The migrants heading to Britain bring with them a world of opportunityby AC Grayling / August 20, 2015 / Leave a comment
Put yourself in the shoes of a migrant at Calais, hoping to get to a place which is stable and peaceful, where there is the chance of work, where a language is spoken that you know. You have taken risks, sometimes great risks, and have paid hugely in money and the emotions of parting from family and everything familiar.
You might be a qualified teacher or engineer in your own country. It is possible that you have risked and paid so much in the hope of living a life of ease on British welfare benefits, getting medical treatment for free. But if so you are one of the very few. Those who have ventured riskily across thousands of kilometres to escape hell and to find a better life are not the lazy sort.
Think of matters this way and you see them in a more humane light. It puts into perspective the two major problems that the Calais migrants represent, neither of which can bear delay in being addressed.
One is the geographically immediate problem of treating the migrants decently, sorting out which among them is a genuine asylum seeker fleeing danger, and which is an economic migrant. To the former we might extend the hand of succour as we so often and magnificently did in the past, from Huguenots to Vladimir Lenin and the Jewish children of the Kindertransport in the 1930s.
Read more on migrants:
Inside Rome’s Termini Station
Four Calais migrant myths debunked
David Cameron’s Calais plan won’t work
To the latter we might offer some discernment. Which among them brings skills and experience, thus something to offer along with their desire to offer it? To those who neither come from danger nor have more than their hands and will to offer, let us give them a hearing and make a judgement. The second problem is the reason why tens of thousands are being driven out of the Middle East and North Africa by the breakdown of society there. We do well to remember that it is not just our jet bombers and troops who have…