Barlow's Beef: We shall fight on the beaches ..


Sorry for my digression into national news but the sight of 3,000 migrants storming the Euro Tunnel in a frantic bid to get to the UK fills me with dread. This is more than a catastrophe waiting to's a disaster of our own making.

The massive number of desperate individuals swarming Calais didn't just materialise over night, this crisis has been building for the past 18 months. At one point our own immigration officers were so overwhelmed by the number of illegal migrants arriving in the UK they released them on condition they attend a local police station the following day. (I wonder how that worked out?)

The growing storm made no impression on the EU who snoozed on oblivious.

The French government warned Mr Cameron the UK had become the destination of choice for unscrupulous gangs and organised people traffickers. Thus creating the tsunami of chaos at Calais.

The British government prevaricated while the crisis grew exponentially paralysing trade and transport.

Last week that crisis became anarchy as thousands of immigrants stormed the Eurotunnel ignoring all attempts at restraint.

Considering the phenomenal cost to taxpayers of the European Parliament one would have expected some united strategy to deal with the situation. Agreeing quotas for member states to spread the burden of accommodating those in genuine need would have been wise.

Ensuring those admitted stayed within the boundaries of their host nation rather than wandering freely throughout Europe was clearly required.

A united strategy for dealing with traffickers was an absolute essential.

What the EU Parliament actually did was argue with itself leaving those countries on the front line struggling with an escalating catastrophe.

As Churchill once proclaimed the best decision to make in any crisis is the right one, the second best decision is the wrong one and the worst is to make no decision at all.

Well, my friends, The Lion has finally stirred. Mr Cameron has a plan to deal with this crisis. The French will not be left to stand alone while their ports and passenger terminals are overrun by traffickers and criminal gangs. Britain is made of sterner stuff.

The British Prime Minister has spoken and no foes shall stay His Might (sorry...I got a bit carried away there).

The Dunkirk spirit has been revived.

On this occasion we will not be sending an expeditionary force. But, in a show of strength and determination the British Government will despatch...wait for it... some fencing and a few dogs.

Criminal gangs around the world are quaking in their Timberlands.

And still the EU snoozes on.

(When's that referendum?)

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Jon Williams
Tuesday 4th August 2015 at 12:21 pm
Well said Vic, time someone stud up to being British on here !
Peter Davidson
Tuesday 4th August 2015 at 6:21 pm
Well done Vic, this article is up to your usual "abysmal" standards

Stuffed full of vacuous rhetoric, fact free, shot through with rampant populism and laden with highly symbolic yet meaningless metaphors.

One of these days, you're going to surprise us with a well researched, balanced and stimulating article, based on facts and informed analysis - oh hang on a mo..........I've just spotted a bona fide avian porcine lifeform passing my window!
Jonathan Savill
Tuesday 4th August 2015 at 11:17 pm
Good statistical summary on c4 news tonight, worth a watch on catchup if you missed it.

The per Kcapita absorption of asylum seekers into Britain looks a bit minor league when compared to several other EU countries, not least Germany, Spain , Austria, Sweden and Norway.

Cast the net a bit further and look at Jordan and Lebanon to see some jaw dropping stats.

So concerning quotas balancing the burden across nations , contra to often reported story that we are a soft touch taking on more than a fair share, it may well turn out that the UK isn't pulling its weight on a per capita basis.
Gordon Roberts
Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 8:18 am
Of course Vic Barlow is correct those that think otherwise are sadly very mislead.What is happening in our country is leading to a collapse in the British way of life,young people have grown up among the turmoil,over population,the lack of respect and trust, the lies and deception that reaches to the highest levels of goverment. I was born in Cheshire sixty eight years ago,half my life has been spent in the Scottish Highlands,you know the place? occupied by those people who wish to tear our nation apart, dismantle our nuclear deterent, and generally create an unpleasent exsistance for all of us.
Now our very lives are put under threat by people who without any past history or identitiy are attempting to flood into the most overpopulated country in Europe.Among these people we have been warned are possible members of I.S. and other infiltraitors with similar wishes of death and destruction.We are not strangers in the UK to acts of terrorism we have witnessed first hand the death and destruction caused by these acts and this form of threat and violence is very real and is here to stay. I now no longer live in my beautiful Britain, for I feel it is not mine any longer it was taken away from me by people I voted into power, people who do not care about the indigenous species and we were never asked our opinion.Like everyone else on this planet I did not ask to be born, but I do feel entitled to a quality during my lifetime,not one of my home being broken into, my car being stolen, my environment being polluted with noise and litter, my identity being stolen along with my credit card details.In recent history we have never been invaded,even the German threat was laid aside,we were different people then we had leaders to be proud of.Look at us now we can't even unite to defend our borders and we will all pay for our complacency,and Britain will never be the same again.
Claire MacLeod
Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 10:00 am

