Weird war on migrants and the Great British F*** Off

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

Priorities are so important. For example, if, say, you had a crisis at your border, with a deadly standoff in which thousands of migrants were stranded, camped in freezing temperatures and often without access to food, you’d probably think: “Quick, let’s get a commemorative coin minted!”

That’s what happened in Poland, where the National Bank announced it would accelerate the issuance of a special collectors’ coin “dedicated to the defense of the Polish eastern border” (that’ll be the one that includes Belarus). Wonder if you can spend the coins on blankets, soup and visas?

On the subject of migration-stories-that-have-gone-a-bit-weird, congratulations if you had “sports shop becomes front line of migration row” on your news bingo card! Yes, branches of the retailer Decathlon in northern France have stopped selling canoes to prevent migrants from using them to cross to the U.K.

Buying a canoe “will no longer be possible” in Decathlon stores in Calais and Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, “given the current context,” the retailer told AFP. A quick glance at Decathlon France’s website reveals that there are currently product recalls on harnesses, swimming shorts and multivitamins, so perhaps the company isn’t stopping at canoes and is getting rid of any item that could be of use when making the potentially-deadly journey to Britain.

Canoeing migrants are not the only things being stopped from making the Channel crossing. According to media reports, pies made in the U.K. will be banned from export to the EU if their ingredients do not come from an “approved” farm or factory. According to the Independent, a Conservative former trade minister raised concerns about the exports of “chicken, ham and mushroom pies.”

Is there such an export market? Are the people of, say, Marseille up in arms, shouting: “This dinner of pieds paquets and bouillabaisse is all well and good, but what we really wanted was a British chicken, ham and mushroom pie!”???

You thought COVID was bad, then wait for the Great Pastry War of 2022!


“Wave to the people and act normally and no one will get hurt. “

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

Last week we gave you this photo:

Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).

“And when I use very small private planes for travel, it is for the purpose of saving the planet. Do you understand?” by Albrecht Rothacher.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor

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