Surreal times and the elections

With the BCMO (cold weather shelter) closed since Friday, the mainly Pashtun (Afghan) people there have kept it together well. Police have been cruising by, but less then expected. And noticeably heading off after drive bys that show there are non-migrants there to witness and intervene in any intended police intevention.

Saturday and Sunday night saw Pashtun dancing round the fire, with a wheelie bin providing percussion. Sunday night also saw a Dutch band en route to England for a tour hang out at the BCMO with their hillbilly music. Calais is nothing if not surreal at times…

It rained on Sunday and about 20+ people were under blankets against a wall around the back of the BCMO, some under plastic where it was available. At least three I saw were only in their early teens (12 or 13 years old?). People are always asking for food.

Today saw the results of the local Municipal elections, which might explain the police being less aggressive than we’re used to. So, the centre-left party got 25% of the vote, then the centre-right with 20% (Nat. Bouchard, the current major who’s been so anti-migrant) and then in third place the Front Nationale with 20%, fronted by … Le Pen’s daughter, Marine. After the summer’s european elections saw right wing MEPs voted in, followed by the Greek police burning down the Patras migrant camp, and more repression in Calais, we can only wait to see the impact of this electoral mandate on police actions.

They don’t act in isolation after all, and rely on signals from their political masters before carrying out acts like gassing water points and slashing tents. They may be cruel, but their actions are essentially cowardly, relying on political backing to enable them to act as they do. However, only 1/3 of the electorate voted (!), so let’s not draw too many conclusions about the nature of Calaisiens and their personal attitudes to the humanitarian tragedy created on their doorstep.