I don’t suppose I shall be able to reverse the flagging number of views for this blog as a result of what follows, but never mind. It’s a minority view, I’m sure, and quite out of kilter with public opinion in Britain so I’ll write it for myself.
Whilst purchasing urgent supplies of reduced price wine at Sainsbury’s this morning, I found myself having to look away from the newspaper stand. The gutter press, which now appears to include the Telegraph and the Times, has gone to town over the tragic story of the 27 human beings who drowned yesterday, trying to reach the UK. It felt from some of the headlines that we were somehow at war with the French whose fault it apparently is that desperate refugees left France to seek a better life over here. And they are not human beings, they are migrants.
27 people drowned from an inflatable boat, 17 men, seven women and three children. One of the women was pregnant. But they are but a number in the eyes of our gutter press and their political friends in government. All of them, I wager, have heard how the UK has been a safe and welcoming haven for the persecuted. I’m not sure that’s true any more. On the contrary, today’s newspapers try to dehumanise these poor people.
The box and vox pops don’t suggest the gutter press are out of step with their readers, either. I kept hearing and seeing people parroting the media lines, saying the usual things about why ‘these people’ don’t stop in the first safe place they come to? Then, they’re only here to get generous benefit payments and luxury houses. And how come so many of these ‘migrants’ are men, particularly young men?
I’m almost getting too weary to argue the toss anymore. ‘These people’ could get more money in other countries like France and Germany (they can’t get benefits and they’re not allowed to work). They get very basic accommodation. And the reason so many ‘migrants’ are young men is because they’re escaping countries where they are forced to carry out national service which is a near certain death sentence. Their families, particularly their mothers, scrimp and save for every penny to prevent their sons dying.
I see these so called Christian politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg condemning these desperate people and it makes me think: what if one of these people was a latter day Jesus Christ, a dark skinned man from the middle east, escaping persecution? What would the dishonourable member for the 19th century have to say about that? He’d send the poor bloke back, that’s what he would do. If in the unlikely event God exists, Jakey boy is destined to go to hell. I just wish there was a hell for people like him to go to.
“We should look after our own first!” says some gobshite in a radio phone in. Oh sure. Look after our own like starving pensioners struggling by on one of the lowest state pensions in Europe, like millions of children living in poverty and literally not having enough food to eat, like millions of people suffering on NHS waiting lists. Yeah, looking after people like that. And then we find that many of the ‘We should look after our own first” brigade voted for Boris Johnson who only ever wants to look after one person: Boris Johnson.
“You’d just let all THESE PEOPLE all come over here, wouldn’t you?” is a question I’ve been asked before. THESE PEOPLE: these desperate people who are escaping persecution, torture and even death. Too right I would. They’re people, human beings, just like me. But I don’t have the energy to get involved with this argument anymore or at least not to listen to the hate-filled anger directed their way.
Another blog reader gone now, taking it down to one, at least on a good day. And on a bad day, that one is probably me. Nearly a million people buy the Mail, almost as many buy the Sun. I’m in a tiny minority and I am fully expecting Priti Patel to have me locked up for what she would see as treason. Patel, the daughter of parents who passed through many safe countries, to start a new life in the UK when Idi Amin kicked the Ugandan Asians out of his country. But that’s different. Isn’t it?
Migrant has been turned into a dirty word. I prefer human being. I wish we could, in modern parlance, be kind to people, including people who don’t come from our country. But we just say ‘be kind’; we don’t mean it. And that’s the saddest thing of all.