The UK at the moment seems to be treating Asylum seekers as if they are pirates raiding us- perhaps it would be more realistic if we recognised the great compliment being paid to us that people want to come here, for whatever reason. We should stop treating them like dirt, and recognise what it is that drives them from their homes. Political unrest and Climate Change are major “drivers”, but a free-market capitalist global economy will always suck people in, especially into London’s economy. There is plenty of evidence that unskilled immigrants do not compete with British workers, because they do jobs no one else wants- and many enterprises, including the NHS, have a high demand for skilled workers By November 2019 10 million people in the UK (14 percent of the population) had been born outside the UK- 35 percent of these were living in London. Businesses gain the benefits, and Government and taxation are left to deal with the social effects (given that we have been told for 40 years that taxation is the nearest thing to legalised theft, rather than an agreement to share responsibilities within the national “family”, this creates political problems).
We assume that the global economy was a creation of “European Civilisation”, but in fact we were the “pirates”- for example the East India Company, finding no market for English wool, deliberately undermined Indian cotton exports. And the international arms trade adds to conflict (also military activity is secret and not counted as part of the UK’s Carbon “footprint”).
Our history as we have been taught it tends to depict incomers as invaders and “bad news”- Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans. Fear of the “unknown” is in many ways a natural reaction, but can easily turn to prejudice and bigotry if it is not properly dealt with- and the Government has failed to do that in recent years, leaving it to the initiative of local groups (such as a group in Cardiff learning language by conversation, and discovering an Iranian opera singer who was still threatened with removal).
The number of Asylum seekers peaked in 2002 at 85,000, then fell to 18,000 in 2010, and rose again to 36,000 by 2019. Greatest numbers were from Iran, Eritrea, Iraq and Syria- from 2021 Afghanistan will be added to those. [In the 1980s emigration numbers were larger than immigration by 16 thousand; in the 1990s immigration was higher by 625,000, and in the present century higher by 2.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and 2.5 million from 2010 to 2020].
Our reading was Matthew chapter 13, verses 1 to 17- “Why does Jesus teach in parables?” (or “riddles”). Those who are blinded by their own prejudices will never see the truth- but the riddle will perhaps provoke others until the light dawns and the “penny drops”.
Perhaps what is needed is a modern day “Dunkirk rescue” (like the one in 1940) to bring Asylum seekers safely to Britain- and a flood of letters to newspapers to counteract those who want the UK to turn its back even more firmly against the rest of the world.