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A Hostile Environment:
It's quite possible you were proud to think this doesn't happen in the grand old UK. We're rich, we have people to do the barbed wire, the dawn raids and ten metre wall work for us: first at camp Delta, and now of course we have the people of Calais to take the strain of dirty rotten brutality off our shoulders . . . You would be wrong. The UN says that refugees must be given refuge, but that doesn't mean we have to make it easy. Qualifying for refugee status is a tough, lengthy selection process, even for children, and while your credentials are wandering about the offices of state, this is where you'll be staying (see image). Without trial, without charge. Banged up in concrete, behind barbed wire, and you have no idea for how long. Nobody's even trying to say you're a terrorist. You did nothing very wrong (although you probably have some peccadillo or other on your charge sheet, if you've been living rough). That's not the problem. The problem is you are here, holding out your bowl, saying Please Sir (or Madam) I want some more . . .

You probably feel less than grateful to that butter-wouldn't-melt UN, that giant, for putting you up to this . . .

Unlike any other country in Europe, the UK has no limit on how long someone can be detained in this way.

. . . And if you fail, if your right-to-remain case (any variety) does not convince, then one day, or likely in the middle of one night, the private "security" company heavies will come to your cell, take immediate, ugly, no-half-measures action to restrain you (just in case), and haul you off to the deportation bus. Your UK family members will find out what happened. Eventually. If they try hard enough.

I know it isn't easy. I know there has to be process. But there's got to be another way. A better way.

What is to be done, now that the Home Secretary who vowed to create a "hostile environment for migrants" is running (or attempting to run) the UK? As if it was her private fief? I don't honestly know, but here's some links.

Petitions aren't much use, except, not to be despised, they're a sign of public awareness, and an aid to public awareness. Four million signatures will not impress the Home Office: however, other people, real people, might feel inspired. So please do sign. Writing a letter to Amber Rudd, a proper letter with a stamp and everything, is a step or two up. Or you could try kicking the walls at Yarl's Wood. Direct Action is the one thing that really does work, at least sometimes. I know it does. I can vote. Besides, the media people like it & nothing ever happens in this post-truth world without their hugs and kisses (Hey, we'd never have been close to Brexit without them!)

Rant over? Haha, I've barely started (excuse all the italics btw, it's just the mood I'm in). Let us move on to the topic This Is Not A Migrant Crisis. The first rule of this is not a migrant crisis is: This is NOT a migrant crisis. It's a Conflict Crisis: about all the countries ruined by all the "9/11"; was oil wars, still smouldering since 2001. Not to mention the previous generation of client wars, proxy wars and plunder wars (you know, the gold, the cobalt, the tungsten; whatever. All the stuff you need so you can have the latest phone etc), still "smouldering" since the 1990s. In Central Africa; winning the DRC the unenviable title of rape capital of the world. . . It's a soil depletion crisis. It's a climate change disaster crisis (I am sick of that feeble "climate change" expression. I'm going to ban it). It's a water crisis. It's, above and beyond all its many faces, the crisis of the economic growth model freight train hitting the buffers, and the train is driverless (don't think there's a guard on board either), so it doesn't know when to stop. It doesn't know how to stop, it just keeps hammering on, SLAM SLAM SLAM . . . Crushing the bodies of thousands, of millions of helpless, struggling human beings against that immovable limit.

Back in 1998 when I was writing Bold As Love, I was sure this time had to come: movement of the people, hungry for the lost privileges we former Brits still possessed (400,000 refugees from the Chaos Countries crossing the North Sea, one summer, to arrive, oh no, helpless and destitute in the middle of a cultural revolution). No crystal ball necessary. Empires have fallen before now, ushering in what are known as Dark Ages; and I think you know the particular model I was using. I didn't even have to make it up; or steal it from Rosemary Sutcliff et al, our doom was already upon us, only it was more low-key, I suppose, due to the well-nigh unimaginable lack of social media. But I had it down to the slow stuff reaching a boil: devastating soil depletion, pesticide poisoning, drought, famine; general economic & political meltdown in the most heavily populated countries in the world. I didn't expect the various wars to have ended; I knew climate disaster had to be coming, but those factors were in the background, in my scenario. Back then, we thought the bogey-enemy was "globalisation". And maybe we were right, maybe we're still right, in a way. This is not a migrant crisis. It's, in whatever shape, just one form of a near-unbeatable challenge to the greatest, most wonderful and without doubt the most deadly dangerous human civilisation this planet has yet seen. It's unstoppable because it's so normal, it's just human nature: gone mad as a japanese knotweed colony exploding in the foundations of our survival.

Sorry. I'm part-human; part science-fiction writer. We have to talk like that sometimes.

What is to be done? I have no idea but I'm collecting suggestions, and they all say the same thing. Never look at the odds, just do what you can. (& what I like most about the "humming bird" story is that it doesn't say this will work On the whole, probably not, just do it anyway; seems to be the message). Also that the project started out as being about art).

The September days still stifling hot here in Brighton, though there's a cool breeze through my window now. At night the moon is eerily brilliant, a haggard, blemished white face. It's been a long hard summer. The EU Referendum results.Theresa May. Post-truth Politics. The Hate Crime surge . . . (Well! Who on earth could have predicted that? sarcastic emoticon here) Brexit. Hinkley Point, for God's sake, approved today . . . The evident failure of the Paris climate disaster summit. The rankling knowledge that if the UK actually leaves the EU (whereupon our former community will STICK IT TO US any which way they can, on our way out; and well-deserved too) . . . it will be because the good kids can be trusted to accept our fate quietly, in an orderly fashion. Whereas the bad kids can be trusted to smash the place up if they don't get their own way. And my dear cat Ginger died in July, a loss that stopped all my clocks for a while. My afternoon sun.

Speaking of Climate Disaster, did you know, it's not the megacorps or the masses, or fossil fuel industry, it's the modestly prosperous, adventurous holiday-lovers, NT members, organic-food purchasing, second-generation middle class retirees, my own cohort , that's doing the worst damage? I knew this, I suppose. I've gritted my teeth often enough, when some acquaintance, or old friend, tells me happily she and her boyfriend are going on a Galapagos cruise as they love photographing rare wildlife . . . I don't have to look so far from home, either. When I whine about not being able to sleep in the heat, Peter suggests kindly, shall we get an air conditioner for the bedroom? (NO!) Meanwhile Gabriel is in Chennai, working at a fancy conservatoire. Flying home for Christmas. But it takes the experts to spell it out, and put it in numbers: Still, never say die. At least, and despite a lot of bad news on this front, there's some good news stories in Ruth Hayhurst's fracking round up recently & it's not all of it the fightback kind, more the give up and go away kind:

My friends in Kirdford and Wisborough Green are going to court to challenge a cheeky "licence extension":

SW Energy are retreating from the Forest of Dean:

The Fylde Field (that's Blackpool: Don't Frack Lancs) gets thumbs down from a US geologist

And much more, as always, at Drill Or Drop. Including, bless them, two Conservative MPs asking the frackers to "limit the number of well sites" so as to reassure the public voters. Dear me. That's exactly what frackers can't do! Bit embarrassing for both parties

& that's all for now