2007 - 2020

The 3000

Cg9JqD0XEAAOwdEIn May 1937 3000 child refugees from the Spanish Civil War arrived in UK – here’s some photos of first days at North Stoneham Camp. Yesterday in a vote in the House of Commons, the government narrowly defeated a cross-party amendment to the immigration bill, tabled in the House of Lords, that would have seen the UK accept 3,000 child refugees. We turned them away. It’s profoundly distressing that we failed our responsibility as a country to protect vulnerable children today.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire,  said in Monday night’s debate that the government could not support a policy that would “inadvertently create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children alone, ahead and in the hands of traffickers, putting their lives at risk by attempting treacherous sea crossings to Europe which would be the worst of all outcomes”. 

The MPs who voted to turn away the 3,000 refugees who had travelled to Europe included: Douglas Carswell, Bill Cash, Ken Clark, Iain Duncan Smith, Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart, Michael Fabricant,  Oliver Letwin, Theresa May, Priti Patel, John Redwood, Jacob Rees-Mogg. Read the full list here.

Last night we could watch 24 Hours in Police Custody (Channel 4) in which “the Bedfordshire police returned for a new series”.  In which fifteen refugees – including two children – were found inside a locked, refrigerated lorry at Toddington services on the M1. The people were treated like they were a disease and the programme was for our entertainment. We saw a farmer searching his adjacent land for more refugees, while speaking in unfortunate similes. “It’s like a rat – you see one rat, and they say there’s another half a dozen out there.”

The gap between the refugees of the Stoneham camp – the fleeting glimpse into life of Basque refugees in 1937 – and our brutal anti-human culture today is striking and tells us much about our descent in the intervening period. Our war-mongering, our ‘liberal intervention’ – quickly followed by neoliberal intervention (Shock Doctrine) – then followed by this sort of sociopathic denial of responsibility is the order of the day. It’s repugnant.

The tone policy and coverage of the refugee crisis in Britain is appalling. Its been building for years and it needs challenged, radically altered and practical intervention to offer solidarity to people in suffering. From Hillsborough to the treatment of the Junior Doctors to the child refugee crisis there is a moral vaccum in government.

At least 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees are estimated to have applied for asylum in Europe last year.

Comments (12)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    The United Kingdom. This is it. Once great, now disgusting. Scotland needs to get away badly from this.

  2. Ian says:

    Bert – I totally agree with you. During the run up to the referendum English friends would ask us why we liked independence. Our standard answer became “Given a choice between a bit of an adventure or the same old shit we fancy the adventure”. Had we known the new almost subterranean levels of shit the government was about to drag the UK into (tax, NHS, refugees. the daily ignoring of ordinary people’s needs and wishes etc. etc. etc.) I think they would have voted to leave as well! As Bella says It’s repugnant

  3. Rab alexander says:

    The reason for the Tories decision not to accept the refugee bairns is that the bairns would be used to allow their families in in later. Who could possibly believe that complete distortion of the reality of the refugee situation. Heartless immoral war mongering scum. Three thousand bairns is a drop in the ocean to these vile creatures.
    End English Rule.

  4. katherine hamilton says:

    Leaving children to the mercy of who knows what defies belief. But it’s not only us. Does France not have a social work department? Imagine. A Coastal town, let’s say Largs. (I like Largs). Let’s cut the numbers a bit. 300 unaccompanied children are wandering about, I would think pretty aimlessly. At night they go to a place recently flattened by the state to find somewhere to sleep. Maybe bad people are around. Would you expect our cops and social workers to do something about it?
    F**cking right you would.

    This is yet another barrel scraping low for humanity.

    1. Legerwood says:

      Many of the unaccompanied children who are in the camp in France – I saw a figure of around 150 in one report – actually have family members in the UK but the UK Government seems to be dragging their feet about processing them and letting them in. Now why am I not surprised.

  5. George Gunn says:

    I would not compare the Weatminster Tories to humanity. The vote last night (Monday) was a very low point for even this lowdown government.

  6. George Gunn says:

    even if hey were Weatminster and not Westminster they are still lowdown and heartless.

  7. BILL A says:

    The current refugees are Muslim and brown. The Basque kids were white & Christian. What is it that folk don’t understand about tories ?

  8. David McCann says:

    They are not refugees. They are migrants, dont you know?
    And the media like it that way, which is why they always refer to them as such, unless of course they are Brits moving to a new life in the colonies, in which case they are ex-pats, and British film crews are sent out every so often to record the success stories for daytime TV viewing.

  9. John Mooney says:

    A disgusting attitude but typical abhorrent Tory outlook with their pathetic little Englander inherent fear of the”other”I hope some off the Scottish media pundits push for Ruthie the tank commander’s views on the inhuman treatment of these children but I wont hold my breath! What would this crew of detriments say about the kinder transport? I’m afraid this lot would do exactly the same thing because the are inherently fascist, it is in the Tory DNA.

  10. K says:

    Thanks for link to the beautiful photos of Stoneham. The comparison with now.. mike and everyone said it better than I can

    A family of Basque kids moved from Stoneham to live with my great grandparents, who were quakers and refugees themselves, and obsessive campaigners for Basic Income, called Social Credit back then.

    straying off topic… the founder of social credit theory mixed his evangelical christianity and antisemitism into his reasoning. I’ve been wondering if that’s why we don’t hear a lot about how strong support was for the Basic Income in the past, and if someone else had come up with social credit, would we be further on?

    Douglas was right that Basic Income has the potential to totally change the relationship between us and the state. After a few decades of living with BI, (and without FPTP), could a govt still assume we’ll either support them, or feel helpless and tolerate them doing this to children who are refugees?

    Not knowing what to do to help those kids be safe right now could make a person despair and close down to it all. For me, thinking about what’s changed since the 30’s and what hasn’t, it’s sane to feel some despair for a while. But they like us overwhelmed. Need to keep doing the bits we can, showing there’s an alternative, and demanding “the impossible”

  11. William says:

    Perhaps the nadir for this disgusting Government? I very rarely say it because it harks to the past, but to think that we could have been independent by now, playing no part in this despicable period for the UK.

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