“This is very testing,” admitted David Cameron. “I accept that, because you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live,” the Prime Minister told ITV. “But we need to protect our borders by working hand-in-glove with our neighbours, the French, and that is exactly what we are doing,” he added, making absolutely sure that the Élysée Palace was left in no doubt about Anglo neighbourliness and Franco obligation.
And, behold, a certain politician / journalist / charity worker / human-rights advocate tempted him, saying, Prime Minister, who are these “swarms” of migrants? Is that not irresponsible, dehumanising language? Is it not extremely inflammatory, not to say deeply insensitive, to deride desperate migrants as flying ants, to be swatted aside or crushed underfoot? These are people – men, women and children, fleeing hardship, conflict, persecution and suffering. They come from Afghanistan, Sudan and Syria, risking their lives and gambling all they have in a desperate attempt to make a better life in the UK.
“Working hand in glove with our neighbours” are we? And who is our neighbour?
The Calais migrants may be a swarm to the Prime Minister, playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse as the vermin gnaw through barbed-wire fences and storm the Channel Tunnel, clinging for dear life to high-speed freight trains or squeezed into the undercarriage of a lorry heading for Birmingham. But they are a precious flock to Jesus; a multitude who hunger for daily bread and thirst for the water of life, just like we English and our neighbours, the French. He walks among them, past their stinking toilets to their homespun tents. And on Sundays He sits beside them as they worship in the plastic pews of their cardboard churches, listening to their prayers of hope and cries of misery.
A certain Sudanese migrant went up from Darfur to Calais, and on the way he fell among Libyan thieves, who stripped him of his coat and stabbed him, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain Italian immigration officer: and when he saw him, he ordered him to leave Sicily. They gave him a free boat ride, and departed, leaving him to drown.
And likewise a French police officer, when he saw him, he looked in contempt and told him to leave the country. They gave him free train rides, and waved him through security.
But a certain Englishman, as he journeyed, came where he was sleeping on the streets: and when he saw him in his torn jeans, worn-out pumps and filthy T-shirt, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and fed him, and gave him temporary accommodation in Birmingham, and handed him an 11-page document from the Home Office so he could apply to remain in Britain.
And on the next day, they asked him who saved him. And he said: “The British saved me.”
Which now of these three, do you think, was neighbour to the swarm of Calais migrants?