure only shifted attention from the person who was really responsible: Theresa May.

      *

      Joycelyn John was issued with a plane ticket from Grenada to England in July 2018. “A bit of me was ecstatic, a bit of me was angry that no one had listened to me in the first place,” she told me when we met at her still-bare flat in June this year. She had been rehoused in September, but the flat was outside London, far from her family and empty; council officials didn’t think to provide any furniture. Friends gave her a bed and some chairs, but it was months before she was able to get a fridge.

      In late 2018, she received a letter of apology from the then home secretary, Sajid Javid. “People of the Windrush generation who came to Britain from the Commonwealth, as my parents did, have helped make this country what it is today,” he wrote. “The experiences faced by you and others have been completely unacceptable.” The letter made her cry, but not with relief. “I thought: ‘What good is a letter of apology now?’ They ruined my life completely. I came back to nothing. I have had to start rebuilding my life from scratch at the age of 58.”

      She still has nightmares that she is back in Grenada. “I can feel the heat, I can smell the food, I can actually taste the fish in the dream – in a good way. But mostly they are bad memories.” The experience has upended her sense of who she is. “Before this I felt British – I just did. I’m the sort of person who would watch every royal wedding on television. I feel less British now. I feel I don’t belong here, and I don’t belong there.”

      While a government compensation scheme has been announced, Joycelyn, like most of the Windrush generation, has yet to receive any money. Since the government apologised for its “appalling” treatment, 6,000 people have been given documents confirming their right to live in the UK. Joycelyn is one of them. But, although her right to be here is now official, she hasn’t yet got a passport – because she can’t afford the fee. And she remains frightened. “I’m still looking over my shoulder all the time. I’m a nervous wreck.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/14/scale-misery-devastating-inside-story-reporting-windrush-scandal?CMP=sh

  • In Pictures: The pioneering Windrush generation, who arrived 70 years ago - BBC News

    The plight of members of the Windrush generation wrongly threatened with deportation was branded a “day of national shame”, after the home secretary apologised for their treatment.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-43782851

    The pioneering Windrush generation, who arrived 70 years ago

    16 April 2018

    #Windrush deportation

    Pioneers from the Caribbean arrived in Tilbury, Essex, 70 years ago, marking the beginning of large-scale West Indian immigration.

    #migrations #asile #caraïbes #royaume-uni

  • Jeremy Corbyn condemns Western ’silence’ over Israel’s killing of at least 27 Palestinians on the Gaza border
    The Independent | Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor | 7 avril 2018
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-israel-killings-palestine-gaza-border-violence-a8293881

    Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Israel’s killing of at least 27 Palestinians on the Gaza border as an “outrage” and attacked Western “silence” about the deaths.

    In a message read out at a demonstration outside Downing Street, the Labour leader demanded that Theresa May support the United Nation’s call for an independent international inquiry.

    Britain should also consider stopping the sale of arms to Israel that “could be used in violation of international law”, he said.(...)

    #GAZA #embargo

  • #Grenfell Fire Forum launches Facebook page - World Socialist Web Site

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/26/gren-o26-o26.html

    A meeting of the Grenfell Fire Forum endorsed the launching of a new Grenfell Fire Forum Facebook page.

    The page will be central to broadening the work of the Grenfell Fire Forum. It will publish material on Grenfell from World Socialist Web Site writers, those attending the Forum, survivors, local-residents and all concerned workers and youth. It will enable the sharing of information by those wanting to establish the truth about the fire and bring those responsible to justice.

    • Struggling UK universities warn staff of possible job cuts

      Deteriorating balance sheets and political uncertainty blamed for redundancy threats.

      Universities are warning staff to prepare for redundancies in the new year as a result of deteriorating balance sheets and lowered forecasts for student recruitment, coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit and sudden shifts in government policy.

      In recent days more than half a dozen universities have told staff there could be job cuts in 2019, including members of the research-intensive Russell Group such as Cardiff University, while others are privately bracing for cuts later in the year.