Your impassioned post makes interesting, if illogical reading. Can I deduce that you are a firm supporter of the British Empire (as was)? So the idea that we Brits could blunder around the globe, claiming as 'ours' any country we fancied, by over-powering the indigenous people with mind-blowing arrogance and brutality, well that was fine? But you object to the idea that migrants, escaping their own war-torn, poverty-stricken nations, might try (at any cost, even their own lives) to seek a peaceful life here in 'our' country?

Your comment is littered with emotive propaganda. Do you read the Daily Mail, by any chance? I think your remark that these 'people who without any past history or identity are attempting to flood into the most overpopulated country in Europe' is particularly telling. What exactly do you mean 'without any past history or identity'? Do please enlighten us.

May I respectfully suggest that you take the minute and a half to view this C4 video that Jonathan Savill recommends in his post above? Here's the link to make it even easier for you.

Watch it and then perhaps reread your post and understand how difficult it is to take any of your comments seriously when they are supported by completely inaccurate 'facts'.
Gordon Roberts
Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 1:28 pm
Firstly I must stress that I fully understand your concerns on humanitarian grounds, but be very careful what you wish for.
Please clarify your term, quote inaccurate facts.And just before you add comment about, without past history or identity,I have spent the last two years passing through these people both on ferries and in tunnels more times than I wish to count.These are not the caring upright individuals you would want as neighbours, many of them are from war torn countrys and have no boundrys or limits as to what they will do to get what they want,ask the people of Calais there lives have been a misery.Before you run to the aid and support of these people, run a few checks and you will see I am correct.The border agency will confirm they cannot trace the past history,or have any proof of who many of these people say they are. They carry in many cases forged documents.and many health conditions that we do not want brought to our shores. The amount of violent crime rape and theft have all risen dramatically in Calais and surrounding areas Drivers of lorries and camping cars have been threatened with knives and clubs,not very convincing from people who want to start a decent and law abiding life in Britain. The very cruel side of all this is that these are humans,and do not in anyway deserve the conditions they find themselves in, but that is another story and not one for the present post.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 9:10 pm
My point was the EU should have a strategy to deal with this growing crisis.
The alternative is to have no strategy.
I doubt any sane person considers that a sensible policy.
Vic Barlow
Wednesday 5th August 2015 at 9:26 pm
Thanks for that Jonathan
Unfortunately I could not find the Channel 4 item on catch up and the link Claire gave above didn't work.
I'll try it again tomorrow I would like to see the figures.
I have no idea why the EU appear so inept in the face of this growing crisis?
Jonathan Savill
Thursday 6th August 2015 at 11:28 am
Hi Vic

The second graph on this web page broadly balances to the C4 stats.

I guess my point here is that if you randomly asked 100 British people which countries are bearing the greatest burden of asylum issue, 90+ would suggest Britain would be near the top of the list. We see however in Europe alone we are 19th in terms of asylum entries per capita by the million. Digging further into the figures for the more stable middle east countries absorbing asylum entries reveals per capita rates that are through the roof.

If we go on couple what looks a majority misconception above with the popular conflation of asylum statistics with net freedom of movement EU migration, we understand how the story gets ramped up in the eyes of many British people.They conclude that things are "very bad indeed" for us in the UK and become hard set in their anti-asylum views.

