Last week, I was making my way back by ferry from a family holiday in France. We're fortunate living in this part of the world that it's not too far to the south coast to get on a boat to the continent: not only is it quicker to get to, but we're also spared both the marathon waits at Dover and the long drive south on the other side.

Though there's no escaping the wait once you're back in Britain does it really need to take over an hour to get back through passport control?

We were catching the ferry home from Caen and as is customary, were doing that slow car shuffle to get on the boat, watching all the other queues of vehicles and becoming convinced that you'd be shepherded into the slowest line. As we neared the front, I noticed a police car to our left.

As we were ushered through, the car doors opened and out stepped four police officers, tightly surrounding a young man in T-shirt and shorts, who was escorted into a secure compound. Suddenly, my moans about how long we were waiting felt embarrassing and stupid.

Because it's not only holidaymakers who are crossing the Channel in large numbers at this time of year. So far in 2023, around 20,000 migrants have arrived in the small boats the government vowed to stop.

That figure is always a bit confusing they're numbers detected rather than the numbers arriving, and these statistics don't include those arriving via other means as well. But the summer, with (ha!) better weather, is peak time for such attempted crossings.

Stopping the boats by the end of the year was one of Rishi Sunak's five pledges set out back in January: promises and pledges that morphed into priorities and aspirations, and then downgraded further to an 'it's complicated' message from the Prime Minister last week.

Or in the words of straighter-talking Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson, the government has failed. That might be one of the factors behind this week's YouGov poll, which shows the Conservatives are now less trusted than Labour on immigration.

'It makes me sick,' Lee Anderson added, 'every time I see a boat cross the channel.'

Seeing that young man being escorted away as we drove onto the ferry gave me a similar sensation, though for different reasons.

I don't know anything about this particular person's life story but put it this way, people don't risk their life in an overcrowded dinghy for the fun of it.

For all the government rhetoric, the majority of those who arrive have genuine cases: according to Home Office figures, 90 per cent of small boat arrivals claim asylum: 60 per cent are successful.