      Universities are in the midst of reporting their financial results for 2017-18 and are monitoring student applications coming in for next year. Several have been alarmed by the projections they are seeing before a 15 January deadline for undergraduates.

      Insiders say universities are more likely to cut staff because of a number of other threats in the next 12 months, including the potential effect on international students of a no-deal Brexit, as well as cuts to tuition fees in England as a result of a review of funding ordered by Theresa May that will report early next year.

      “Knee-jerk cuts to staff will harm universities’ ability to deliver high-quality teaching and research and provide the support students need. Staff are already overstretched and asking those who remain to do even more is not a sustainable strategy,” said Matt Waddup, head of policy for the University and College Union (UCU).

      “Students repeatedly say they want greater investment in their staff as a top priority, yet the proportion of expenditure spent on staff has fallen. Cutting staff will send out entirely the wrong signal to potential students. Axing educators is obscene at any time, let alone during the current uncertainty when we need our universities firing on all cylinders.”
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      Among the group of universities that have gone public, the University of Reading told staff in an email on Monday evening that a voluntary redundancy scheme was being drawn up and would open in January.

      “I want to emphasise that voluntary redundancies are only one tool available to us,” wrote Prof Robert Van de Noort, the acting vice-chancellor, suggesting that staff should consider early retirement, reduced hours or changes to contracts to help to avoid compulsory redundancies.

      Reading’s accounts, published a few days ago, reveal that the university made a £20m loss for the financial year, including a £27m loss on its subsidiary in Malaysia. Reading’s balance sheet was brought into the black only by £36m of pension “remeasurements”.

      Van de Noort told staff: “There is no doubt that the year ahead will be difficult at times, but I am confident that as a university community we can address these difficulties and remain a leader in teaching and research in the UK and globally.”

      Despite Reading’s deficit, the previous vice-chancellor, Sir David Bell, saw his total pay rise by £10,000 to £329,000. Bell announced his departure this year and is now vice-chancellor of the University of Sunderland.

      At Cardiff, the vice-chancellor, Colin Riordan, has also written to staff telling them they will be offered voluntary redundancy from January. The university has said compulsory staff cuts “cannot be ruled out”.

      In a joint statement the Cardiff University branches of the Unite, Unison and UCU unions said: “We are astonished that Cardiff University staff are facing their third voluntary severance scheme in six years, and we are very worried that the vice-chancellor still refuses to rule out further compulsory redundancies.”

      At the University of Gloucestershire, based in Cheltenham, unions say they have been advised of more than 100 job cuts and other redundancies as a result of what the university called a “rebalancing” in challenging conditions.

      “There is a demographic fall in the number of 18-year-olds in the population, which is affecting demand for higher education, the level of tuition fees universities are permitted to charge home undergraduate students is capped by the government, and there is increasing competition for recruitment,” the university said.

      “At the same time, we are facing large increases in some of our costs, particularly external increases in what we are required to spend on staff pensions. The combined effect of these factors is that, in common with many other universities, our costs are rising faster than our income. That is not a situation we can allow to continue.”

      In Scotland, union members at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh begin voting on Wednesday on strike action over the possibility of 40 job cuts – about 10% of its staff – although the university says it hopes to meet the number through voluntary redundancies.

      Other universities considering redundancies include Birkbeck, University of London and Bangor University in Wales.

      The university financial reporting season also reveals that some universities continue to thrive. The University of Oxford said its income topped £1.5bn for the first time in 2017-18, with an overall surplus of £150m.

      Oxford’s investments grew by £286m, which was £68m more than the previous year, while the Oxford University Press contributed a further £205m.

      The financial statements suggest the public controversy over vice-chancellors’ high rates of pay has had some effect, with many leading universities showing little or no growth in pay for their leaders.

      At the University of Manchester, where revenue topped £1bn for the first time, the total earnings of the vice-chancellor, Nancy Rothwell, fell from £306,000 to £276,000 owing to lower pension contributions.

      https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/dec/11/struggling-uk-universities-warn-staff-of-possible-job-cuts

    • Bitter sweet citizenship: how European families in the UK cope with Brexit

      About 80,000 EU nationals have applied for British citizenship since the UK voted to leave the European Union. The decision has rarely been easy. On the contrary, it has often been perceived as “forced” or as an attempt to “take back control” of life amid the Brexit uncertainty, a new research has revealed.

