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May 4, 2016

No one can have missed the huge number of migrants who are leaving everything and risking all to enter Europe. There is a campaign currently to pressure our prime minister to allow children to settle in the UK, (presumably because children can’t be terrorists!)

As ever Britain is divided as to whether we should allow them in, many people – fuelled by the rhetoric of Brexit – tell us that the country is already full, that charity should begin at home, and indeed push these arguments to the extent of campaigning against giving any aid overseas.

Others point to a rich history of immigration to the UK, pointing out that we absorbed some 200,000 Jews from Europe prior to WW1, and a further 50,000 refugees during WWII, accepted 21,000 Hungarians in the 50’s. We opened our doors, (against some political pressure) to 28,000 Ugandan Asians expelled by Idi Amin, and again (against political pressure – this time by our then Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher) 24,000 Vietnamese “Boat people”.

None of these people groups have swamped our cities, put us into economic decline, or caused civil war. On the contrary, these people have settled, integrated, added value to our communities and brought out the very best in us.

We would do well to remember that all of us (except arguably the Welsh) are descended from immigrants, Viking or Norman if not more recent. Our stupid arguments to try and keep foreigners out diminish us.

We need to urgently pressure our government – despite the protestations of the red top press – to accept many thousands  of the desperate people currently living in inhumane conditions in contential Europe.

We need to demonstrate the welcome and hospitality that we rightly claim to be a mark of our Britishness, and roll out the red carpet for these mothers, fathers, and children who want nothing more than to have a chance to start their lives again. If we cannot even show common  humanity then we should feel shame!

 

 

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