It’s not OK. It’s not understandable. It’s not excusable. There is no reason to stand outside a place housing desperate refugees and migrants and scare them to death. Except to feel power through intimidation. It doesn’t make any sense, rational or decent. Take the argument at face value. It is based in the concept that the UK has enough problems of its own, that as a nation it is full and it simply doesn’t have the resources to meet the needs of the needy.
This idea is stoked by senior politicians, including the current Home Secretary, who uses the word “invasion” to describe migrants trying to reach UK shores. Want evidence that words have consequences? A banner at a ‘protest’ outside a hotel housing refugees in Rotherham just over a week ago read ‘End the invasion. Stop immigration’.
At another ‘protest’ recently there was a banner that read ‘House Britain’s Homeless first’. This implies rectitude, that there is a compassion at play and that the need of those closest must be met. That also implies that, well of course as soon as that is sorted, we’ll turn to the poor from outwith these shores. Bunkum.
It’s false equivalency. For a start, the funding that needs to be poured into emergency help for those who find them homeless, never mind the millions that need to be given over to prevent the systemic poverty that allows the poorest in society to become the dispossessed, is rather deeper than the pounds and pence needed to house those who come to Britain in need. In fact, the numbers of those from outside the UK falling into homelessness because provision doesn’t exist for them is rising (see page 7).
And if we want to talk about public purse money, let’s look at the tax receipts for January, just revealed. The exchequer hoovered in an increase of £44.9 billion compared to the same period last year. Even allowing for government borrowing, that still delivers a surplus. The UK is not broke. Though those right on the edge facing hammering costs brought by galloping inflation and wage stagnation might find that hard to believe.
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