Tag Archives: Kent

As the Home Office ships more people into concentration camp, join the fight to close Napier Barracks for good

Napier barracks: a journalist was arrested for taking photographs of a protest against conditions in the camp in January – not for taking part, but for embarrassing the Tory government that forces people to live in such inhumane, unhygienic conditions.

It’s scandalous – isn’t it? – that after being forced to empty the notorious Napier Barracks concentration camp for refugees, the Tory government is planning to fill it up again.

The camp, which housed around 400 people in homicidally cramped conditions (during the Covid-19 lockdowns, remember) in which 28 people were forced to share dormitories, was cleared after half its residents contracted the virus.

As an observer, This Writer can only conclude that this was the intention. Why else would Priti Patel put asylum-seekers in such unsuitable accommodation? Remember: other possibilities were available but ignored.

Independent inspectors have reported that the former barracks in Kent is unfit to house anybody at all, pronouncing it “filty” and “impoverished”.

According to The Guardian, the Home Office has absolutely no problem with inflicting more suffering on anybody unfortunate enough to be sent to the Napier site:

“We secured permission to use Napier barracks for 12 months and while pressure on the asylum system remains will continue to make use of the site.”

Take particular notice of the wording: “While pressure on the asylum system remains [we] will continue to make use of the site.”

It indicates that SNP MP Stuart McDonald was right when he said:

“That choice is a political one.

“The whole Home Office machine is hell-bent on ensuring life for people seeking refuge is as miserable as possible in the hope it will put off others from applying for refugee status.”

It has been said before but it is well worth reminding everyone that Home Secretary Priti Patel’s parents fled persecution by Idi Amin in Uganda to settle in the UK – and, to the best of our knowledge, they didn’t have to live in a dehumanising concentration camp.

Now she is very deliberately doing her very best to prevent anybody in a similar position today from doing the same.

In so doing, she sets herself up as a prime example of the selfishness and inhumanity of the current Conservative government – which is fascist in all but name.

Campaigning site 38 Degrees has launched a petition calling on the government to remember its humanity, if not its sanity, close the camp and find humane accommodation for the people being sent there. Already it has accumulated more than 77,000 signatures.

Yours will help change Patel’s mind. Please sign by visiting the petition page here.

Source: Home Office to send more asylum seekers to ‘unsuitable’ Napier barracks | Home Office | The Guardian

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Journalist arrest after Kent refugee camp protest shows how the Tories put down dissent

Napier barracks: I believe this is one of the images that led to the police arresting Andy Aitchison. But if he was behind a camera, how could he have been carrying out criminal damage?

Whoever would have predicted that the United Kingdom would descend to this?

The Conservative government, under xenophobic Home Secretary Priti Patel, has opened a series of concentration camps where they have dumped hundreds of asylum-seekers.

I wrote about them in December last year.

The camps have inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities.

Camp residents are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

They have to sleep in dormitories of up to 28 people – which is probably why more than 100 people at the Napier Barracks camp in Kent have contracted the virus in the last two weeks.

The Home Office reaction was to blame people living in the camp, saying residents (inmates would be a better word) refused to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules that they could not have followed because of the conditions forced on them by the Home Office.

Conditions there led to activists protesting outside the site on Thursday morning, where they allegedly threw buckets of food colouring, water and shampoo or conditioner – fake blood – at the gate and on the ground in front of the gate.

Demonstrators had signs reading: “Close Napier now” and “Priti Patel: there will be blood on your hands”.

Freelance photographer Andy Aitchison attended and took photographs, some of which appeared in local press reports of the protest.

Around six hours after the protest, matters took a sinister turn when police arrived at Mr Aitchison’s house and arrested him for criminal damage.

Really? Criminal damage? He took some photos of a demonstration that was embarrassing to the Conservative government and to Priti Patel and this arrest looks like suspicious use of the police for political purposes.

