Thursday, 25 February 2016

searching for home: immigration in Britain today

David Cameron is trying to forge a deal with Europe before Britain holds the referendum to decide if the people want to remain a part of the European Union. Turkey is busting at the seams and begging other countries to take more refugees in, while other countries are standing with their backs turned, fingers in their ears, singing 'la la la'. 

These are the same countries which have contributed to the climate change causing massive problems with agriculture in Syria.

These are the same countries which profit from providing weapons to those that will buy them.

I don't get it.

My main problem, I think, is that the earth is a ball of rock with some rather lovely chemical reactions on it, handily positioned to enable life to exist. One particular species is doing rather well on that planet, and, being one of them I don't particularly mind about that. But I do have issues about the games that are being played.

It started off with little tribes of people doing what they needed to do, and respecting or arguing over each others boundaries. But people moved, and moved on, and some of those boundaries got taken more seriously. In the days of Empire building it was as if the earth was some giant Risk board, but thankfully those days are now at an end (I think). 

Now the countries seem to be guarding their borders like my kids guard their cereal box forts at the breakfast table. 'No more people in here!' Although people are allowed of course. The right people. Just not poor people, or people in need.

But boundaries are not cereal box forts. Really they're just lines on a picture of the earth, and the people who want to move are real life human beings who need food, water, and respect.

Would you watch your neighbour's house collapse and say 'well, we'll take two of you in, but no more than that... and don't think you can help yourself to biscuits'?

If someone down the road had a housefire and you could take them in for the night would you argue that actually they should stay at the first house they went past?

My own family have had to get away from a dangerous situation, carrying what they could, and making what economic provisions they could, in straitened circumstances, moving to a new country, and having to rely on the kindness they could find. They found it. You can read about it here.

And I know that there is an argument that one night might be fine, but they'll stay! Well, if they stay it's because we've got a country that's worth staying in, and isn't that a good thing? If they stay they bring their skills, and their genes, and their willingness to be here, and isn't that a good thing? 

There are no people who originated in Britain. We have all moved here at some point. Our language is beautiful, and reflects the waves of immigration we have experienced.  We can not only cope with more. We should surely welcome them. 

Molly, the neighbour's dog. I'm not letting her in. She'll eat stuff and run about and bark and before you know it there will be dogs everywhere. (Clearly I'm kidding. Molly's a lovely dog. Dogs just freak me out is all!)