Media coverage of the Mayor of Calais’s comments about migrants trying to get into the UK is, quite frankly, a load of tosh.
First, the illegal migrants trying to enter Britain from Calais are nothing to do with the EU’s freedom of movement. Illegal migrants are by definition from outside the EU. After all, if they were from another EU country they would have the right to enter legally and not be trying to stow away on lorries.
Second, it’s totally wrong to attribute the “pull factor” — what attracts them to Britain — as our benefits system. As illegal migrants, they’re not entitled to benefits!
Rather, the pull factor results from two things. One is not under our control. The other one is, but most people don’t want to change it.
What cannot be changed is the fact that we use the English language — the most widely understood language in the world. Migrants are likely to understand at least a little English, as opposed to, say, Danish, Dutch or German, and therefore more likely to come here.
What we could change — but many people in Britain dislike the idea — is that, once you’re here, it’s so easy to disappear without the authorities having any inkling of where you are. That is because we don’t have any identity cards or official addresses as they do in most other countries. And in our labour market there are too few inspections to check that employers are not employing illegal workers.
That indeed is the biggest pull factor of all — and it’s entirely in our own hands to deal with!