On Friday afternoon (January 29), a fire broke out in the camp – cause unknown. Fortunately Mr Aitchison can’t be blamed – one of his bail conditions is not to go to the camp.

Patel herself had the cheek to publish a statement accusing people at the barracks of vandalising property, threatening staff and putting lives at risk.

She actually told us that this behaviour was “deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country”:

No, Priti Patel. You are deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country. You have made us complicit in providing facilities of such poor quality that they actually endanger the lives of the people you force to live there.

This Writer thinks there should be an investigation into what is happening at Napier Barracks and any connection between that and Patel.

I think the use of the police to intimidate a photojournalist for doing his job must also be probed.

Sadly, I know the UK’s institutions are as corrupt as they come. No such investigations will happen and if there has been corrupt behaviour, those responsible will be protected. Over the last 40 years, it’s what we’ve all been voting for.

Source: ‘It’s censorship’: Journalist arrested after photographing protest outside controversial asylum camp | The Independent

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If you think conditions in Priti Patel’s planned concentration camp are bad, you should see them in the ones she already has

Auschwitz was a concentration camp: it seems Priti Patel may have found in Covid-19 a more socially-acceptable way of wiping out her refugees than the gas chamber.

It seems a lot of people were shocked by the revelation that Priti Patel is planning to open a concentration camp in Hampshire – with all the connotations of that phrase – for foreign refugees.

If you thought that was bad, what will you think of the fact that she is already running two such camps – subjecting the inmates to squalor, indignity and the threat of Covid-19 – in south Wales and Kent.

An article in The Canary describes conditions in the Penally camp, south Wales, as “hellish”.

Camp residents complain of inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities. They are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

60% or more of the camp’s 42 toilets were not working, leaving the residents in severely unsanitary conditions. The toilets were eventually fixed but … this wasn’t the first time the toilets had been out of action. In fact: “This is the fourth time in three weeks.”

The only functional showers in Penally are shared, without any private cubicles. “A month ago they brought in caravans containing private showers, but no-one use them because they have no hot water. So they are just for show.” When residents have finished showering, they have to put on their coat straightaway to go out into the freezing cold.

There are precious few measures in place to protect against the spread of coronavirus in Penally. “Hand sanitiser and soap dispensers are often either empty or not working. Outside the canteen, there is one dispenser which is often left empty, including for three days on one occasion.” Mask wearing is only enforced within the dining area, and masks are only available on request.

A minibus of 15 new residents arrived at the camp on Wednesday 16 December. Some of the existing camp residents asked if these newcomers had been tested for coronavirus; they were told ‘It’s not your business’. “They say that we need to be careful about spreading Covid, but they put us all together in shared rooms, with not enough toilets and shared showers We eat in the same dining hall, and we wait together in the queue for food – I think they sent us here to get Corona and die.”

This is the situation in Priti Patel’s concentration camp Britain. People are sent to filthy, degrading hovels which they are forced to share with others who may have a disease that is currently killing hundreds of people in the UK every day.

And she wants to open more.

Source: ‘Every day it’s getting worse’ – a refugee calls for ‘massive protests’ over conditions at Home Office camp | The Canary

Boris Johnson’s Lie of the Day: he never cut the number of lorries queuing in Kent


Why does he do it?

In his latest car-crash (please don’t groan) TV press conference, Boris Johnson told us that he had taken action to reduce the number of lorries queuing in Kent to be transported to continental Europe, as both the UK and the EU prepare for new trading conditions from January.

Oh, really?

What are all these, then?

Those of you who saw the broadcast might be saying, “Ah, but! Johnson was referring to lorries on the M20 – and that’s some airport runway, from the look of it!”

Yes indeed. These appear to be the overspill from the M20 – lorries that have been diverted to park elsewhere.

