The recent events in Calais, when a mob of economic migrants attempted to storm a ferry, brings into sharp highlight the continuing attraction of the UK for the world's poor. Given that government is doing what it can to deny public-funded subsistence and services, what is the attraction? The answer I think is the massive charitable and third-sector support network for economic migrants, bolstered by sympathetic rebels in the NHS and social housing sector who are prepared to defy government initiatives to cut-off the prizes.
The Refugee Council boasts of 'supporting and empowering refugees' and offers services and links including 'support in accessing the NHS services' and an 84-page Legal and Asylum Support Services directory;
Refugee Action is campaigning to raise the daily asylum allowance from its current £5.23
Asylum Help offers multilingual support in Farsi, Somali, Amharic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Pushto, Bengali, Punjabi, Arabic, Urdu and Albanian
There are scores, hundreds, of others.
Whilst there are true refugees to whom I am happy to offer a temporary home - Christians from Syria, Iraq and Egypt, for example - many of these third sector organisations are geared to helping economic migrants rather than refugees from violence or genocide. The mobs in Calais are economic migrants.
So the question is, should we now penalise groups and organisations assisting economic migrants? Stripping away charitable status, imposing swingeing fines on Housing Associations, striking off doctors and nurses from their professional registers and immediate dismissal for misconduct for anyone else in the public sector knowingly misusing public funds for economic migrants?