What’s happening in the Darien Gap?

40 min listen

Freddy is joined by evolutionary biologist and host of The DarkHorse Podcast Bret Weinstein. They discuss the Darien Gap, an area of Panama which has become a focal point for America’s migrant crisis. Bret has spent some time investigating the area, what’s going on? 

Can I stay in Britain?

Brexit Britain, for all its flaws, has been welcoming to me. When the UK was a member of the European Union, the only way to control immigration was to crack down on non-EU visas. Ten years ago, Americans like me who studied in Britain and wanted to stay needed to earn £35,000 a year (which would be £47,000 now). That was unrealistic for a recent graduate. After Brexit, Boris Johnson brought back the old post-study visa, giving us two years to find work and requiring a more achievable minimum salary of £26,000. Finally, international students who won places at British universities could meet their EU equals as, well, equals. We

Enforce the borders, stop the boats, save lives

Rishi Sunak has failed in his pledge to ‘Stop the Boats’, and the £480 million deal he signed with France in March is nothing more than a gargantuan waste of money. In fact, the French have intercepted fewer migrants in the Channel this year than they did in 2022. If the Prime Minister is truly committed to stopping the boats he must look to Australia and not France for inspiration. It is ten years this summer since Australia solved its own small boat problem. It did so with determination, courage and a refusal to be cowed by howls of outrage from those who champion a borderless world.  The people smugglers will be

The problem with the Bibby Stockholm barge

For British taxpayers perturbed by their £6 million daily bill for housing asylum seekers in hotels, New York City mayor Eric Adams has the solution: handbills. Exasperated by a sudden influx he characterises as a ‘disaster’, Adams plans to dispense police-tape yellow flyers both at the city’s 188 sites for housing migrants and at America’s overrun, purely notional southern border. The leaflets warn in English and Spanish: ‘Since April 2022, over 90,000 migrants have come to New York City. There is no guarantee we will be able to provide shelter and services to new arrivals. Housing in NYC is very expensive. The cost of food, transportation, and other necessities is

Rishi Sunak is right about illegal migration

The Illegal Migration Bill is having a distorting effect on the Tory party. It has put Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith together on the side of liberal opinion – and Ken Clarke on the side of the Prime Minister. This week, May and Duncan Smith sought to stop the government from overturning a Lords amendment which would prevent the deportation of those claiming to be victims of people-trafficking. Rishi Sunak thinks that loopholes in the law have been exploited by people-traffickers. May and Duncan Smith disagree. It fell to Clarke, a fierce critic of the government since Brexit, to challenge the plan’s opponents to come up with a better

Poland’s battle with the EU over migrant quotas

Another day, another spat between Warsaw and Brussels. This time, Poland has declined to participate in the European Union’s latest plan to relocate migrants and asylum seekers within the bloc, with countries who refuse being expected to pay €20,000 per refugee. Hungary has also voted against the pact, while Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria have quietly abstained.  On 15 June, the Polish parliament (the Sejm) went further and passed a resolution opposing the plan, with the ruling conservative Law and Justice party (PiS) announcing a national referendum on the matter. The referendum will take place on the same day as the general election in either October or November this year.  ‘We

Tories fight over Illegal Migration Bill

The Illegal Migration Bill is back this afternoon for ‘ping pong’ – the final stage of its legislative passage where MPs and peers bat amendments between their respective chambers until a compromise is found. There were 20 such amendments for the government to deal with and there is still a chance that some key Conservatives might rebel tonight. Ministers want to overturn 15 changes. Two of the loudest critics are, inconveniently, former home secretaries Two of the loudest critics are, inconveniently, former home secretaries. Theresa May has criticised the Bill throughout its passage and it is still not clear whether she will vote with the government or rebel tonight. She

The amazing aerial acrobatics of swifts

It happens usually in the second week of May, between about the 8th and 12th (this year it was earlier, the 2nd): a distant sound, building as it approaches, and then the doppler dip as the first of the returning swifts screeches past the roof of our Cornish farmhouse. It’s the opening bracket of the summer months, one that closes with their departure just 12 weeks later. But it is a reminder, too, that while we might think of our house as home to two adult humans, two teenagers and a dog, it is also the habitat for several nesting swifts, swallows, house sparrows, pipistrelle bats, mice, occasional winter rodents

Who else has come after Percy Pig’s crown?

Pig out Marks & Spencer wrote to an ice cream parlour in Hertfordshire demanding that it stop calling one of its products ‘Perky Pig’ on the grounds that it infringed the chain’s copyright of Percy Pigs, which it has been selling since 1992. Some more onomatopoeic porcines: – Pierre Pig: collectible plastic figurines introduced by Fabuland in 1984. The characters in the series also included Pat Pig, Peter Pig and Patricia Piglet. – Peppa Pig: children’s TV series first broadcast on Channel 5 in 2004, and favourite of former PM Boris Johnson. – Percival Pig Finds His Manners: children’s book published in the US in 2014. – Percival, the Performing

The Illegal Migration Bill will define the next election

The government’s Illegal Migration Bill is finally here. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday lunchtime, the Home Secretary unveiled plans to swiftly remove nearly everyone who arrives in the UK via small boats. Suella Braverman said the legislation was necessary as the current asylum laws are not ‘fit for purpose’ adding that public patience ‘has run out’ among the ‘law-abiding patriotic majority’. So, what powers does the new bill grant the government? First, it includes a legal duty on the home secretary to detain and remove those who arrive illegally. The government, too, will have the power to detain asylum seekers for up to 28 days ‘without bail

