By William Hallowell.

Johnson’s Executive is under intense scrutiny at the moment. If he can’t get to grips with the scores of people arriving on our south-eastern shores, the public may U-turn their support. 

The pandemic has seen a dramatic increase in the level of illegal immigration to Britain.

As of 22 November this year, 25,700 migrants have crossed the Channel – and this number will continue to climb if the Government can’t get a hold of the problem. 

Only last month, a record number of 1,100 migrants arrived on our shores over two days. To put that into perspective, 1,800 migrants arrived in the whole of 2019.

Nigel Farage predicted this summer, that the number would exceed 20,000, and potentially even reach 30,000, by the end of this year. Despite it seeming far-fetched at the time, Farage’s latter estimation is increasingly likely now – inevitable perhaps

The problem for Boris Johnson is that under his leadership, the Conservative Party has taken a step away from conservatism, and is failing to deliver on its manifesto promises. A recent example of this is the National Insurance hikes. The Government’s decision to increase contributions by 1.25%, which will disadvantage and disgruntle many working and middle-class earners, was a backtrack on its manifesto promise not to increase National Insurance by any means. 

Now, too, elements of the Government’s plans for HS2 are being scrapped, leaving northern working-class voters, who will be vital to the Prime Minister come the next election, wondering quite what his ‘Levelling Up’ commitment means. By dropping plans for the eastern leg of the controversial development, northerners who backed Boris will be questioning what on Earth they elected him for.

The recent lobbying scandal has also left a stain on Johnson’s Government. Keir Starmer’s accusations of ‘sleaze’ and ‘incompetence’ have been widely ignored throughout the last two years up until this point – but the Prime Minister’s management of the Paterson affair will have voters questioning whether or not they made the right decision two years ago. 

On top of all this, Johnson is yet to take control of our borders as the number of illegal immigrants arriving in Britain grows continuously. Before Brexit, the EU was an easy scapegoat for the Conservative Party to explain to the public why they haven’t been able to get to grips with the influx of refugees arriving from France – hence the Prime Minister’s commitment to ‘Take Back Control’.

But now that we have left, and the numbers are rising significantly, the public are beginning to wonder what this Government is doing – or rather, what it isn’t doing

Instead of engaging in fishing rows with President Macron, Johnson must show the British public that he is asserting his dominance and getting France to do more to help Britain – which is what the public want to see. Unfortunately, Priti Patel announcing that the Home Office paying French authorities millions to deal with the crisis does not portray the image of dominant Government in control. 

Additionally, the scenes from other European countries taking a harder stance against illegal immigration is showing up British Government. As tensions rise on the border between Poland and Belarus, Polish authorities have raised barbed-wire fences and deployed water cannons and tear-gas to deter migrants from attempting to cross the border, which would present a gateway into western Europe. And after the catastrophe in Afghanistan this summer, Greece hastily assembled a Trump-esque wall on its border with Turkey due to the foreseeable refugee crisis. 

Unfortunately for the British Government, the fact that our European friends are taking a more authoritative approach towards illegal immigration is a problem – because it makes Britain look almost weak, and like Johnson isn’t doing enough… which he isn’t.

What has harmed the British Government greatly, arguably even the most, is the tough-talking rhetoric without tough action.

Perhaps if the Home Secretary hadn’t been so bold in her words, the public wouldn’t be expecting bold actions. But now, time and the public’s patience are short. 

What Johnson’s Government must do, is take the long overdue steps to strip the incentives to coming to the UK. By making it known that if refugees attempt to cross the Channel they won’t be put up in accommodation or hotels, won’t be given pocket money and won’t all be given indefinite leave to remain, the Conservative Party will be taking the right steps to reassure the public that this is the Government to handle the issue. Otherwise, their support will scatter to third-party alternatives. 

As well as reducing incentives, refugees will also be deterred from Britain by the Government ensuring that their cases will be processed far from the mainland with the guarantee of no return. It seems rather impractical, as Priti Patel has previously suggested, that migrants be processed as far as Ascension Island – but the principle is there. That is partly how Australia curbed their problem with illegal immigration in the past. 

The truth of the matter is that as long as the social and financial incentives in Britain remain for migrants, more will come.

What scrapping these incentives will do is cut the number of migrants to support the people smuggling gangs – and without custom, they’ll have no business. Thus, the supply and demand cycle of people smuggling businesses will be dramatically interfered with, curbing the problem. 

To ensure the Government keeps the public on side, the Prime Minister must keep up with his European counterparts and take further steps to tackle the problem. 

There seems a growing sentiment of discontent with – and within – the Conservative Party, particularly more so since the latest lobbying scandal. Johnson must get to grips with the migrant crisis, or else there will be disastrous consequences for his Government and its future. If the Prime Minister doesn’t, this Government will fall. 

For more from William Hallowell please follow him on Twitter.

© 2021 William Hallwell


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