But it doesn’t mean that Johnson wasn’t misleading us. Oh, and let’s make it clear – it’s Boris Johnson who made the misleading statement (this for the benefit of the BBC):

For clarity:

The tailback was precipitated by Johnson’s (him again!) announcement on Saturday (December 19) that he was cancelling a planned relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas because of the unexpected virulence of a new mutation of the virus – a situation of which, it transpires, he has only been aware for four months (since late September).

The international response from around 40 countries now has been to close their borders to any and all traffic to and from the UK – hence the queue in Kent.

Why did Johnson lie?

Well, that’s a very good question:

One aspect of this situation that isn’t being discussed by Johnson is the fact that he is creating a huge health risk by failing to provide emergency food and sanitation facilities for more than a thousand stranded lorry drivers:

Isn’t Johnson begging for a new outbreak of Covid-19 – right there among the drivers – by failing to provide basic facilities for cleanliness?

He is responsible for this; it was his decision that created the situation.

I wonder how he will talk his way out of it.

With a lie, I expect…

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Claims the ‘Farage Garage’ flooding story was a hoax… turn out to be a hoax

Farage’s legacy: this land is set to become a parking zone for 17,000 lorries.

We all had a laugh at the name given to a planned lorry park in Kent to accommodate expected customs delays following full Brexit on January 1 next year – right?

(If you’re not aware of this, skip back to this article and enjoy the references to the ‘Farage Garage’ and ‘Jacob Rees Bogs’.)

And yesterday we had a laugh at the following:

Then it seemed someone was having a laugh at us…

But it seems the story is accurate after all:

The story states:

Work on a huge post-Brexit lorry park is running behind schedule after heavy rain forced contractors to down tools.

The Department for Transport says it had to suspend construction of the 1,700-space facility in Ashford earlier this week “to manage surface water levels”.

Whether the site really does flood four times a year is not made clear, although it has clearly managed it once since construction started.

Thanks go to to Artemis (above) for the link to the Kent Online story.

And to the person who sent a snarky comment to This Site about “fake news” – perhaps you should do some research of your own before flinging wild accusations!

 

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Brexit will ruin the Garden of England; Brits respond in typical style

Farage’s legacy: it may not look like much now, but when it’s finished, this huge segment of the Garden of England will be a lorry park for 1,700 vehicles – the Farage Garage. The Jacob Rees-Bogs haven’t been installed yet.

This has been cracking me up since I first heard of it this morning (October 16) and I’m only sorry I had to wait until now to write an article about it.

It seems the practical upshot of Brexit is that Kent – also known as the Garden of England – is being bulldozed, in order to turn it into an enormous lorry park.

This is all being carried out by a political organisation that describes itself by the misnomer of “Conservatives”. What are they conserving, exactly?

British people, knowing that this is a result of the nation leaving the European Union, have dubbed the first such lorry park – set to hold 1,700 vehicles – the ‘Farage Garage.

Apparently the on-site toilets have been designated the ‘Jacob Rees-Bogs’.

Twitter has been gridlocked with it. See for yourself:

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Kexit: for the UK to leave the EU, it seems Kent must leave the UK. Spot the hypocrisy?

The UK’s new border: and the Tories can’t say it’s being imposed on us by anybody but them.

It’s all gone horribly wrong for Boris Johnson’s Brexit.

The government that decided to break international law – and threaten the peace in Northern Ireland – by overruling the Brexit plan to put an internal customs border – within the UK – in the Irish Sea…

… is self-imposing an internal border within the UK – where Kent meets Surrey.

That’s one example of Tory hypocrisy. Let’s see how many more we can find.

Here’s one: the new border means the party that said it would rid the UK of unwanted ‘red tape’ is burying itself under a new mountain of the stuff; Michael Gove is desperately trying to recruit a staggering 50,000 “customs agents” to help business prepare for it.

The measures are deemed necessary to prevent the creation of 7,000-long lorry queues and two-day waits to cross the Channel after the full force of Brexit hits us on January 1, 2021.

