My Visit to the Jungle Camp in Calais : Ed's Blog
Ed Hall
Sailor
A passionate and experienced offshore yacht racer, Ed completed his 6th Fastnet Race in 2017.

The Night Owl team was 12th to the Rock in the 2015 race, 10th in IRC2 in the 2011 Fastnet, and overall winner of the JOG Offshore Series in 2009.  

Both yachts Night Owl 1 and 2 have a great history, winning many races during the last few seasons, including Line Honours in the St. Peter Port race to Guernsey, Royal Thames Trophy in the St Malo Race, and the 2017 Warsash Spring Series. 

Ed is also an active RNLI crew member on the Thames Lifeboats and races other yachts and sails for pleasure too.
Business
Ed has been creating digital television and retail businesses since 1998. He has created multiple TV channels in news, film, sports and entertainment.  He also built and sold a group of TV shopping channels.

He has led on complex business projects in Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.  He created the UK's first financial services televison channel, Simply Money, and also created the first non-Sky red button interactive service.  

He has served as a board member on professional industry bodies for television and retail businesses in Asia, Europe, and Australia.

In 2011 he created Comux, a new company that beat the BBC to win the contract to build the national broadcasting infrastructure for the new UK-wide local television network, reaching 13 million homes.

In 2017 Ed took on a role as interim CEO restructuring a national terrestrial broadcaster in Greece. 

To discuss new opportunities or for advice you can always get in touch with Ed through his office at Expert Media Partners.
Journalist
Ed spent ten years as a writer, journalist and broadcaster in print, on radio, and on television.

He wrote and presented a range of programmes for BBC Radio 5 Live in the series Ed Hall Investigates winning a Sony Radio Award for News and Current Affairs in 1998.  The BBC News website carries details of his expose of a secret world trade in genetically-modified pigs click here.

Other radio programmes written and presented by Ed Hall include The First 100 Days (of the Blair Government) for BBC Radio, and Encyclopaedia Historica for the BBC World Service.  

In 1991 and 1992 Ed produced programmes for Channel 4 Dispatches and Thames Television on drug smuggling at Heathrow Airport and British mercenaries fighting in the former Yugoslavia.  Ed's book, We Can't Even March Straight (Vintage), was published in 1995 and was a catalyst for the campaign to lift the ban on lesbians and gays serving in the British Armed Forces. 

As a writer Ed's work has appeared in a very diverse range of publications including the Independent, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Evening Standard, and not forgetting Independent Grocer.
Blog and Contact
Ed uses Facebook most of the time to express views about current issues and generate debate, but from time-to-time he writes here too.  

He is also active and opinionated on Twitter and a search for @hall_ed will find him.
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My Visit to the Jungle Camp in Calais

by Ed Hall on 08/26/15

So, my initial thoughts on visiting the infamous Jungle Camp...

Firstly, it doesn't feel very temporary. I visited the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a chicken and chip shop, eight grocery stores and three phone charging points. This is much more like the 'informal settlements' of Apartheid South Africa. Most of the people I met spoke some English, very few of them spoke French.

I met an Eritrean man of 26 who had broken his leg trying to catch the Eurotunnel train: there are no doctors available to them who speak any languages here apart from French.  He has worn a cast for a month, has no idea when to go back to have it taken off or who to see. 

There are private security guards with black belts carrying security paraphenalia around the nearby ferry port fences who look very angry, I fear that is not going to go well.

I met a group of four Afghan brothers, one of whom claimed to have worked for the British Army (unless he has been watching re-runs of It Ain't Half Hot Mum at language school I'm inclined to believe him). His youngest brother living there and chasing trains and lorries is twelve. I gave him some sweets and got a massive grin in return.

The conditions are disgusting and something has to be formalised, we would not allow this in England, we shouldn't tolerate it here. There is a series of complex villages within the camp ordered along ethnic and religious lines, which has created a form of government, but it is anarchic and fragile.

I went to Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Afghanistan. The Afghans were playing beach volleyball and have started a cricket team. Seriously.

I took tins of ravioli, pasta, bread, oranges and some sweets. I didn't feel threatened at any stage, one man chased me for a while, grabbed me and asked if I had a SIM card, when I said no he apologised. I was offered coffee in three tents and saw balloons being blown up for a child's birthday party in another.

No conclusion really: I don't have an answer to the geopolitical problems, but this informal camp has to be sorted and made more human, dignity and respect for fellow human beings requires that.

The only other major thing I will add is that the extreme British Left is here in force, militant and active. They are holding activist meetings, supporting groups of refugees, repairing their bicycles and organising demonstrations and videoing the police. This is going to get a lot more political yet...

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