A Rugby parliamentary candidate is urging people to stop ‘demonising migrants’ after he witnessed the ‘concentration camps’ near Calais.
Pete McLaren, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) parliamentary candidate, said some people see migrants as ‘vermin that need to be dealt with’.
He recently crossed the Channel and saw the number of migrants attempting to enter the UK.
Mr McLaren said: “Words cannot really describe the revulsion we felt as we came off the ferry to witness fortress Calais. “Somehow we have to challenge and change the attitudes so prevalent throughout Britain and most of Europe that migrants are a problem and have to be dealt with as if they were vermin.
“We drove past miles of high fences topped with barbed wire as if we were travelling past concentration camps like Dachau or Auschwitz. How has it come to this? It will be even worse at the tunnel, and if David Cameron gets his way with sniffer dogs, more fences, police and even the army, it really will look like a country under siege.”
Mr McLaren said he believed any cost to the country would be returned with interest as ‘history tells us migrants are a net gain to the British economy’.
“Are the migrants a physical threat? Of course not. Are they an economic threat? Of course not.
“They are desperate people, fleeing from poverty, persecution, disease or all three, in many cases caused by the actions of other countries including Britain,” he said.
“Why would they risk their lives, crossing the Med or the English Channel, unless they were desperate?
“We really must start treating migrants as humans. We should ensure that making the journey across the Med and the Channel is a safe and pleasant experience for all travellers, wherever they have come from. We then need to make sure the resources are available to meet the needs of new arrivals, be it housing, medical facilities or education – or all three.
“Any money that costs the country will be returned with interest, as history tells us that migrants are a net gain to the British economy.”
Mr McLaren added: “I feel so sad and guilty to be part of a country that is behaving in this way. After a lifetime of fighting racism, it seems that we are no further forward in accepting our part in creating the inequalities in our world, nor in accepting our responsibility to share some of the wealth and so-called success we gained through our imperial past.”