This was doubly satisfying, as TalkRADIO’s breakfast host is the self-promoting Julia Hartley Brewer, the slightly less screamingly batshit person’s Katie Hopkins. Ms Hartley Dooda was talking about migrants crossing the Channel. She had all her talking points lined up. And on came her guest Bella Sankey, who is the Director of human rights organisation Detention Action. So she knows about migration and asylum.
Ms Hartley Dooda made her pitch. “The numbers we’ve seen across the Channel have been off the scale and incredibly dangerous”. Ms Sankey came back on that one. “Just to clarify one point, I’m not saying that people crossing the channel isn’t a problem, of course it is, because it’s a dangerous route”. “It’s also illegal” interjected Ms Hartley Dooda.
That was not only unwise, it was wrong. Ms Sankey put her straight. “It is not actually illegal, Julia, to claim asylum here and to come by an unusual route”.
Ms Hartley Dooda was outraged. And to prove it, she turned up the volume. “I’m sorry, I can’t arrive in this country without a passport [missing the point, much?] and I’m British!”
Ms Sankey once more put her straight. “You could, if you were claiming asylum. So that is actually a myth”. No, Ms Hartley Dooda wasn’t buying that, and fell back on another of her talking points. “You know that, under the Dublin Convention … if you’re coming from a safe country, you need to stay in that safe country and claim asylum”. Whoops!
That was also unwise. “That’s actually wrong, in law, and I’m telling you this as someone with legal expertise [they let someone with expertise on the show - the bookers are going to get one hell of a bollocking for that one]. That’s not what the Dublin Convention says. It says that states have the right to try and return somebody to a country they pass through. There’s no obligation on someone to claim asylum in any country, other than a country where they feel safe”. So that was two TalkRADIO myths exploded.
Would Madam like to have another of her talking points exposed as worthless? She certainly would. “Whether it’s Ethiopia or Sudan or Libya or … the Bahamas, ‘I don’t feel safe here and I want to come to Britain’, and they have a right … You’ve got to understand why people listening to this think that’s absurd”. Because she didn’t understand.
So Ms Sankey had to spell it out. “That’s not what I’m saying … People have a right to claim asylum, of course then the UK Government will process their asylum claim and that’s a really tough process where not all of those who have claims will have them accepted. So it’s not a free for all at all … the right to find safety has to be a personal one, because people flee [other countries] for all sorts of reasons”. Another TalkRADIO myth bites the dust.
Had Julia Hartley Dooda done her homework, that could have been a well-informed and even illuminating discussion. But, as usual, she hadn’t. And so it wasn’t. No change there.
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