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The dark side of the English Channel

As the demonisation of migrants trying to cross the English Channel in 2020 has shown once again, a very British xenophobia can arise from “our island story”

On 11th August, Sky News and BBC Breakfast sent camera crews and broadcast journalists into the Dover Strait to report on migrant crossings. At just 21 miles across, the route from Calais is favoured by people wanting to seek asylum in the UK—a protracted process that can only be started on arrival on British soil. Many migrants are fleeing political persecution or conflict in countries including Yemen, Syria and Iran.

Though crossings have been attempted for several years, renewed media focus came in summer 2020, in part because of Nigel Farage tweeting a video of a small vessel in August with the caption “shocking invasion on the Kent coast taken…

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