We should be deeply ashamed of these statistics, as a nation. https://twitter.com/YouGov/status/1293196614266507267
Sure, you can look at how these statistics break down by party or by Brexit position or whatever, but fundamentally this is a failure of humanity.
And this just means that fifty per cent of British people polled don’t understand international law (as well as humanity). We *do* have a duty to help people who come to us to claim asylum. https://twitter.com/YouGov/status/1293196616191684608?s=20
There are lots of reasons people might want to come to Britain over other European nations to seek asylum. Perhaps they speak English, or think their children will have more options if they learn. Perhaps they have family or an extended community here.
Perhaps all those much-vaunted British values are appealing to people! Perhaps the PR job we attempt to do on our national identity actually works! Perhaps people actually believe in British fairness and justice and tolerance! I don’t, but perhaps they do.
Perhaps these people think that, since there’s a pretty good chance that we sold the governments the bombs that those governments are now dropping on these people, that it’s really our problem to solve. https://twitter.com/lottelydia/status/1267769969854615553?s=20
It’s not illegal to be a refugee, it’s not illegal to claim asylum. It’s not illegal to paddle in a boat across the Channel from France to do so. It’s not illegal to travel to a specific country to claim asylum, or to travel through “safe” countries to a different destination.
If it was illegal to do those things, the law would be wrong, and I think we’d have a duty to resist it and to change it. But it’s not illegal. International law accepts the existence of the refugee — the postwar settlement was built in a world full of refugees.
Warsan Shire’s “no one puts their children in a boat / unless the water is safer than the land” is quoted a lot but the line I always remember from that poem is “home is the mouth of a shark”. https://www.facinghistory.org/standing-up-hatred-intolerance/warsan-shire-home
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