Why Is It Only Fringe Groups Standing Up For Britain’s Truckers In Calais? And Why Have Labour Abandoned Them?

Rachel Megawhat

To paraphrase the Nat Burton lyrics made famous by Vera Lynn: “There’ll be bluebirds dark clouds over the white cliffs of Dover tomorrow, just you wait and see”. No bluebirds are to be expected of course, since they’re not indigenous to Europe and non-migratory. 

Dover can expect, however, to pay host to the rough end of the travesty that is the current state of the British response to the crisis in Calais.

Thousands of people, most from the more extreme ends of political thought, (both right and left wing) are expected to congregate today , where no doubt huge numbers of Police will have to be deployed to stop those amongst them who want to fight.

The original event planned for the January 30th was the ‘Support the Dover to Calais truckers. The Return’ A ‘Dover Unity Demo’ consisting of a huge range of groups from all over the country (some far right) going under various names including Patriots, Infidels, Pie and Mash squad, National Front and Anti-Antifa.

There are now, in response, many call outs for ‘Stop the Fascists’ and ‘Oppose the Nazis in Dover’ with groups such as London2Calais who claim to be ‘organising a convoy of coaches’ against the original demo. They say: “They purport to support truck drivers and Dover residents. But in reality their presence threatens to stir up hatred in our community and scapegoat refugees for many of the problems we face.”

Although it would be easy to dismiss all participants as idiots who just want a street fight, it is important to look at what is happening here.

Firstly it should be asked why we as a society are proving so inept at dealing with the undoubted crisis in Calais. Have we deteriorated so quickly to a point where if you don’t wholeheartedly support the importation, unchecked, of thousands of migrants – you are labelled a fascist?

Why are we failing as a society to give decent support to those, vital to our economy, truck drivers who are daily facing vicious attacks just for going about their jobs?

If people are unhappy with far right groups organising for the sake of the truck drivers, then instead of trying to drown out the voice of those groups with louder shouts, surely they should be organising themselves to support our drivers. The Labour Party politicians who one would have expected to be backing the rights of the working man are instead joining with the ‘anti- fascists’ trying to pretend this is about race.

Shadow Cabinet member Diane Abbott of course will be in Dover, ostensibly marching against the truck drivers.

Unions, traditionally the voice of the working man, would be expected to be playing a role in this. Unite, the union which claims on its website to be “by far the most influential union in road transport” is indeed playing a role as advertised by London anti-fascists: “Unite the Union members can claim back travel costs, please send us your membership no. with your reservation.”

So effectively Unite the Union is financing people to join a march protesting against a march protesting in favour of truck drivers’ safety. Confused yet?

Chris Yarsley, the European Union affairs manager of the Freight Transport Association says: “The situation in Calais is totally unacceptable. The area is clearly in crisis. Whatever your views on the plight of migrants and asylum seekers no one has a right to threaten, intimidate or physically attack drivers”.

Efforts that are supposed to be in place to improve matters are not happening to plan. A secure truck park was supposed to open in November in Calais but has been delayed to ‘spring 2016’ with no explanation given as to the cause of delay.

It is extremely strange that the plight of truck drivers is so marginalised.

The biggest example of this is in the reporting of tear gas being used against Calais Jungle residents. If one were to only read mass migrant supporter websites and reporting it would be easy to imagine that police are randomly using tear gas against people as they sit down to knit or play chess quietly. The truth is somewhat different.

The gas is used against people who are attacking other human beings, throwing rocks and sharpened wooden posts. Attacking buses full of school children even. If the French police had not been using tear gas would Banksy be posting graffiti of the dismembered bodies of lorry drivers?

When did humanitarianism become caring for foreign migrants whilst dismissing the needs and safety of Brits who work for relatively low wages to ensure the vital supply of goods to Britain?

Shouldn’t we be trying our very best to look after both, proportionately to our duties towards them, and not to let the political debate be dragged into people screaming “fascist” at one another?

Of course – if the pro-EU camp is to be believed – the European Commission must be addressing the issue.

Apparently not, though. A written question on the subject submitted to Brussels chief Jean-Claude Juncker was apparently dismissed on the grounds that it could be “considered as offensive for a specific group”.

Where are the bluebirds when you need them?


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.