Still they come. Those pesky migrants, all lumped together, a giant amorphous blob of humanity – or less than humanity, if you want to look away and pretend their plight is nothing to do with you. Still trying to get on trains and trucks. Still trying to get here.
By making them all one big mass it makes it easier to be fearful. Why are they coming here? What do they want from us? Are we in danger? As an island peering out across the sea, we seem to be the last stop on the line, the terminus. Why are they coming here, we wonder. Are we too generous, too kind? Are we not punitive enough?
On one hand, it seems like absolute ignorance for people who live on these islands to look across the channel and see people wanting to make a better life. Haven’t they read the history of this country, of how it colonised, conquered, carved up and robbed all parts of the world for its own appetite? Don’t they see the hypocrisy in wanting to pull up the drawbridge, given that this nation’s fortunes rested on expanding, voyaging, and plundering?
But then perhaps it’s exactly with this history in mind that home counties folk clutch their pearls at the prospect of “opening the floodgates”. What if these foreigners treat us the way we’ve treated foreigners through history – as a resource to be drained dry, and to hell with the people who live there? What if these people are just like us? What if they do to us what we did to them?
And still they come. And still we don’t see them as people, but as a plague to fear.