The Anonymous Widower

The Irony Of Brexit

According to Wikipedia, the third of Newton’s Laws of Motion, states this.

When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

It doesn’t just apply to mechanics, but to life in general.

If a Government introduces a policy that the electorate don’t like, then the electorate reacts.

We have had marches against the Poll Tax, the War in Iraq and Universal Credit in recent decades.

At least in the UK, protests don’t get as violent as they do in some countries like France.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a number of illegal immigrants arrive in this country in small boats sailing across the English Channel.

People aren’t stupid and these mainly Iranian nationals, are thinking that after the March 2019, it will be more or less impossible to get into the UK.

So their reaction is to cross the Channel now!

The smugglers react in the obvious way, by buying boats capable of making the journey.

In The Times today, there is an news story about an English smuggler buying a boat from a Frenchman called Pierre.

  • All the legal details are carried out.
  • Money changed hands (probably literally!)
  • The Englishman removed the boat.

The Englishman also said he’d come back later for the trailer, but never did. Surprise Surprise! He wouldn’t need it would he!

We have the irony, that the electorate of the UK voted for Brexit partly to keep foreigners and especially those not like them out of the UK.

But because of the laws of action and reaction, they will actually increase the number of immigrants, as we’re seeing in the Channel.

 

December 29, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Trump’s Executive Order: Amateur Hour At The White House?

The title of this post is the title of this article on the BBC.

The article compares President Bush’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina, with Trumkopf’s immigration executive order.

It says this.

History will judge the long-term impact of Mr Trump’s Friday afternoon immigration order, but his early praise for its implementation will not easily be forgotten.

I don’t think we’ll even need to wait until the history is long enough to judge.

I suspect the BBC article will be denounced as fake news.

But I do wonder, if his immigration policy will be good for the nice holiday places to visit in the rest of the world.

If say, you were thinking of going to Florida for a holiday, will you now be thinking about Greece or Spain?

 

January 30, 2017 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Disappointing Cologne

Cologne and its station disappointed me.

I was hungry and the hotel wasn’t exactly brimming with gluten-free food options. Or guests for that matter.

In fact, the whole city centre was dead.

Was everybody tucked up in bed watching the vEurovision Song Contest or because of the attacks in the city centre in the New Year, does everybody not go there any more.

In the end, I got supper in an Argentinian steak house, where the food was a lot better than the service.

In the morning, I didn’t have a ticket, so I arrived at the station a bit early, only to find that the machines didn’t seem to see the ticket I wanted and the ticket office wasn’t open.

It was a repeat of the customer service of the night before.

There are a couple of things to note in the pictures.

  • I had to go through all the rigmarole of getting a number to buy a ticket.
  • I had masses of paper for my ticket compared to what I get in the UK.
  • Comfortable seats were thin on the ground.
  • There was a smoking area on the platform.
  • Lots of trains seemed to be locomotive-hauled.

Eventually, I arrived in Brussels with plenty of time to spare.

But surely the biggest disappointment about Cologne is why the Germans haven’t developed it as a gateway for Cross-Channel passengers.

Consider.

  • Cologne has very good connections to major German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, which are much better than those from Brussels or Paris.
  • A lot of visitors to Germany from the UK, may be going to Cologne anyway, so why force them to change trains in Brussels?
  • According to the Demographics of Cologne, the city has around a million inhabitants and is in a region of three million.
  • Cologne is about the same size as Birmingham, Glasgow or Liverpool/Manchester, so it could probably sustain a direct service.
  • If you need to waste an hour or so in Cologne, whilst changing trains, you are by the cathedral and the Rhine.
  • Cologne to London by train must be around four hours, which must be very competitive with flying.
  • A Sleeper train between London and Cologne would probably work. I’d use it!

I think the Germans can’t be bothered, as they’d have more passengers to cater for, who knew about customer service.

I know there’s the problem of Customs and Immigration, but if Deutsche Bahn were serious about running a service, I’m sure the problems are solvable.

I’ve been through small airports where excellent, efficient and probably very thorough systems had been setup to encourage traffic.

The problem could of course be the UK Border Force, who in my experience don’t seem to be the best in the world.

