Ed Miliband and Scotland England Border Controls
1. Ed Miliband issued, yet another, “scare story” threatening an independent Scotland with border controls. I expect he might be referring to the shambolic £1billion computerized system, (commissioned by the last Labour government) and recently written off by the Con/Dem government.
2. Rather than perpetuating mischievous myths Ed would be better advised to address his concerns addressing the intention of the, Irish government to embrace, in full the, “Schengen” open borders scheme, should Scotland vote, “yes” to independence.
3. The, “Common Travel Area” (CTA) “Schengen” opt out, allowing the UK & Ireland to maintain border controls was only useful to Ireland so long as decisions impacting on it were mutually agreed. Introduction, without consultation of the, “botched scheme” now requires Irish citizens to travel with photographic identification and current passports together with other means of identification.
4. The, “Common Travel Area” is no more but any move by the UK government to introduce border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland would be strenuously resisted by the Irish on both sides of the border. In any event there are in excess of 260 road traffic crossing points on the border so policing it would be impossible.
5. I expect the UK will shortly review it’s decision to remain out of, “Schengen” since parts of the agreement have been adopted over the last 4 year’s.
The UK Border Controls Fiasco
1. Launched seven years ago by Labour and further developed by the Con/Dem government the, “e-Borders” computerized system touted by the government as the definitive solution to the perceived problem of insecure border controls has , “hit the deck”, (in polite terms a fiasco) at a cost to the taxpayer of £500million, (excluding a botched cancellation penalty of £230million). In total, including staff costs the writes off is around £1billion.
a. 20% of trips were not counted in and out of Britain or checked against terror and criminal watchlists.
b. 20 million travelers avoided full screening due to recurring catastrophic IT failures and management blunders.
c. 6 million travelers arriving by train, including Eurostar were not subject to advance immigration checks.
d. 10 million sea travelers, subject only to cursory checking slipped through the net without having their personal details compared against lists of killers and dangerous fanatics.
e. 4 million air passengers are subject only to cursory checking meaning that officials were denied full use of the system, a vital weapon in the fight against terrorism
f. The system proved to be incapable of producing an accurate, “headcount” of travelers moving, “in and out” of the UK, leaving officials in the dark about the true scale of illegal immigration.
g. Government ordered to pay £230m of taxpayers’ money to giant US firm behind disastrous border control scheme.
2. The Labour government’s promise to the Nation
a. The UK border will be, “exported” to other countries, forcing anyone attempting to get into Britain to reveal their personal information in advance.
b. The information gathered and passed to the UK border controls agency will be extensively checked against watchlists, security databases and then, logged on a vast database.
c. Extremists, criminals and wanted criminals would either be arrested at the airport or turned away. Alternatively, they could be placed under surveillance to identify terrorist plots.
3. From the outset, the system soon developed into a shambles.
a. It was delayed by EU countries who refused to participate on the grounds that the system breached Brussels directives, including on data protection.
b. There are still six airlines on the continent who are refusing to participate.
c. Technical problems meant people arriving on ferries, Eurostar trains, cruise ships and small planes were not screened in advance.
d. Even when known criminals and illegals were, “flagged” by the system, airports were not phoned in advance providing warning about their impending arrival.
4. Tory MP Philip Davies branded the project an absolute disgrace stating, ” The failures of the system should be attributed to the previous Labour government who had signed off a, disastrous, catastrophic contract”. The Chief Inspector of Borders, John Vine, confirmed in his report to Theresa May, (The Home Secretary)that the, ‘electronic borders’ project had started off badly and descended into a shambles. Theresa May cancelled the contract and the government was sued and lost.
5. The Expose Report
David Cameron Acting Tough
Teresa May Pledging Change and Improvements