Nigel Farage recording his latest 'Farage Investigates' video in the village of Barton Stacey in Hampshire

Home Office Considers More Inhospitable Places for Asylum Seekers

Uploaded last week, Nigel Farage’s final video of the year takes us on a trip to rural Hampshire where the Home Office is considering a new location for housing asylum seekers that’s once again far away from lawyers, charities, and anything else that could be useful to them.

It follows the same pattern as the other anti-migration videos Farage has produced this year: speeches starting in his car enlivened by his animated expressions and barrages of numbers, spliced with flashbacks of his ‘achievements’ this year through his ‘Nigel Farage Investigates’ videos.

Nigel Farage stands in front of the empty Ministry of Defence site the Home Office is intending to use to house up to 500 people seeking safety in portacabins [Image: Twitter]

The ten-minute film is typical Farage spiel, but it also reflects the Home Office’s mindset as it evaluates another inhospitable, former Ministry of Defence property as a place to put asylum seekers. In recent months, it has set up camps at two former army sites, and is now facing lawsuits and numerous human rights complaints at each.

The new, ex-military site in this case is a barren field seemingly next to nowhere, which many would consider to be a strange site for housing 500 asylum seekers in portacabins. It’d be a dangerous one too, given that to access nearby facilities they’d be obliged to walk alongside a dual carriageway.  

Much of this plan is actually to do with cost. Farage takes pride in having stirred up right-wing tension earlier this year over his estimates of the cost of hotels being used as emergency accommodation for asylum seekers. The outcry contributed to a Home Office drive to show big cost savings in asylum accommodation which has somewhat appeased the right-wing press.

The village of Barton Stacey, on the outskirts of which the Home Office seeks to house up to 500 asylum seekers on empty government land
The village of Barton Stacey, on the outskirts of which the Home Office seeks to house up to 500 asylum seekers on empty government land [Image: Tin Roof Images, The Guardian]

But neither costs nor cost-savings are of interest to Farage this time. His mention of the fact that the asylum seekers will be ‘mostly Africans’ is a casual but subtly-timed one, coming just before he stops at the tiny nearby town of Barton Stacey, which he presents as an idyllic English country village, with a historic church and an affable Brigadier chairing the parish council.

The Brigadier concedes to Farage that locating asylum seekers at the site would seem ridiculous. But he doesn’t get drawn into agreeing with a broader, anti-migrant rant. For that digression, Farage meets the young local man who tipped him off about the project.

Suggesting that a ‘hundred’ such places will be dotted around England if not stopped ‘at source,’ the local enables Farage to present the speech he really wanted to give – a message suggesting that such quaint villages are in imminent danger because of the ‘European Human Rights regime,’ on account of which, he said in closing: “People appeal, again and again, and finish up not being deported.”

“I don’t look forward to 2021 with any prospect of this situation improving,” he added dramatically as the video faded out, not commenting on the fact that a review of the Human Rights Act has recently been announced.

His mention of the fact that the asylum seekers will be ‘mostly Africans’ is a casual but subtly-timed one, coming just before he stops at the tiny nearby town of Barton Stacey, which he presents as an idyllic English country village

The possible setup of a camp at this spot is among a plethora of fresh Home Office controversies that now include a new law denying the right for refugees to claim asylum in the UK if they’ve passed through a ‘safe’ third country, and housing new asylum claimants at an expansion at Yarl’s Wood – a removal centre which became infamous for its torture and abuse allegations a few years ago.

Given the scale of damage suffered by so many due to Covid-19 this year, many have questioned the Home Office’s continuing ‘hostile environment’ policy. But not Farage, who’s been arguing that this was the year ‘we lost control of our borders thanks to Priti Patel and the Home Office.’

[Header image: Video still, Twitter]

Written by
Raoul Walawalker