Hey everyone On Monday afternoon British Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that The United Kingdom would take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the lifetime of this parliament. Many people including myself do not think this response goes far enough and would like to see more being done in what is a not migrant crisis but a global humanitarian disaster of catastrophic proportions.
The fact that we are witnessing what is one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of the modern era is something which seems obvious to most forward thinking citizens not only in Scotland or Britain but throughout the democratic world. The responses of ordinary people in Austria Germany Sweden and many other nations shows humanity at its best, as at national, local, and individual level everyone does what they can to help those in desperate need.
So why am I so angry with the British establishment and what I can only describe as their cackhanded way of dealing with what is a highly sensitive and emotional issue I am angry because of the insensitive way in which this global crisis has been presented by the British press and media. To say that those fleeing unprecedented terror are as Mr Cameron has said in the past a swarm of migrants, for the BBC the official broadcasting wing of the British state to constantly refer to the refugees as a the result of a migration crisis, for the press to promote the idea that there is a such a thing as too many refugees and that poor little Britain is overcrowded and can’t cope with any more people coming to our little island.
This, quite frankly, makes a mockery of the values the on which the British establishment have always claimed a monopoly on such as fairness, tolerance, and respect for other cultures and nations. I make this point not because I voted yes in my country’s independence referendum a year ago though the Scottish Government’s pledge to take a thousand refugees as a starting point does make me feel good about my yes vote. I make this point to illustrate the startling difference between a fledgling semi autonomous democracy and an old, tired, privileged elite which to be honest serves no purpose in the modern world.
You see, I see a very British problem which has always existed but nobody seems to acknowledge namely the British establishment has and has always had long standing hatred of those they consider to be ‘others’ For a nation founded on the rocks of blood, bigotry, and imperial military supremacy this is I am afraid the default position and this distrust of those from other countries has been drip fed for centuries to a country which was to a significant extent differential so it became part of a British identity based on exclusion and difference rather than inclusion and diversity. Yes I know some people will say that through time Britain has absorbed other cultures and will no doubt refer to their local Chinese, Indian, and Italian restaurants or the fact the somewhere from Poland, Romania, or Jamaica to attempt to demonstrate this fact. This cuts no ice with me, it never has and never will. You see whilst we all take people as we find them on an individual basis we seem to be a lot less understanding when there are more than one or two from any different national group.
This has been the same throughout history, look if you will to the demonisation of the Polish and Romanian communities who came to this United Kingdom as economic migrants and the demonisation they suffered at the hands of the press and media. Look further back and you will find the same happened to the Ugandan Asians and the Jewish communities when they first came to our shores and we all know that Britain has a great record on showing kindness to the Irish diaspora who settled here and I don’t think. So as you can see the word British can barely be used in the same sentence as tolerance let alone acceptance when it comes embracing the ways of the ‘other’. On far too many occasions the excuse that Britain is an island and therefore cut off from Europe and its problems has been used as an excuse not to give a damn One only needs to look at the television programmes made in the 1970’s and a lesser extent the 80’s to see the stereotypical images used to portray these cultural prejudices.
But surely society has changed from those days and Britain has moved says the received wisdom of the chattering classes. I smile and think if only that were true. The sad fact is however that it isn’t true and those dark days we wish to wash out of our history are held up as an example of how the United Kingdom should be many on the Conservative right. Believe me British Imperial Nationalism lives on in the hearts and minds, of those who believe that the United Kingdom is still an important player on the world stage. The truth however is somewhat different. With its role steadily diminished since the end of the Second World War Britain like a drunk on a saturday evening has no conception of reality or idea as to where it’s supposed to be going or how to reach its destination. Like a drunk Britain is aggressive and hostile of those they regard as others. This is especially true of those with whom they can see or hear a particular difference and since the Syrian refugees are in the main predominately Muslim the press and media have gone into action on this ‘migration’ being a threat to British values and traditions as the Muslims launch a takeover bid on our overcrowded island.
The fact that no such takeover bid is being talked about outside Fleet Street or the strangest corners of Westminster matters not one jot to the perpetrators of this fabrication. As far as they are concerned their way of life is under threat and that is all that matters. Forget the fact this is a global crisis, or humanitarian disasters according to the fourth estate the British way of life is under threat and that is the message they need to convey to the masses as demonising Johnny Foreigner will allow this callous and uncaring government to pursue a ruthless agenda of cuts in the name of austerity. It is really is the oldest trick in the book when there’s trouble at home look for scapegoats abroad and this time it’s the Syrians who are being labelled as Britannia’s bogeyman by daring to come to our shores. Why they would actually want to come to such hostile country I can’t begin to imagine I for one am ashamed to be part of Little Minded Britain a country which closes doors and minds and looks the other way when it should be opening hearts and border and extending the welcoming hand of friendship to those in genuine need.
However I do not live in a tolerant nation let alone an accpting one and I have learned from history that demonising foreigners is a very British problem and it’s wrapped in the language of fear. This is something that the fourth estate is not in the mood to change. Why should it? This language has served it well and wil no doubt continue to so for as we let it. There are times we need to remember the words of Edmund Burke who is still regarded as the father of modern Conservatism when he says that All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. This is something neither we as a country nor the global family of nations can afford the consequences of such apathy. We need to act and act now to ensure this crisis does not get any worse we owe it to humanity and we owe to our future generations to make our country a kinder, fairer, and ultimately safer place to live in.
Love And Best Wishes