      The contrasting feelings were highlighted in a study by “EU families and Eurochildren in Brexiting Britain”, a project by the University of Birmingham in cooperation with civil rights group the3million, Migrant Voice, and immigration barrister Colin Yeo.

      Researchers interviewed 103 families in the UK in which at least one of the partners is a non-British EU national. They wanted to understand how Brexit is impacting the decisions they make about their legal status.

      The study shows that while many are applying for naturalization, many more are still uncertain and “considering their options.” Better off and educated EU nationals from Western European countries are the most resistant to the idea of becoming British citizens as a solution to Brexit. This is especially true for Germans, “who feel like they somehow betray the European ideal in doing so,” says the report.

      Others, particularly from Eastern Europe, take a more pragmatic approach. Those who apply often do it to protect their children. But instead of being seen as “the culmination of a path to integration”, naturalisation often generates “feelings of un-belonging and of disintegration”.

      Lead author Nando Sigona, deputy director of the Institute of Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham, discusses the research findings with Europe Street News.

      Why a research on families rather than individuals?

      We focused on families in which at least one of the partners is a non-British EU national because Brexit has legal implications for their rights and social implications for their choices. We wanted to explore the dilemmas these families face. For example, in a mix family ‘going back home’ is a complex issue: if you are a Polish-German couple who has met in the UK and speak English as main language, where is home? Probably in the UK.

      We also thought about their children, the next generation. Even pro-migration groups have been very utilitarian in their approach to European migrants. They say they are needed because they work hard, they are young and they contribute to the economy. I personally hate this narrative because I do not like to have a price tag on my head. And for children the situation is even more complicated: they are not productive, they use schools and services, and yet they are in the UK as legitimate residents. According to Migration Observatory, there are more than 900,000 children of EU parents (Ireland excluded) in the UK. How will British society look like in 20 or 30 years, when these children will be adult? What will be the impact of the way they have been treated? These are the questions we wanted to examine.

      Is this why the project refers to ‘Eurochildren’?

      Yes, but let’s not forget that in these families there are British nationals too. We could have called the project “British families with European heritage” and probably we would have got more attention from politicians who have a responsibility towards their citizens, those they do not treat as “others”.

      We usually refer to the 3.8 million EU nationals in the UK, according to the latest Eurostat data. But, as you say, many of them have British partners and children. How many people are really impacted by Brexit?

      It is almost impossible to know because of the way official data are collected. In case of dual nationality, the Office for National Statistics prioritises the British one so people disappear from the statistics on EU nationals. Our research also looked at the census data of the past 40 years, with children of earlier migrants now registered as British. The legacy of EU’s free movement in the UK is much larger that what people think.

      This means that no one knows how many people might or might not be protected by the withdrawal agreement – if there is one – or by the “settled status” scheme.

      The situation is so complicated. Within the same family different members may have different rights. The problem with European families is also that, when they moved to the UK, this was not part of the deal. Their legal status was not something they had to worry about. The government is now ignoring or underestimating this situation by imposing a retroactive bureaucratic monstrosity like the “settled status”. The risk is that many will be left out. The only solution would be to turn the process into a registration rather than an application, and to leave it open. Some people will be inevitably left out, but at least they won’t become unlawful.

      Based on your interviews, what has changed for these families since the Brexit vote?

      Most people feel unsettled because they failed to see Brexit coming. They did not think a majority would vote against the EU and they were not prepared for it. Secondly, they feel forced to consider their options and to make important decisions such as applying for British citizenship or leaving. The configuration of the family, for example whether or not the partners are from the same EU country, can make a difference for their opportunities. There is also a sense of being forced to define themselves. Previously mix families could reconcile their identities under a European umbrella, but Brexit is changing that. However, it is important to acknowledge that people have different feelings about the situation and to not monopolise their voices.

      Are the responses you received uniform across the UK?

      There are places where people feel more secure. London feels safer, respondents said, as a majority voted to stay in the EU, the environment does not feel hostile and there are long standing EU communities. In Scotland, the positive narrative coming from the government helped too. In contrast, people in areas with a strong leave vote felt very isolated. Outside big cities, where immigration is a fairly new phenomenon, Polish and Eastern Europeans in particular did not have established communities and social networks to support them in this hostile transition.

      Many of the people we interviewed were reflecting on neighbours and family members who voted for Brexit. It felt very personal. We heard of families avoiding Christmas meals and, in the most tragic situations, splitting up because the additional tension brought by Brexit pushed them beyond the tipping point. We have also seen tensions between parents and children, for example children asking parents not to speak their mother tongue in public or parents not speaking with their children in the native language because they do not feel safe. The Home Office and migration policies do not consider the reverberations within families of big geopolitical shifts.

      What is the approach of these families to naturalisation?

      Part of our respondents showed a lot of resistance to naturalisation. Especially those with higher social stardards do not want to be forced into it. Some who never felt the urge to become British eventually applied. Among the people who did so, there were often feelings of anger and frustration but this was seen as a strategy to secure the future of children, a sort of parental duty.

      A number of people said they have lost trust in the British government, they are sceptical about the settled status and they think naturalization is the safest option. Others want to retain the right to move freely in and out of the country: becoming British for them does not necessarily mean wanting to stay but keeping all options open for themselves and their children. A minority also said they want to be able to vote. But there are large groups who are not applying. Some cannot because their countries do not allow dual citizenship. The cost attached to the process is also a factor. There are strict eligibility criteria and the test is not easy. Citizenship is not a right: it is something you have to earn, pay for and deserve.

      What do you think of Michael Gove’s proposal to grant citizenship for free to EU nationals, if he becomes the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister?

      Great, but I’d feel uncomfortable if this applies only to Europeans. Fees are unfair for everyone and the government makes a large profit from them. Fees should be cut and the process simplified in general, especially for children. It would guarantee their future status and it would be good for the country.

      Are there groups of EU nationals applying more than others?

      Central and Eastern Europeans started to apply for British citizenship early, before the EU referendum. They were already victim of the hostile environment and they felt negatively targeted by populist media, so they tried to secure their rights earlier on. Free movement is also fairly recent for them [the country joined the EU in 2004].

      For French, Spanish, Italian and German nationals there has been a 250-300% increase in applications since the referendum, but this is mostly because few were applying before June 2016. Before the Brexit vote they felt their position in Britain was fully secured.

      Who is not applying?

      There are people who cannot apply because they do not have regular jobs, they are from minorities, for example the Roma, they struggle with the procedure or cannot afford it. We heard of parents who had to prioritize which one of their children could apply for naturalisation, as they could not afford to pay for all. There were people at the margins before Brexit and they will be even more so when they will lose the protections of EU law.

      How do children feel about these changes?

      It depends on the age. Children up to 3 years old are usually shielded by their parents. The 5-6 years old are aware that something is going on and ask questions. Teenagers are aware and sometimes join the conversation, for example participating in demonstrations. Maybe they are more conflicted about family decisions. But kids are the ones normalising the situation trying to be like others.

      Is the European identity of these families at risk?

      Not necessarily. For the first time in Britain we see large numbers of European flags. In a sense, the European identity has become a topic of conversation. For many British citizens and policy makers the EU has only just been an economic project, but now it is a political one and this can further develop. The European heritage is not going to disappear. If anything, some of the people we interviewed started teaching their language to the kids or sending them to language schools. What is clear is that the EU is a topic we will have to confront for years to come. The issue of belonging will have repercussions that can go in many directions, depending on how things will settle. One of the challenges of this research is precisely that it is happening while event are unfolding.

      https://europestreet.news/bitter-sweet-citizenship-how-european-families-in-the-uk-cope-with-br