The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a UK charity dedicated to saving lives at sea have come under attack lately for deploying their services in aid of migrants who find themselves in trouble while making the death-defying cross of the English Channel to reach the UK.
One of their major antagonist is politician, Nigel Farage who just found a new platform in the newly launched UK’s version of Fox news. Farage compared the RNLI to a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs”.
In a five-minute rant on his GB News show on Wednesday, the former leader of the Brexit Party again criticised the RNLI after its chief executive Mark Dowie directly responded to his earlier rant, saying that the institution was “very proud” of its humanitarian work and that its purpose was to save lives. More than 9,000 people have reportedly crossed the Channel in 2021.
In response, Farage claimed that he had “massive admiration” for the RNLI but believes that the French and British authorities are not doing enough to stop migrant boats from attempting to cross the Channel. Farage then doubled down on his comments claiming he was “pointing out the truth” and bragged that if they want a fight he’s “fought people bigger and uglier than you.”
That was all it took for the British public to get involved mostly on Twitter that led to a massive uptick in donations for the RNLI on a day when they’ve been forced to justify saving lives in a four-minute video clip which instantly went viral.
Of course, Farage has had a few people parrot his remarks, however, majority of people have come out in support of the RNLI with many feeling that the lifeboat charity should not be having to be defend itself against these accusations and thanking them for their heroic work.
It has since been revealed that more than £200,000 has been raised for the RNLI via their website in the last 24 hours which is a 2000 per cent increase from the previous day. Their usual average is between £6000 to £7000. There has also been a 270 per cent increase in people viewing volunteer roles on the site too.
In a press release Jayne George, the RNLI Fundraising Marketing and Media Director said: “We are overwhelmed with the huge level of support we have received from our amazing supporters in the last couple of days. We have seen an uplift in donations, with over £200K being donated yesterday alone through a combination of one-off donations, new regular support and supporters increasing their regular donation amount. This is simply incredible.
“We know that this is a polarising issue and people have strong opinions on the subject. Sadly, a small number of supporters have contacted us to withdraw their support.”
Farage began complaining about the migrant boats arriving in the UK last year and specifically focused on those arriving in Kent and Sussex. This appears to have whipped up a minority of people who have apparently taken to abusing RNLI volunteers when they returned to shore after rescuing migrants.