Police called round to the House of Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, and all round thorn in the side of the establishment, yesterday, to advise him on what is and isn't allowed during lockdown.
They were interested in the popular talk show broadcaster because he had been taking his role as a journalist seriously and reporting on one aspect of the Covid-lockdown that has nigh on been ignored by the mainstream media -- the hundreds of illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel on a variety of craft.
Two members of the Kent constabulary rocked up at his home on the borders of rural Kent, because complaints had been made by political opponents keen to silence his voice.
Over the past few months, there has been an increasing level of migration across the 26 miles of the English Channel, last month over 45, and this year well over a 1000 that we know about. They arrive in three ways. Either they are picked up by the border patrol, often inches out of French national waters as many of the boats are tracked by the new drone patrols, where they are then ferried back to the UK and placed in overcrowded immigration centres. They arrive on a deserted beach and are picked up by local authorities and taken to immigration centres – untested for the virus. Thirdly and most worryingly and we don’t have the first idea of how many they are, they arrive, land and disappear into the countryside never to be seen again.
Farage told me,
“All over the country, journalists are reporting the news, they are deemed to be essential workers.
“For some reason this doesn’t apply to me, last week I went down to east Sussex and covered migrants arriving and not being picked up by the border patrol, they were unaccounted for and were disappearing into the English countryside.
“It was 9.40 last night and I was sitting at home, with a glass of red wine, there was a knock on the door and there were two policemen from the Kent police. They had come to my door to talk to me about what is essential travel during the Covid crisis. I explained that I was acting as a journalist with a daily radio show and a regular column in the national press. According to the Government’s own guidelines that is a key worker role”.
What is telling about this is that the previous week, when Farage had reported from the Sussex coast, the police there had received over 1,000 complaints about his activity, but the Sussex police sent a proforma back to the complainants pointing out that Mr. Farage was acting in his role as a journalist. The difference is that Kent police decided to fire a shot against the politician and broadcasters' bows by sending the boys round.
What is even stranger is that they went out of their geographical jurisdiction to do so. Mr. Farage lives in the London Metropolitan police district, so these officers were out of their own patch, in order to intimidate a public figure going about his legitimate functions, under the legislation.
Farage, by reporting on the UK’s increasingly porous borders, has upset his political opponents. These people, rather than address his arguments instead merely want to silence them. The real tragedy is that the police force themselves are happy to be used in this transparently political way, becoming tools of an attempt to legally stifle free speech.
Farage went on,
“They at least had the decency to look sheepish and you could tell that their hearts were not in it. They had been sent to me because yesterday I went to Dover. (I saw 16 illegal immigrants being brought into Dover. I’m told there would have been 32, but the other boat broke down within a mile of the French coast, in French waters.
“My argument is that we have over a thousand people who have come to this county this year, that we know about and many, many more that are unknown. Someday, we don’t know when one of these boats will be hit by a tanker – the Straits of Dover are the world’s busiest shipping lane, and we will have a humanitarian tragedy on our hands.
“If they are refugees, they shouldn’t be coming, France is their safe country and they should register there as has been clear in international law for 70 years. I am trying to bring a spotlight onto something that has slipped off the news agenda because of the pandemic. It is a spotlight the authorities would like to see switched off.
"Those who aren’t picked up buy the authorities must be going into work of some sort. It is very unlikely that they have the approximately £5000 they need to pay the criminal gangs who traffic them so in all likelihood they vanish into some form of modern slavery, in order to pay back the gangs”.
The point Farage is trying to make is one that needs to be heard. Allowing illegal immigrants to get into the country as we do, ferrying people who should be sent straight back to France, to the UK in official vessels is encouraging more to risk the journey, to risk their lives. It emboldens criminal enterprises to maintain what amounts to a modern slave trade.
Now we have the authorities conspiring with Mr Farage’s political opponents to try and intimidate him into silence.
In writing this article I contacted the Kent Police press office. It’s mailbox was full. It then automatically transferred me to a different county force, whose automatic message told me that the press office was closed to telephone enquiries. Now more than ever, when there have been multiple examples of the police in the UK overstepping their constitutional and legal role, is not a time for them to close down on transparency.
As Farage puts it, this is Lockdown Lunacy.
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