A Boatload of Woes for Afghans Seeking Safety in Britain

Troubled waters: It is revealed now that Afghans are the largest single group attempting legal crossings into Britain by boat from mainland Europe. Official figures show that one in four making the crossing is an Afghan and that their numbers are rising rapidly. A total of 1,034 Afghans crossed into Britain in the first three months of the year; a total of 1,323 did over all of last year.

That is a particularly hard crossing for Afghans who have grown up in a landlocked country. Few among those crossing have ever seen the sea before, let alone attempted to cross one by boat. Those boats and crossing services are no doubt provided by those in the ferrying business, but Afghan refugees have faced higher than average risks even though the crossing over the English Channel is a short one. A number have died in boat mishaps and as a result of overcrowding. Life vests have not saved several who have fallen into the water.

Afghans are drawn by hope. Nine out of ten Afghans who applied for refugee status last year were successful. Britain promises a better life for sure, for those who can make it across.

Sunak charges energy firms: After going down and out in political rankings and in popular perception over allegations over his wife’s tax status, Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) Rishi Sunak is back into a degree of popularity with the promise of yet more free money after the furlough scheme of 2020 and 2021. This time he is taxing the big energy firms to pay substantially towards payment of 400 pounds to every household to deal with rising energy bills.

That payment will not of course cover the rise in costs entirely. Electricity bills have almost doubled after the lifting of a government cap in April. Gas bills have risen 50 per cent. Prices are due to rise further by October when the new handout will come in. It will cost the government 15 billion pounds. Yet more borrowing that is to further unbalance the books. But right now Sunak and Johnson are out to repair their drop in popularity following partygate.

Changing tastes: The vegetarian movement is picking up fast in Britain, and the vegan lot is growing bigger even more rapidly. To the extent that a number of meat and dairy farmers are now reporting going vegan. The Vegan Society reports that the number of vegans in Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. The number is reported to be rising yet faster since then.

At the same time, almost half of Britons are now not eating meat at all or at least limiting its consumption. The movement in Britain is entirely in line with a growing trend away from meat worldwide.

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