There has been much hysteria stirred recently about the small boats carrying migrants arriving on Britain’s southern shores.

The Government has inflamed the situation with much ill-judged language, referring to invasions and floods.

This language has a ripple effect, fuelling an anti-migrant attitude in many parts of the country. There have been far right led attacks on asylum seeker hostels.

The tabloid media has played it’s part in contributing to the toxic atmosphere.

It was incredible in these troubled days to hear that immigration is the second most important issues among what are called the red wall seats in the north of England.

What seems to be missed in all of the debate about the small boats is that this is about real human beings. It’s not all some number crunching game.

People have to be desperate to get into a boat and take their chances in the most busy shipping lane in the world.

The Government depiction of the asylum seeker beggars belief. Someone fleeing war or floods, with just the shirt on their back will not have all the requisite papers required to apply for asylum. There need to be processes established - which there have been for those coming from the Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.These facilities need to be widened.

Great play is made of targeting traffickers. This obviously needs to be done but the traffickers network has developed as a symptom of the demand. What really needs addressing is the causes that are creating so many refugees worldwide - the wars and environmental disasters that cause people to flee their lands.

And in terms of the present asylum situation, the huge backlog needs clearing. An amnesty may need to be called, thereby creating a new starting point.

Asylum seekers should be allowed to work while in this country. Most want to contribute.

The Illegal Migration Bill, which effectively abolishes asylum, offers only a bonus to the private security sector. More desperate people will be incarcerated for longer because there is nowhere to send them. It is no answer but simply presents a particularly inhumane face of this country to the world.

The causes that create refugees are what need addressing and never forget every asylum seeker is a human being.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See