But then, the world needs to develop fast, efficient, automatic border checks, that I’m certain if we got right, would actually discourage illegal immigration.

As it is, we set up such weak checks, that they encourage criminals to encourage and fleece, those that might want to come to countries, where work might be available.

 

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Should We Increase Rail Freight To Avoid Calais And The Migrants?

The BBC has quoted the French Police Chief at Calais as saying that the number of trucks trying to use the ferries and Eurotunnel has dropped.

Is this because it’s now the Summer holidays and the drivers have flown to their holidays or could it be that at last the needs of freight transport between the UK and Europe are being increasingly fulfilled by the obvious alternative, that hopefully would be totally useless to the migrants? – Direct freight trains between UK and Europe.

I wrote on this in December 2014 calling the post, Would Reorganising Cross-Channel Freight Cut Illegal Migration?

I stand by what I said then.

You have to remember, that a lot of freight flows between the UK and Europe are large and predicable. This is a few freight categories that I know go by rail over the channel.

  1. Car components including complete engines for Ford and BMW.
  2. Complete vehicles. Four years ago, you didn’t see car trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking and North London Lines, but now they are quite common.
  3. Fresh fruit from Spain to the UK.
  4. Steel products for Tata Group between Wales and The Netherlands

Are cargoes like Scottish fish and meat from all parts of the UK something that will be going on that list? These would only need refrigerated containers, that you see all over the railways. With meat too, there are no welfare issues and as a beef farmer once told me, dead carcasses pack three times better in a refrigerated truck, than livestock.

 

I have also found this informative article on the DB Schenker web site. It isn’t dated unfortunately, but it makes a lot of general points. This is the first two paragraphs.

When the Channel Tunnel between Calais in northern France and Folkstone on the southeastern coast of England opened in 1995, many forecasted a bright future for rail freight transport between Great Britain and continental Europe. An enormous amount of effort and money went into the construction of the two-track rail tunnel. The high hopes for the groundbreaking project have not yet been met, however. In fact, only 1.1 million metric tons of freight was transported by rail via the tunnel under the English Channel in 2010, less than before the 50-km tunnel opened.

High prices in particular have prevented rail freight transport from making greater use of the tunnel. Competition between freight forwarders that use the truck shuttle has kept prices in check. Eurotunnel charges a higher, constant price for block trains, however, and as a result, only a few providers can afford the transfer.

The last part in particular blames the high charges and the charging method  of Eurotunnel. Governments should apply pressure here.

The article does talk about problems with the UK loading gauge, which hopefully are being fully addressed now.

At least thought freight trains between the UK and Europe can now get from Barking in East London to virtually anywhere in Europe.

Perhaps, the UK Government should use taxation and tax relief to encourage more freight flows across the Channel to go on freight trains.

The losers would be UK haulage firms and drivers, but they can’t find Cross-Channel trade very profitable and stress-free at the moment.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Two Big Election Issues The Politicians Aren’t Addressing

The tragedy unfolding off the Libya coast, where hundreds are dying every day as they try to get to Europe is impossible to solve.

We can’t say it’s an Italian problem and put our heads in the sand, as most politicians seem to be doing. Especially, as it seems most of the migrants want to get to Northern Europe and often the UK, where the jobs are.

Suppose we just said that none of these migrants would be let into the UK, as probably the Ukippers would say. How long would it be before the rest of Europe applied policies to get us to accept our fair share?

If on the other hand, we took a selective number, then this would signal to those organising the trade, that there was a good chance you may get residence in the UK.

I haven’t a clue what you do! And neither have the politicians!

I do have some sympathy though for the migrants as three hundred years ago, my two closest male lines; one Jewish and one Huguenot, were welcomed in this country, after escaping from persecution. One was probably a tailor and the other was an engraver, so all they brought was their brains and skills. I don’t know about the Huguenot, but the Jew was probably single and converted to Christianity within a few years, so he could find a lady and get married. My two close female lines are both internal migrants from Devon and Northants. London has always been a magnet for migrants, so nothing has changed.

There is also the problem of Greece going bust, which could happen before our General Election.

