Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Jungle Below

An interesting six hours or so in the air on Friday.

First stop was Calais and 'The Jungle' the sparsely wooded area adjacent to the port, for a national newspaper, having a good look at what was taking place in the refugee encampment below. I was struck by how many blue tarpaulin-covered shelters there were, lean-to's huddling miserably together in a relatively small and dirty space and the presence of scaling ladders visible and badly concealed on top of several.

Most surprising of all is how close the industrial estate and coach park are to the 'Jungle', quite literally on the other side of the bushes.

Below, there was evidence of organised activity, with one large group of men visibly being directed by a single individual in a leather jacket. Where they might have been going I can't say but there was no shortage of lorries or coaches within easy reach of any passing travel interest.

Back on this side of the Channel, it was back to nuclear reactors, taking in Bradwell Bay and Sizewell B, which I couldn't survey on Monday and then across East Anglia to survey building progress on two brand new prisons; one on the site of the old RAF Coltishall in Norfolk and the second near Peterborough. Mind you, given the present deplorable state of our criminal justice system, I believe we would need to build a prison a month simply to keep up with the demand for places which now sees even the most serious offenders swiftly released into the so-called 'Community' for rehabilitation.

The 'Jungle' is scheduled to be buldozed soon but this will simply displace the problem elsewhere as the French appear disinclined to police the problem in Calais vigorously and instead, blame us for our "Ridiculously generous" benefits system. However, as you may have seen in the news this week, the trail of human misery which ends in Calais at the opposite end of the Channel Tunnel, starts a very long way from Europe and passes through the barren desert of Libya on the way; one reason why our Government and the Italians are so very keen to seek rapprochment with Colonel Gaddafi, large oilfields aside!