Saturday, August 15, 2015
Refugees and Immigration
Some of us have become perhaps too middle class. While walking down the long railway footpath to Wimbledon this morning to buy a newspaper I came across two Romanian women picking blackberries and some green foliage which I did not recognise. This reminded me of times when my own parents were comparatively young and not wealthy and we went out picking blackberries from Epsom Downs. The railway footpath blackberries today were/are luscious clean (no traffic except cyclists and nearby mainly electric trains) and plentiful yet I and presumably many others in the UK now buy ours from Sainsbury's. Have we become too middle class I wondered?
Immigration and refugees are difficult topics for the middle classes as the UK is clearly small geographically speaking and I believe one of the most crowded if not overcrowded countries in Europe.
However, historically in its influencing of others the UK has rarely been small but invariably both great and of course sadly like all humanity can be sometimes, ill.
The tradition of welcoming oppressed immigrant minorities to these shores is a long one; the Hugenots; Jews, Irish Pakistani; Bangladeshi and Ugandan Asians to name but a few. Yet today in C21 we are building barricades to inhibit the refugees from Syria from accessing the country. This I feel is a tragedy for the refugees who have already had their lives turned upside down and worse by ISIS and perhaps demeaning of us ourselves.
Of course admitting say 150,000 more people to the country would not be easy but as the large number of eg Polish immigrants from the EU illustrates they will in due course be likely to contribute much to society.
The balance of benefits and detriments to the UK is not the point however as the point surely is our common humanity.
Raising this topic with a catholic religious sister over coffee a few days back her view was in line with the above. She added that one only has to take the train from London to Edinburgh to see ample space where a new city for say 150,000 people could be built so the issue really is really one of fear and perhaps selfishness. Having reflected on her point for quite some time I agree.
Having attended at a now long since closed boarding school as a pupil in what was then called the "B" stream I had assumed that mo...