Leaving Calais we were confronted with a web of seemingly miles of high fencing topped with rolls of razor wire and barbed wire, erected in our Government’s xenophobic, canutian attempt to protect fortress Britain from the invading “swarm” – sic – of refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants desperate for a share in the security and relative prosperity we enjoy.
We were reminded that this fence was erected by the UK government, that is at the UK taxpayer’s expense, an expense in which, to my shame I have shared, I who have protested with righteous indignation at the wall erected with rather more justification by the Israeli government to protect their security from their Palestinian neighbours.
But that is a shame in which I have no no choice but to share. A far greater shame was my indulgence in the emotional titillation of watching from the safe and comfortable seat of my luxury coach the distant figures standing or walking about in the rain who had endured God knows what tribulation in their pilgrimage to a promised land. All that remained was to cross the Jordan of the English Channel which our government is sparing no effort to prevent.
Cameron’s declared policy is to make this country so unattractive to would-be migrants that they no longer wish to come. Notwithstanding the difficulty of making life less attractive than what they presently endure, the bitter irony of such a policy is that its justification is their perceived threat to our privileged life-style. Since when have we had a divine right, or indeed a human birthright, to a more comfortable standard of living simply because we had the privilege of being born in this “other Eden” of Shakespeare’s Richard II. He may have boasted of “this precious stone set in the silver sea which serves in the office of a wall…a moat… against the envy of less happier lands” but the world has moved on and such jingoistic isolationism is no longer tenable in the globalism of the 21st century.
If Cameron really wants to discourage the envy of those from “less happier lands” the logical policy would be to bridge the moat, open the flood-gates and welcome with open arms those who find our life-style more attractive than that into which they had the misfortune to be born until the waters of global economics have found their level. Then, and only then there will be peace.
The cynic may write this off as unrealistic, utopian idealism but those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ have no such let out. They are bound by the words of him who to the question “How can a rich man enter the kingdom?” replied “With God all things are possible”.