I felt compelled to put into words my thoughts on the situation in Calais following David Cameron’s intervention, describing those seeking refuge in the United Kingdom, as ‘swarming’ over the border.
To invoke the language of the BNP, UKIP, the National Front, and the English Defence League is irresponsible and inflammatory. Similar language was used by the Daily Mail in the 1930s when describing Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution.
My family are refugees; my grandparents and their three young daughters were forced to flee their homes following the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. This issue is therefore very close to my heart. The UK gave refuge to my family in the 1970s, and for this they will be eternally grateful. They became part of London’s mosaic society. As with many other immigrants at the time, they were welcomed by both the government and society. Immigrants were seen as beneficial to the country, they brought with them skills, and a willingness to work long hard hours to better their lives. They saw the UK as a safe haven, and respected the native population. At the time the British people, by and large welcomed them, and accepted that immigrants were good for both society and the economy.