I wonder though, with a backdrop of the actual figures providing a rather different context, people could look again and maybe re-visit their thoughts on the matter. If we are suffering as Gordon suggests then we must be suffering disproportionately less than many other nations.
Claire MacLeod
Thursday 6th August 2015 at 7:46 pm
I'm sorry the link no longer works, Vic. Technology beyond my control. But I think that Jonathan's second link and remarks in relation to it, are entirely accurate. They reflect similar data in my/his original link.

It's important to see the UK's situation within the wider context. I agree that there needs to be a wider and, ideally, co-ordinated strategy to address this issue. Perhaps getting to grips with why these 'migrants' (refugees) are risking their own lives in order to flee, whether it is civil war/ poverty/ ISIS etc etc is too big a nettle to grasp?
Gordon Roberts
Friday 7th August 2015 at 8:02 am
I believe the rest of the nation understood the root cause of this transpiring tragedy eighteen months ago,but I do understand your position as a probable Independent reader being a wee bitty out of touch.
I would consider the resolve of such a matter to be far more important than your concern with grasping nettle's. Its our country there heading for.
Vic Barlow
Friday 7th August 2015 at 3:22 pm
The net annual immigration figures of 300,000 is probably what makes an impact on UK residents.
It's an additional city The size of Bristol every 18 months.
If ever there was a time for the EU to get involved with a long term plan and address the root causes .
It needs international determination and open minds to find a solution. We all need to move out of our entrenched positions.
Thanks to everyone for their constructive contribution.
Peter Davidson
Sunday 9th August 2015 at 3:23 pm
Vic Barlow: “My point was the EU should have a strategy to deal with this growing crisis. The alternative is to have no strategy. I doubt any sane person considers that a sensible policy.”

I rest my case Vic – yet another example of your utterly ill-informed throwaway remarks, backed up by your standard pejorative terminology and reductive narratives – if the subject wasn’t so serious, one could laugh them off as simply irrelevant – but this topic is deadly (quite literally) so your commentary is disturbing at the very least, some might argue inflammatory and downright dangerous?

The fact that you make this kind of statement merely serves to illustrate (if anybody really needed confirmation?) your frightening (for that read ZERO) lack of knowledge/understanding about the complex nature of European geo-political discourse - not the first topic you seem to not have the first clue about?

Some background information might be useful at this point

In simple terms the EU exhibits no coordinated strategy on the issue of illegal migrants attempting to enter Europe (and by default Britain) because it holds boasts no direct mandate / institutional capacity to formulate such policy

This failure (as you perceive it) is a direct consequence flowing from systemic flaws within the institutional architecture of the European Union itself

A constant refrain whenever the topic of European integration surfaces is the alleged “Democratic Deficit” implicit in any notion of pan-European governmental activity. This response betrays a basic lack of understanding about why the concept of formalised links between disparate European nation state entities arose in the first place and how that complex process has been shaped by historical events/geo-political actors.

For this democratic deficit to exist, it implies the existence of a robust, self-sustaining and consensual European democracy – but this doesn’t yet function in any meaningful form because a democracy worthy of that term must exhibit the following fundamental features;

• A European Citizenry (a body politic of self-aware [specifically European] citizens)
• Sovereignty: A populace identifying as European who can exert collective sovereignty
• A Constitution: Expression of collective sovereign will formation is manifested primarily thorough documented primary law, ie. a [codified] constitution
• Legitimacy: Consensual citizens, acting collectively confer legitimacy on their respective state, providing for a democratic mandate acted upon through executive and legislative functions
• Accountability: The aforesaid state’s institutions, bodies, and agencies are held accountable to the people (directly through the ballot box)

None of the above features actually exist, substantively, on a pan-European level

