Friday, 19 February 2010

Truth behind Daily Express smears


Respect Party leader, Salma Yaqoob has taken the Daily Express to task for its demonisation of asylum seekers.

The Daily Express had an
exclusive yesterday about the way immigrants are having ‘fun and games as they wait to get into Britain’. Apparently, French charities have converted a warehouse to provide sheltered accommodation for immigrants at Calais. The report describes the centre like it was some kind of holiday resort, where guests ‘are being treated like VIP’s’. Read past the headlines though and you find the centre was actually ‘closed down 12 days previously after Calais authorities deemed it unfit for public use’. Some resort.

Read a bit further and you find that the notorious CRS riot squads cleared the centre of the remaining charity workers and users, with the aid of their batons and riot shields. Not exactly my idea of a holiday. In other words, the Express story is in substance a non-story. Just another way to feed hatred and suspicion about immigrants. As if we don’t have enough already. And even if there did exist for a brief period of time a well resourced centre for those in need of shelter, so what?

Surely, that is a humane thing to do for the many men, women and children gathered in Calais in the desperate hope of starting a new life? Of course it is, but you won’t find many politicians saying so. Instead, most are too happy to pander to ugly demonizations of asylum seekers and immigrants.