Apart from a rumble of disgust at the British Government’s response to the refugee crisis, I have not heard much discussion about the U.K’s sorting criteria for ‘acceptable’ refugees.  Britain is not open to refugees on the move, irrespective of the reasons why.  What we hear, is that any refugees that Britain accepts will have to be in the official camps  They will include the most vulnerable, (whatever that means) and likely, orphan children.  Alarmist voices quickly channeled all the resources arguments against giving refuge to unaccompanied children. The same arguments have been raised in respect of the trickle of ‘acceptable’ refugees over five years that Britain may give refuge too, 4000 per year.  In this instance the Westminster Government response was to offer time-limited assistance in areas where any refugees may be settled.

Funding the needs of extra people is a consideration, it has to be.  While that discussion is being resolved both domestically and internationally, it is worth remembering history shows that  previous waves of refugees who arrived in Britain have and still do substantially contribute to the wealth of this country.

Britain has not been mean with aid on the ground, far from it.  A major slice of basic aid in forming the camps, in particular, in Lebanon, has been given through the generosity of the British people.   But, not all refugees are in camps, there are a large number eking out an existence in  sub-standard conditions in countries like Jordan.  That said, their need to  be fed is no different from the refugees in the other camps.   Like many  in camps, (including camps in Turkey) they are now being forced to move on because the United Nations (U.N) which has been supporting these camps with food aid, has run out of money for food aid for  the refugees. The U.N has been reliant on international financial donations to support vast numbers of people with food.  Starkly put, the refugees, whether in camps or shacks, can no longer be fed.  Their choices for survival – the basic human instinct – are limited to moving on, to attempt to survive.  Life becomes a lottery. In trying to survive many die.

Communities around the U.K have spontaneously been taking practical steps; there have been collections of warm clothing for people stuck at Calais and other ports, who have arrived  at these places wearing their sandals and lightweight clothing, none of which is suitable for surviving Northern European Winters. In Vienna,  clothing donated from many sources  is given to the refugees as they arrive in the city. I expect the same scenario will have been enacted throughout other refugee arrival points, where refugees are being treated  with dignity.  Sad to say, treating the refugees with dignity  is not universal.

I was appalled to hear the rhetoric of Fascism by the Hungarian Government and from other Eastern European States. The Balkan Wars and the Hungarian uprising against Russian suppression  are all still within living memory.  They created refugees who were desperate for help.  Some of my faith in humanity was restored when I saw and heard the reports of the Hungarian people individually helping refugees, irrespective of their Government’s distasteful stance.

The UK has no need to swell its population with young and intelligent people from elsewhere to support an ageing population as much as some of our neighbour countries do, (like France and Germany, for example).   So, to minimise our responsibility to what the world has now accepted is a true refugee crisis, (as opposed to economic migrants) from Africa and the Middle East,  this is what the British Government says it is going to do over five years.  Britain will consider taking  a total of 20,000 ‘acceptable’ Refugees, (4000 per year) who are in official refugee camps.  Perhaps, from those selected  there will be orphan children.  You are definitely not going to be offered refuge in the U.K if you are a refugee with the many thousands on the move,  who are  risking life and limb to survive.




    • I heard a couple of weeks ago about the loss of food aid for the refugees from sources on the ground. For some inexplicable reason, Bushka, it was not reported in the UK till late last week. Selective exposure of events is problematic. We have no control over the selection. As for honesty…….that may be too much to ask governments that are primarily sensitive to themselves, including our own.

  1. I too am concerned about the biased reporting of the subject. It’s a hugely complex situation needing a proper, multilateral, long-term, thought-out and sustainable strategy to underpin a compassionate response. But will that happen?

  2. So often our only source of info is the media, which is limited, biased and flawed. It is heart wrenching seeing the genuine sufferers being held back from help. It is such a large and complex subject with no true answer.

    Nowadays in a generalised fashion, there is great cynicism over offering help anywhere, because it is impossible to prevent it from being exploited by others for monetary gain, or people pretending to be within the category of those being assisted (I remember a spate where Brazilians were getting fake Portuguese papers to enter Europe and move about freely), as ever the true honest genuine sufferer misses out or suffers extra hardship as all the hoops are jumped.

    I’ve waffled, sorry.

    • Hi AnneMarie,

      No apologies needed, the subject is a very difficult one to put into words and to emotionally deal with. We are easy prey to bias, the fear of fear, and many variants of manipulations and propaganda. Our own national politics have not been innocent of the source of much of this devastation in Iraq and North Africa. In this we have responsibilities where more heart working with head, at the very least, is called for.

  3. It is a real emergency now for sure, and I doubt people would take such risks for nothing and real solutions have to be thought out carefully. The media drives me insane, on saturday hubs and I went to a concert in the Liverpool arena where Liverpool bands performed to raise money for the Red Cross for refugees everywhere, the hope is that every city in Europe will do the same yet national media didn’t even cover the concert or the cause, despite a fortune being raised….the concert was called, From Liverpool with

  4. Hi Snowbird,

    There are very many initiatives for the refugees all over the UK and in many other countries. I think the Red Cross have been slow on the uptake at this stage of the crisis and it is not clear what focus they have. (Better late than never). There was someone out with a Red Cross tin, here, at the weekend, after there had been massive giving in this area for the refugees through a spontaneous ground swell cause throughout Scotland. The charities working in the war theatres are up against it.

    Well done to the people of Liverpool and surrounds, who demonstrated their wish to help in such vast numbers. BTW the Government don’t want the media to spell out their political attitude, they will thwart it at every turn.

    Caritas have been hard at work in Europe with those forced to go on the move. Sprog, like a lot of people with a room, has been taking in refugees with children through various organisations on the ground, who help the refugees on their way.

    We have to accept that the people who cannot move on, or, who have not moved on for one reason or another, need help and are vulnerable. We have to accept that people who have got out, those who have moved on from camps, because of many horrible issues and they were told their food aid was being withdrawn, are also vulnerable and need help.

    There are politicians are bouncing the responsibility around, there is no conjoined political will, or co-ordination.

    Thanks for your comment. xxxxx

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