It could be argued that it is nothing to do with us, as we’re outside the Euro zone!

But then we have a strong economy and a country where there are a lot of Greeks.

Certainly, if I was a Greek engineer living in Athens with a cousin in London, my savings would have been long gone.

I do wonder how much of the Greek bailout money ended up safely invested outside of Greece.

So we may not lose money, but we are probably going to suffer some collateral damage. Especially, if the various financial institutions want their money back!

It will not be as serious a problem as the Libyan migrants, but where are the politicians heads on this one?

Deep in the sand!

April 20, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Would Reorganising Cross-Channel Freight Cut Illegal Migration?

People can argue about the advantages and disadvantages of migration into the UK.

But in my view one of the reasons for the high level of illegal immigration into the UK, is that it is a rich source of income for criminal gangs and probably money lenders in countries like Syria, Ethiopia and Somalia, which transport these migrants to the French ports. Never underestimate the role of money-lenders in these sort of enterprises!

Once in the ports, they probably only have reliable way to get into the UK and that is to sneak or be welcomed aboard a truck. I have only heard very occasionally of an illegal immigrant trying to get into the UK in someone’s car.

So could we reorganise cross-channel freight to cut illegal migration?

It would be a good exercise to analyse truck movements through the Channel Tunnel and see how many could be replaced by a direct rail container transfer. It could be argued that jumping on to a train going at over a hundred kilometres per hour is not easy and this alone would cut the number who try to enter the UK illegally.

Could we also run the truck-shuttles from a dedicated truck terminal at a remote location perhaps fifty kilometres from the tunnel itself? I’ve heard drivers complain of bad facilities and not being able to stop before the tunnel, so this could be a lot better for the drivers. I’m sure the French have a really isolated spot close to the autoroutes. If someone thought about this sort of terminal, it could be made into a very secure and comfortable facility.

Obviously, we’d need a similar facility on the UK side! Manston?

December 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

The Invisible Immigrants

There is a lot of debate about immigration, but an incident last night got me thinking.

I was waiting to go in to see a performance of the Grand Hotel Budapest last night in the Barbican, when I got chatting to a lady sitting next to me.

She was speaking immaculate English, but I got the impression that she wasn’t from London. So I asked where she was from and was rather surprised she came from Austria.

A few weeks ago, I got talking to a well-dressed black guy on a train, who again spoke perfect English, but was surprised to find that he had been born and brought up in Dusseldorf in Germany. He was a temporary visitor and was going home for the weekend, but you wouldn’t have said immigrant immediately, although you might have thought he was a child of immigrants.

I could quote lots of examples over the years, but these days spotting immigrants is not always easy, as many do not follow the supposed stereotype.

Many immigrants like my American fitness trainer or my Australian physio, would not be picked out as immigrants say on the bus or train.

I do wonder how this all effects our views on immigration.

I also wonder, if Britons don’t go and work in say Germany or Sweden, as much as their natives might come here,  because our language skills are so atrocious.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Tragedy In Italy

The deaths of hundreds of asylum seekers off Sicily is tragic.

What can we do in Europe to stop this vile trade, that often ends in injury and death?

As long as Europe is a place where there people are well off, migrants will always try to get here.

And criminals will always take advantage by providing leaky boats, with crap crews!

October 4, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Are Politicians Stupid?

I’ve just been reading the legislation proposed in the Queen’s Speech today as reported on the BBC web site.

i can’t be against migrants to this country, as go back a couple of hundred years and half my ancestors were living in fear of their lives in Europe. But it was the sentence in the report that said that in future illegal migrants will not get driving licences, that shocked me.

How can they get them now and has it not been made illegal by Parliament? Obviously, not!

May 8, 2013 Posted by | News, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Sir Mervyn Suggests Splitting RBS

This is the gist of a story on the BBC’s web site. It’s an idea that might work, although I’m still in favour of liquidating all of the Royal Bank of UK Taxpayers.

On the other hand we could always use it as Danegeld to make unwanted immigrants go home, by giving them shares on condition they went away.

Now there’s an idea for UKIP!

It would solve the problems of immigration and RBS at the same time.

March 6, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment