By Allan Wall, May 27, 2020
You might say that the English Channel created England.
The English Channel (satellite photo, left) is the body of water connecting the Atlantic and the North Sea and separating England (and the rest of the British Isles) from France and the European continent.
The English Channel enabled England to maintain its independence from Europe and develop a somewhat different culture. For example, the English legal system (which we Americans inherited) is different from the European civil law system.
Militarily, the English Channel served as a natural moat that protected England from more than one invasion – from the Spaniards in the 1500s, Napoleon in the early 1800s, and the Germans (twice) in the 20th century.
Napoleon himself declared, “Let us be masters of the Channel for six hours, and we are masters of the world.” But he was unable to do that.
And yet, if the current inhabitants of England (and the rest of the United Kingdom) want the Channel to continue to be an asset, they’d better get control of it now, because in 2020 they’re losing control of it.
England is now being invaded across the Channel, not by a conventional Navy, but by illegal aliens crossing in boats!
The English Channel is a lot wider than the Rio Grande, but it’s not that wide.
The narrowest point on the channel is 21 miles wide, and you can actually see from one side to the other on a clear day.
Since 1875 many swimmers (including a number of Americans) have actually swum the Channel.
And beginning in November of 2018, it became a fad for migrants to cross the English Channel, from France to England, in small watercraft. And it’s on the increase.
Just as in our own continent, people smugglers are involved, charging several thousand pounds to take the refugees across the Channel, often in stolen boats. (You see how breaking one law leads to breaking another?)
The BBC reported that on May 26th alone, 80 illegal migrants (65 men, 15 women) were caught crossing the English Channel, in six boats and a kayak (!). These particular illegal crossers were from Africa (Morocco, Libya, Eritrea, and Sudan) and Asia (Syria, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan). The Telegraph reported that as of May 26th, 681 people had crossed the Channel illegally this month, and 1336 have arrived since the COVID lockdown began on March 23rd.
Moreover, the quantity of Channel crossers is expected to increase.
And more troublingly French Navy vessels have been known to aid some of these illegal crossers.
So what is the United Kingdom’s government planning to do about this? On May 20th, Home Secretary (the cabinet officer responsible for immigration and domestic security) Priti Patel promised new legislation “after Britain leaves the EU.”
Wait, didn’t Britain already leave the European Union?
Well, yes, but it’s still a work in progress.
In the 2016 Brexit referendum UK voters voted to leave the European Union. The UK officially left on January 31st, 2020, but they are involved in more negotiations with the European Union, in a transition period scheduled to end December 31st of this year.
British politician Nigel Farage, a leader of the movement to leave the EU (and the first British politician to meet Trump after the latter’s election), is sounding the alarm on this issue recording videos on the coast and even from a boat in the English Channel itself. (See here and here). Good for him.
Now that the British are leaving the European Union, they cannot blame all their troubles on European bureaucrats. They have to take responsibility for themselves.
It’s high time for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK government to get control of their border, which is the English Channel.
If that involves changing laws, so be it. If that involves more patrol boats in the water, so be it.
After all, hundreds of years ago, the British defended their island with wooden ships, no radar, no radios, no GPS, and a smaller population.
Why can’t they do it now?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
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