• No European demos : European citizenship is inferior to any national citizenship, perhaps best illustrated by the manner in which elected Members of the European Parliament are limited / secondary actors, effectively “rubber stamping” legislation enacted through an overarching inter-governmental framework;
• No European sovereignty: A European State does not really exist, merely an inter-governmental club of democracies largely defined by an intrinsically technocratic principle of “common rules without common politics”
• No European constitution: the EU/EMU’s primary body of law is a set of inter-state Treaties; a system that renders member (nation) states as the constitutional subjects, leaving citizens on a European level with an indirect, marginal and ancillary role
• No direct legitimacy: There is no EU Executive function, the theoretical Executive is a Commission, formed from appointees largely at the behest of the individual member (nation) states and drawing its mandate directly from an inter-governmental institution – the European Council. The Legislative function (European Parliament) is also weak, unable to initiate legislation
• No real accountability: The above features render its institutional structure relatively opaque; a flaw compounded by the fact that, in the absence of a proper European state, technocrats hold sway over regulatory frameworks impacting upon the lives of ordinary citizens without being held sufficiently accountable by anyone, and without their discretion being subject to review through ordinary parliamentary procedures (Treaty amendments are necessary and they require unanimity among Member States).

In summary the EU remains fundamentally intergovernmental in nature, an array of member (nation) states with common aims and a formalised rule book but not much more in terms of institutional architecture

When we consider the current migrant crisis it’s worth taking a look at the following

November 2014: after a period in which the European Union had operated a reasonably well resourced project labelled “Mare Nostrum” this collaborative effort is cancelled and replaced by “Operation Triton”, a far smaller EU mission with a third of the budget that will run until at least the end of 2015. – why, because pressure from individual member state administrations perceived the “Mare Nostrum” scheme as “interventionist”, too successful in detecting, intercepting and ultimately rescuing survivors from failed illegal attempts to cross between North Africa and Southern Europe
Monday, 13th April: Hundreds drown after a packed migrant boat capsizes.
Thursday 16th April: Forty-one people drown trying to reach Italy by boat from Libya.
Sunday, 19th April: A smuggler's boat carrying 950 people, some locked in the hold, capsizes off Libya's coast in what is feared to be the Mediterranean's deadliest known migrant tragedy. It is thought as many as 700 people died.

The episodes outlined above are an inevitable direct consequence of the scaled down Mediterranean operation described here - a tragic (and completely avoidable) loss of life.

So how has the EU responded since early summer?

During June & July, repeated initiatives were made by Commission officials to formulate a coherent policy to meet the massive logistical and social challenges presented by the migrant boat crisis, which we should recall, directly affects whole swathes of Southern Europe, including Spain, Italy, Greece & Bulgaria, more acutely than the UK

This effort was torpedoed by harsh realpolitik, as this article intimates - to summarise the "European agenda" was driven entirely by short term, national concerns and actors, exclusively hostile to the notion of a collaborative European policy approach, which smacked of an "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy – events rapidly demonstrated the flawed nature of such thinking?

So why did these individual national pressures prevail – the answer of course is, precisely due to the balance of power inherent within the EU’s institutional architecture, outlined above!

The following article provides an informative and relatively balanced account of the complex equation operating in this sphere

I don’t have all the answers but one thing is abundantly clear – immigration pressures, exerted through both legal & illegal channels, lie outside the scope of any individual nation state to control and shape – this is a “European” problem requiring “European” solutions – so yes, your glib remarks might just contain a grain of common sense rationale but ultimately remain plain wrong (on an epic scale) – furthermore I suspect any rational, coherent response emanating from the EU and implemented on a pan-European scale, would have you running for the hills, screaming blue murder and muttering about 5th columnist EU Brussels inspired plots designed to infiltrate dear old blighty by stealth?

To conclude, why any media outlet, even one as minor as, continues to provide you with the medium of column space to expound your populist brand of ill-informed rhetoric remains a mystery to me?
Glenn Hudson
Tuesday 11th August 2015 at 6:01 am
Suggest a little less caffeine Peter.
Lesley Broome
Thursday 13th August 2015 at 1:35 pm
The bottom line folks is we are a SMALL country already stretched to maximum load of people living the world an impression of easy living...quelle surprise then that all and sundry try to live here!!!