So:

Police will patrol the Kent border to turn away lorries without an “access permit”.

Officers will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and “other means” to block drivers.

So it seems any trucker without these new travel passports will be arrested in what hauliers say is an attempt to shift blame for the looming disruption onto them (Tory hypocrisy number three).

The social media wits have really gone to town on this one (which is more than permit-less hauliers will be allowed to do) – using the new regulation to ridicule the attitudes of many jingoistic (Brexiteer) Brits:

Singled out for mockery is arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage:

They point out that the policy move is an insult to Scotland:

Speculation has been rife about the EU’s response:

It is, after all, particularly ironic:

But at least there is an oven-ready excuse for this additional border: Kent already has a Deal.

Source: Brexit: Police to stop lorries without permits entering Kent in new ‘internal border’ | The Independent

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Flooding: Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab? There’s an EU fund!

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

It seems that David ‘Money Is No Object’ Cameron is unnecessarily forcing British taxpayers to fork out for flood relief while European officials scratch their heads and wonder why he isn’t taking advantage of a huge EU fund that is available to us.

We should all know why the comedy Prime Minister is avoiding Europe – he doesn’t want to lose face.

Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party across the UK criticise our membership because we pay so much in and take so little out (in their perception); this argument would be defeated if Cameron actually used the fund in the manner for which it was created and he would then lose support from members of his Parliamentary party.

Also, at a time when the UK’s future in Europe is being questioned, it would be “politically sensitive” (as Reuters describes it) for Cameron to go there and ask for a handout.

But governments are judged on the way they deal with crises (as the Political Rant blog put it) – and this one has put Cameron, figuratively as well as literally, between the rock and the river.

According to Reuters: “Asked whether Britain would ask for EU money, Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters on Wednesday the government was looking at every source of possible funding, playing down the idea that there was anything political behind it.

“Under EU rules, a country has 10 weeks from the first damage caused by a natural disaster to request aid.

“A person close to Cameron said there were technical grounds to do with spending thresholds that determined when to apply for a grant. Britain had no desire to get into a war of words with Brussels on the matter, he said.”

The news agency added that the government had deployed the armed forces to evacuate residents and shore up river defences, while under fire from critics for what ministers have acknowledged was a slow initial response.

Political Rant is less diplomatic (as you might expect): “Ken Clarke said it was just a normal winter and people complaining about flood defences were just a ‘lynch mob’. Eric Pickles criticised the Environment Agency while the Environment Agency criticised government cuts and Owen Paterson criticised Eric Pickles.

“David Cameron has undertaken several jaunts in his nice clean wellies, first to Kent just after Christmas where he was harangued by people left waist-deep in water without power for a week, then Somerset which he only visited after Prince Charles had been the day before, making it look rather silly the Prime Minister hadn’t bothered, and … to Cornwall where, a friend tells me, Railtrack diverted engineers who were supposed to be fixing the washed-out rail line at Dawlish to shake hands with the PM at a rail depot.

“The same PM has talked sadly about how a power cut interrupted his viewing of The Sound of Music on New Year’s Day while staying silent about two SSE engineers who said they were diverted from reinstating the power for 11,000 people to locate his trip switch.

“When the floods recede, we are more than likely to find a few people who died.”

Yes, and they’ll be in rural areas because the increased funds Cameron has announced amount only to a slightly smaller cut than he had originally intended, and the funding formula for flood defences demands £8 of economic benefit for every £1 spent – meaning a concentration on densely-populated urban areas.

Add to that the fact that Cameron only bothered to act when Conservative-voting areas were affected – the Somerset Levels, Windsor, Reading, Oxdfordshire, Surrey, Kent – and couldn’t care less when the waters were hitting places like Scunthorpe (as revealed on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday) and Cameron has put himself in a serious political mire.

He has made it clear that his is a government that only looks after its own supporters.

Everyone else can drown.

We won’t forget that.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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