An overheard conversation between a country and her conscience…

“This migrant crisis, it’s a terrible thing, all those foreigners choking up the English Channel – our channel – in an attempt to get here and live the life of riley at our expense…”

“Look to your conscience – that’s me speaking, by the way – and ask yourself this: why are those refugees trying to get here? It’s because they are fleeing crisis and misery in their own countries, and sometimes we’ve helped to generate that crisis and misery…”

“But it’s a crisis, a migrant crisis – I saw it on the TV news and read it in the newspaper.”

“Well, ask yourself who’s calling it a crisis and why. Look, I admit it’s a crisis, but only if you’re the poor sod who’s probably paid a fortune to dodgy characters to be chucked in a rubber dingy in the hope of reaching Dover. It’s a crisis for the exposed few in those little boats, not for us sitting at home in the warm and dry.”

“But the Home Secretary has cut short his holiday to sort it out…”

“Ah, yes – have you never heard of the rule that you should always be suspicious of politicians who end their holidays early to sort something out? There’s usually nothing they can do: it’s all just politicking, either to make themselves or their party look good. Usually they’d do far less harm if they stayed on holiday and annoyed their family, instead of coming home in a bluster of pomp and suspicious circumstance.”

“But that fellow, what’s he called, Savvy something or other, he’s appointed himself a gold commander or appointed someone a gold commander, so it must be important.”

“Think you mean Sajid Javid, the Home From Holidays Secretary. And, yes, he did appoint a gold commander or appoint himself as gold commander. But that’s not the point…”

“What is the point?”

“Oh, this so-called crisis is being knocked up for political reasons to stiffen Tory sinews before the vote on Mrs Maybe’s Brexit deal, you know, the one everyone on all sides hates.”

“What we need is a proper Brexit…”

“Oh, look, it’s New Year’s Eve and I don’t have the energy for that argument. But we’ve just had Christmas, you know, that time of hope and goodwill. We should show compassion to anyone trying to cross the channel, not vilify the poor people and stir up an artificial crisis.”

“But I just read Nigel Farage in the Daily Telegraph. Here, let me check. Yes, he says ‘The latest migrant crisis comes as no surprise to me…’”

“Oh, don’t go paying any attention to Nigel Farage. This would be a better country if no one ever again listened to a word that man says.”

“I still think there’s a crisis and…”

“Oh, do show a bit of compassion for a change. And see this ‘crisis’ for what it is: a put-up job to suit the moment. It’s all of a kind with that stupid wall Trump wants to build.”

“But walls keep people out…”

“Not if most of them fly into the States and then later outstay their visas or whatever. That wall is a symbol, and so is this unpleasant fuss about migrants. Anyway, we should probably be calling them refugees instead: migrant suggests they are taking those risks purely by choice. This is your conscience speaking – yes, that small but insistence voice you’ve not been listening to lately. Remember to show a bit of compassion. Happy new year to everyone, including refugees/migrants/immigrants and people from Europe who have happily made Britain their home for years, and now find themselves be asked to pay to stay…”

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