The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th November 2021

Brrr. We have had such a mild autumn the sudden drop in temperature which makes it clear Winter has arrived is an unwelcome shock. Cold weather is seldom something I enjoy, but this year with hikes in fuel prices it is even less welcome. I don’t like a hot home. I prefer to add layers rather than strip off in overheated rooms, and the climate crisis makes such choices greater than wondering if I can pay the bills.

The very idea of climbing into a fragile, overcrowded boat and crossing even a narrow river in this weather would terrify me, and I don’t think I’d be alone. So what horrors are people who are prepared to try to cross the English Channel in such conditions fleeing? It really doesn’t take much imagination to understand that if you are ready to take such risks, you don’t have a comfortable safe home to return to. Yet our government and many people in these islands talk of migrants and refugees as though they are heading for the UK attracted by the idea of a welfare state that will care for them, that it’s a considered choice and one that is casually taken. Refugees are fleeing situations where they face torture and death. Norman Tebbitt MP famously told people in this country to get on their bikes and look for work outside their home area. It’s a refrain reworked with similar words by politicians today. Unless of course your search for work and a living wage means you come to the UK from elsewhere. Then you are an economic migrant, a phrase loaded with disdain. Nobody climbs into an overcrowded boat to cross the world’s busiest shipping lane in winter to come to the UK if they have positive choices at home.

The language around migration, the language around refugees is so negative. Yet these islands are made up of migrants, and to talk of Britishness as though it’s an unchanged set of DNA characteristics traceable back to ancient times is patent nonsense. No one, no set of people owns a country. We are merely temporary custodians. The aristocracy, those who can trace ownership of lands back through many generations, are simply the descendants of land grabbers, dressed up as some sort of superior beings. They aren’t better than anyone else, just more ruthless and more power hungry.

Anyway, and to change the subject, I have been receiving emails from Australia, the US, even Watford to say that the Ginger Ninja calendars have arrived. I like to think of this small group of people around the world linked by a calendar of my cat. Rally around MasterB, be united in affection for him. He is a very sweet cat, and a much better cause than a flag used to defend the indefensible.

I’m for bed. Sweet dreams. Stay safe and keep well, and keep warm.

11 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 25th November 2021

    • Much of his life is spent in leisure 😹. He’s very hard to photograph on the move! He avoids the garden during the day as Romeo tends to be there. I am not great at night photography…

  1. Very well said, as usual, Isobel. It’s heartbreaking what the migrants are going through, and not many people seem to care. So very sad.

    • The rhetoric about protecting our borders, sending people back is deliberate, spinning the idea that we, the comfortable, need to be protected from the stateless. Disgusting, and more disgusting is the number of people who then repeat the nonsense mindlessly.

  2. I’m horrified and terribly sad, shameful and in rage about how insensitively and mercyless, we, westerners, are responding to migrating people.

    • Agreed, it’s a very cynical and inhumane response to humanitarian crises, often crises that the UK has helped create. It’s makes us hypocrites. The government knows it can whip up fearful anti-immigration sentiment quite easily; it’s a distraction from all the mistakes in government, the sideshows of corruption and incompetence. Having a disagreement with France is equally a distraction. The migrants and the refugees are pawns in a nasty game. All the government can bring itself to do is condemn the traffickers, but if we hadn’t helped cause problems in many of these countries and if we had a sensible and sensitive approach to helping refugees and screening migrants the traffickers would not exist.

  3. We have people who migrate to the U.S. from Mexico (and elsewhere) and the conservatives speak against it, citing crimes they commit and, like you said, a welfare state. I don’t know if any of it is true. Certainly people can commit crimes, our own citizens do. But I think the biggest problem is with the bureaucracy: there are so many people, so many committees, and no one really knows what every other person is doing. Money that’s earmarked for one thing ends up being pocketed elsewhere, and that’s a fact. It happened in our state with money for covid19. The state ran out of it in May or June because someone in Oklahoma’s bureaucracy used the money for parks and recreation.
    And there’s no empathy, no caring, no really trying to be in another’s shoes. Not everyone is like that thankfully.

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