Tragedy in the channel

Clarke's Comment

This week's news was overshadowed by the tragic death of 27 people in the channel, including pregnant women and children. It appears that people smugglers had attempted to ferry people in a small inflatable vessel, unfit for the journey, across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Two survivors are being treated for exhaustion and hypothermia.

Like many of these tragedies, politics was an aggravating factor. The existence of asylum seekers crossing the channel has been used by the Government as a tool to rachet up anti-immigration sentiment in a cynical attempt to curry favour with Brexit/UKIP voters as well as much of its own base. The effects of this shameful tactic have been compounded by the continuing deterioration of the UK's relations with France caused by Brexit and its ongoing aftermath. Priti Patel's £54m inducement to the French authorities to reduce these crossings appears to have been more money wasted, as French police have been photographed ignoring people board flimsy dinghies in front of them.

International issues such as these must be dealt with internationally, which requires cooperation, collaboration, shared goals, and protocols, preferably agreed on through supranational organisations. The UK's determination to turn its back on this way of working has been the source of countless own goals, cock-ups, scandals and national embarrassments in recent years, and now it has contributed, unforgivably, to the deaths of 27 people, seeking a better life in a country whose politicians chose to harness their plight to their own partisan pursuits.

There has to be a better way to solve our national issues and to maintain our international obligations than to continue supporting the divisive and counterproductive two-party system that has been failing us, and our allies, so badly. The system needs reform and the first step is to face up to the problem. The next step is to unite and to organise.

For us in Renew, we will stick to our principles of supporting reform, fairness and participation, and we will stand up to be a part of what comes next.

It's time for something new.

If you want to be a part of this new chapter for Renew, look at our refreshed website to learn more and sign up to be a member!

Have a great week,

James and the Renew Team