Thursday, 18 February 2010

Fantasy Island - Courtesy Of The Daily Express

Once again Peter Allen, well known right wing hack journalist, has had another vituperative piece of fantasy on the situation in Calais published, this time in the Express. 'Now Migrants Get A 'VIP Club'' blurts the headline of this totally bizarre article. So twisted is it, cobbled together as it obviously is from No Borders press releases, French press articles and the deranged fantasies of a pair of reactionary fruit-loops, it would be laughable if it wasn't getting lapped up by so many people who get further than looking at the pictures or reading the ports pages in their copy of the Express.

We can just imagine Allen whipping himself up into a frenzy of indignation as he pens the piece, flecks of foam and whiskey-scented spittle staining his laptop as he busily pulls 'facts' and 'quotes' from the ether prior to hawking his missives around likely outlets in the British yellow press.

Here's a taste of his own very special brand of mendacious stupidity:

"UK-bound migrants were yesterday massing in their own comfy members-only club in Calais before making their bid for Britain, the Daily Express can reveal." - "The Daily Express can reveal", as though this is some sort of journalist coup. "Comfy members-only club" makes it sound like the Athenaeum or something. It a freezing cold industrial hanger with concrete floors and a couple of thin walled bottom of the line Wendy house-style tents with small electric heaters inside to make it seem at least partially comfortable if one chooses to sit down on one of the rickety chairs.

"French charities have helped to create a virtual “departure lounge” for illegal immigrants heading across the Channel, offering them rest and recreation before they complete the final leg of their journeys." That word charities again. He just can't get his limited imagination round the idea that people are doing this because they are committed politically not because they merely feel sorry for the migrants or something.

"Our investigators gained access to the illegal “Sangatte II” centre and exclusive photographs show it bears a closer resemblance to a holiday camp than a shelter for the homeless." He just loves that Sangatte II label (after all he more or less invented it and clearly need to keep using it). "Our investigators gained access"...Oh no they didn't, but to some it could more resemble "a holiday camp than a shelter for the homeless" in that there are a couple of the sort of large white gazebos (our Wendy houses) that you see pitched on a summer lawn. Except they are along one wall of the cold, dark hanger and possibly it resembles a holiday camp in East Germany in the 1950's. It certainly doesn't have the beds that Allen fantasised about in a previous article on the Kronstadt Hanger.

And where are these "exclusive photographs" that are supposed to show all this then? Certainly not in the article. The one used in the article is taken at the old feeding station that hasn't been in use since before last summer. The plain fact is that the press are allowed in the hanger by invite only and nobody from the Express or any other newspaper would be allowed to take photographs while the hanger was in use.

"One observer said: “They are being treated like VIPs.”" So that wouldn't be one of your investigators then that supposedly made it inside. And which VIPs would that be Peter? Certainly not any on this planet.

"The converted warehouse, just a short walk from the town’s port, offers migrants a range of amenities, from relaxation rooms with a piano, a cinema and sports hall for indoor games like table tennis and football to even a makeshift disco for dancing." Fucking hell, you make it sound like the Ritz Pete. It's a hanger. It has not been converted into anything. There is one small office built onto the back wall of the hanger, just like in any old garage or small warehouse building, with enough room for a desk and a filing cabinet. Where do the "relaxation rooms...cinema and sports hall" come into it? Again, you have must have been inside a completely different building. Or maybe you are just plainly lying? We know which it is Pete and you can sue us if you like.

"The centre – which bears a huge “Welcome To All” banner – was officially closed down 12 days ago by riot police after Calais authorities deemed it unfit for public use." No, it did have a welcome banner outside on the day it opened but not now (see photo below taken yesterday). And we all know that the "unfit for public use" excuse is just that, an excuse.

"And last night the CRS riot squads returned – forcing the migrants and activists out using batons and shields. But it is expected they will just move back in." Again, this is just not true. The migrants had already left when the cops decided to force their way into the building. They were already outside at 6pm but did nothing to harass the migrants, as they would normally do given such an opportunity because of the presence of No Borders activists who accompanied the migrants to the evening meal for exactly the reason of preventing such harassment.

"The charities SOS and the No Borders Network got round prohibition by opening it as a private space for members, declaring: “All migrants and activists inside the hangar have official membership.”" Which is where they got the idea of a 'members club' (transformed into a 'VIP club' for effect of course).

"The organisers have also painted the text from Article 1 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on a sign warning that any attempt to close it down could face a challenge in the courts." , and the sign is in fact there, proving only that they read yesterday's press release! But it gives an 'in' for the usual reactionary rant about 'uman rites', this time by some UKIP nutter and some 'rent-a-quote' from the TaxAvoidance Alliance.

And to finish off this heap of steaming odour, our two intrepid avoiders of the truth (whatever that is) fabricate a number of quotes from a mythical "spokesman for Calais Migrant Solidarity":

"A spokesman for Calais Migrant Solidarity, which No Border activists have formed when taking part in action at the French port, said the hangar is open for migrants from 10am to 6pm."

"“The mayor of Calais ordered the eviction of the hangar on the grounds that it was not fit for public use, so the Kronstad Hangar is now open as a private space for members of SOS,” he said. “All migrants and activists inside the hangar have official membership.”"

"“The hangar is not just a humanitarian space but also a space for political discussion and debate, as well as various cultural and entertainment exchanges.”"

Now compare the last 3 paragraphs with first 3 paragraphs of yesterday's press release below (even down to repeating the misspelling of Kronstadt). Typical of the Express and Peter Allen to get things arse about face yet again.

*No doubt he has had to bow to pressure of history and adopt some modern technology to function in his job, after all, carrier pigeons are not a reliable method of getting his copy from his perch in Paris to London.

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