Skip to main content

The Jungle Below

An interesting six hours or so in the air on Friday.

First stop was Calais and 'The Jungle' the sparsely wooded area adjacent to the port, for a national newspaper, having a good look at what was taking place in the refugee encampment below. I was struck by how many blue tarpaulin-covered shelters there were, lean-to's huddling miserably together in a relatively small and dirty space and the presence of scaling ladders visible and badly concealed on top of several.

Most surprising of all is how close the industrial estate and coach park are to the 'Jungle', quite literally on the other side of the bushes.

Below, there was evidence of organised activity, with one large group of men visibly being directed by a single individual in a leather jacket. Where they might have been going I can't say but there was no shortage of lorries or coaches within easy reach of any passing travel interest.

Back on this side of the Channel, it was back to nuclear reactors, taking in Bradwell Bay and Sizewell B, which I couldn't survey on Monday and then across East Anglia to survey building progress on two brand new prisons; one on the site of the old RAF Coltishall in Norfolk and the second near Peterborough. Mind you, given the present deplorable state of our criminal justice system, I believe we would need to build a prison a month simply to keep up with the demand for places which now sees even the most serious offenders swiftly released into the so-called 'Community' for rehabilitation.

The 'Jungle' is scheduled to be buldozed soon but this will simply displace the problem elsewhere as the French appear disinclined to police the problem in Calais vigorously and instead, blame us for our "Ridiculously generous" benefits system. However, as you may have seen in the news this week, the trail of human misery which ends in Calais at the opposite end of the Channel Tunnel, starts a very long way from Europe and passes through the barren desert of Libya on the way; one reason why our Government and the Italians are so very keen to seek rapprochment with Colonel Gaddafi, large oilfields aside!

Popular posts from this blog

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…