Pre-Mussolini, most Italians couldn’t understand each other

Towards the end of Dandelions, Thea Lenarduzzi’s imaginative and deeply affecting memoir, the author quotes her grandmother’s remark that there are tante Italie – many Italys. ‘Mine is different to hers, which is different to my mother’s, which is different to my father’s, and so on down the queue,’ she writes. These Italys – of fascismo, of Garibaldi, of emigrants living in Sheffield and Manchester, of 31 dialects – are not far-flung historical oddities confined to documentaries or textbooks but are, in Lenarduzzi’s account, the patchwork story of one family. Sitting at her Nonna’s (grandmother’s)table with ‘the blinds pulled down against the morning sun and the rest of the family

Europe’s new migrant crisis

Earlier this month I spent a week in Sicily, driving south from Palermo to Agrigento and then east to Syracuse and Messina. It was my first visit to Sicily in 17 years and, given the media reports, I had expected to find the island crowded with migrants from Africa. In fact, I saw none, other than those I glimpsed in a fenced-off processing centre at the quayside in Agrigento, the first port of call for many migrants who arrive in Sicily. Last week the local paper in Agrigento drew on official government figures to reveal that so far in 2022, 45,664 migrants have landed on Italian territory, an increase of

Will the government stand up to mob rule?

A very big week is in store for the government’s strategy to tackle illegal immigration with all eyes on the planned first air transfer of irregular migrants to Rwanda, due to take place on Tuesday. Whether the flight takes off at all and how many migrants will be on board is yet to be seen. But the policy has already attracted strong adverse commentary from leading lights in Britain’s unelected establishment, from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the heir to the throne. But another struggle over the enforcement of immigration law is being waged at ground level, with the springing up of networks of local activists seeking to prevent immigration

What’s wrong with the Rwanda plan?

There are many unanswered questions about the government’s new policy of compelled expulsion to Rwanda of uninvited asylum claimants. Here are just a few. 1) What is the estimated cost per expelled refugee? None of the briefings give a clue. In its absence, how can the policy be assessed for its value for money, compared with the status quo? 2) What is the UK’s responsibility – moral, legal – if bad things (illness, accident, attack) happen to the expelled refugees after arrival in Rwanda? This would be a concern even if Rwanda did not have a recent history of trampling on civil liberties and basic human rights (see this report from

Will Britain welcome Ukrainian refugees?

Immigration used to be the most-discussed issue in British politics. It gets less attention these days, for reasons too varied to go into here. But even though some voters have been focused on other things, there have been significant changes. Some have been good. Others bad. And the bad ones are about to collide with the Ukrainian crisis. The positive bits of the immigration story have mainly been around regulated, economically-driven migration. Britain’s post-EU migration regime is, well, not as bad as it could have been. It’s not as easy as it was for EU nationals to come here to work, but it’s a bit easier for non-EU nationals to

What’s to become of Africa’s teeming youth?

Demographers are attached to their theories. The field’s most enduring is the ‘demographic transition’, whereby modernisation inexorably lowers a society’s once-high fertility to replacement rate. Unfortunately, reality is obstreperous and doesn’t always obey the rules. The United Nations Population Division bases population projections on the assumption that all countries will eventually follow the pattern of plummeting birth rates first observed across the West. Edward Paice’s Youthquake addresses the exception so far: Africa. The continent is hardly a minor asterisk. Although for many regions demographic forecasts for this century have been ratcheting downwards, in the past 20 years the UNPD has had to revise its median-variant forecast for Africa by 2050 upwards

What happens to Afghan migrants when they reach the UK?

Migrants continue to cross the Channel and to reach Britain by other means. But what happens once they arrive? The answer for many is a new life of boredom and endless waiting. Dotted around the south coast are hotels where these people are housed, hidden out of sight. I went to meet some of them. A dozen Afghan families have ended up at a hotel three miles from Canterbury. The new arrivals numbered about 35 in all, including children, and the hotel seemed delighted to welcome them. ‘We are proud,’ said a poster in the lobby, ‘to be part of the programme to resettle the Afghan community in the UK.’

Matthew Parris

The conflict at the heart of the migrant question

A friend, a Cambridge professor, passing my old college last week, was startled to encounter a young lady standing outside shouting something and carrying a placard exhorting Mathew [sic] Parris to [expletive deleted] off. He wondered if I knew what this was all about. I don’t, but suppose it relates to my Times column arguing (about asylum seekers) that we do not have an equal obligation to all, but rather concentric circles of obligation at the centre of which we stand, the first circle being to self and family, the next to close friends, neighbours and community, then to nation and, finally, to all mankind. The conclusion to this argument

Priti Patel and the progressive language police

There was an exchange in the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon that ought to be a scandal but won’t. It ought to be a scandal because it involves a Cabinet minister undertaking to do something that, in any other context, would bring waves of condemnation from across the House. It won’t because the scandalous thing the minister pledged to do is endorsed by Good People with Good Intentions and could only be decried by Bad People with Bad Intentions. The minister was Priti Patel and she was being questioned about the deaths of 27 migrants who attempted to enter Britain via the English Channel. The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara said

I’m getting sick of the Tories

I suppose this happens to all of us at different speeds, but I am getting a little fed up of this government. In particular, I am getting fed up of the gap between its rhetoric and its actions. Most of the time this is most noticeable with the Prime Minister, who gives his base the occasional morsel of right-wingery only to then force-feed them great dollops of lefty-greenery. On a trip to Washington, Priti Patel has demonstrated that she is also no stranger to this tactic. So far we have had Patel (the DC version) talk about ‘the mass migration crisis’, as though she is merely an observer of the crisis