Set up for a confrontation

There were scenes just outside Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex on Saturday 1st April at a protest organised by locals against the use of the former open prison at Northeye being used to house refugees: Anger erupts at protest over immigration centre plans for Little Common 1.4.23. The protest turned into scenes when counter protesters from Stand Up To Racism turned up, a situation which inevitably angered the locals.

We can’t help thinking that the whole way refugees are being dealt with is set up to spark off this kind of confrontation, thereby reinforcing the government narrative on the ‘need’ to clamp down on asylum seekers.

When we used to live in Thurrock, there were issues with refugees being housed in the more remote estates that already had enough issues of their own to deal with. This is not a situation that has arisen in the last few years. Going right back to the 1990s, we remember there being tensions with Bosnian refugees being housed in council housing in South Ockendon with minimal support and surrounded by a number of very resentful locals.

More recently, there have been issues with the way refugees have been effectively dumped in housing in places like Chadwell St. Mary with little in the way of support or attempts to explain to locals why they were being moved into their neighbourhoods.

Also, there’s always been the constant shifting round of refugees from one location to another, making it difficult if not impossible to access support services or to be in contact with family and/or friends they already have here.

Being placed in housing with minimal support in areas already having to deal with a range of problems was bad enough. Warehousing refugees in hotels with minimal support is even worse. Particularly when the hotels are in edge of town or rural locations with minimal public transport links or facilities. Even when the hotels are in urban areas, they tend to be ones located in or close to areas suffering from issues such as deprivation. A situation that fairly recently sparked off violent protests in Knowsley on the outer fringes of Liverpool.

The situation now worsens with refugees being dumped in former open prisons, on disused RAF airfields or on boats. All of which will be little more than prison camps and prison ships.

As for the locations of these camps, well… Bexhill-on-Sea is a retirement destination for people who want a quiet few decades at the end of their lives. Some of who may well have some pretty reactionary views. We can’t believe the Home Office weren’t aware of the character of the location and the likely response from some of the locals before making the decision to dump the refugees in a rural site. A location which incidentally is a long way from any facilities such as shops.

Then there’s Wethersfield in Essex. It’s in deepest rural Essex. It’s miles from the nearest town, Braintree. There are minimal or no local facilities the refugees can access. To all intents and purposes, it will be a prison camp in the middle of a sea of fields.

As other people we know have said, it would be far better to house refugees in the bigger cities where there’s more in the way of support networks. In theory there would also be more in the way of opportunities for integration but that would require a massive shift in policy from government which shows no sign of happening.

So, it’s abundantly clear the aims of the Home Office are a) to make life as tough as possible for the refugees so the word gets out it’s not worth the hassle and risk of coming to the UK in the first place and b) if that doesn’t work, ensure there’s tension pretty much everywhere it’s proposed to dump refugees in order to justify even harsher clamp downs on them.

As for Stand Up To Racism turning up, they may have meant well but we’re not at all convinced they thought things through. It’s not just the tensions with some of the locals. It’s the implication that the refugees are welcome to a life in what to all intents and purposes is an open prison in the arse end of nowhere.

It would appear that in order to justify increasing clamp downs on refugees, the Home Office are operating a strategy of tension. The confrontations that have happened suit them down to the ground because it gives them the licence to tighten the screws even further.

The Home Office don’t give a shit about the locals in the locations where refugees have, are and will be getting placed. The locals are seen as little more than pawns to be used as part of a broader strategy to rewrite asylum and immigration policy. The locals are being played. Some (but not all) of the counter protests to the angry locals have been so tone deaf, they’ve only served to exacerbate tensions. They’ve also unwittingly helped the Home Office with their agenda.

There’s little or no nuance in the rows about how to deal with asylum seekers in particular and immigration in general. That’s is down to a political and social climate which seems to be abandoning reasoned debate, replacing it with sound bites and slogans. A climate which makes it a lot easier to inflame tensions that suit people with agendas. Some of those people being our government!

When a government appears to be happy to see tensions rise and confrontations take place in order to justify an agenda, maybe it’s time for people on all sides to take a few steps back and think about how they’re being played…

One comment

  1. You also forget one of the main motives my friend, the cliche of the Hegelian dialectic, problem reaction solution..
    They start conflicts elsewhere for a multitude of reasons and drive people to flee for a better life for whatever reason, then they use those people as weapons against the lower classes already habituating the areas to where they flee to,which will cause them to confront and blame the new arrivals for their problems, all the whilst they are being robbed and used by the sociopaths masterminding the whole scheme.

    There is no “integration” in mind, only chaos.

    I’ve actually managed to flip someone from their mislead ideologies by explaining to them that you want get anywhere attacking asylum seekers as they are just pawns and that will be doing exactly what the system wants.

    The big nut to crack would be to get both scared and tightly squeezed ordinary people as well as asylum seekers and refugees to see that they are being played in the deadly geopolitical nightmare that is agenda 2030, and for that I am far less suited than writing long winded monolouges about it in your comments section.


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