Economic migrants or refugees?

Royal Marines from HMS Bulwark help rescue migrants stranded on a boat, thirty miles off the Libyan coast. Photo: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror/PA Wire
Royal Marines from HMS Bulwark help rescue migrants stranded on a boat, thirty miles off the Libyan coast. Photo: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

When someone announces they are a Citizen of the World it is usually in response to an off colour remark by a knuckle dragger in the saloon bar.

For many years I regarded this particular pronouncement as the preserve of the student politician - an utterance that 1970s comic creation Wolfie Smith would have been proud of.

Blaise Tapp

Blaise Tapp

But now I get it. Despite the fact I am immensely proud to call myself an Englishman, I really don’t understand the flag waving chest thumpers who believe our small island is the centre of the universe.

But patriotism isn’t exclusive to Little Englanders as millions the world over subscribe to the view their nation is the cock of the walk.

Clearly this is not new as international and cultural differences have been at the heart of conflicts throughout the centuries but you would have thought that in the 21st Century we would have learnt from the painful lessons of history.

But over the past few weeks the world, and in particular Europe, has appeared to be as divided as at any time in living memory.

Our Government has been involved in a stalemate with its French counterparts over the heartbreaking migrant crisis, which is in danger of dividing our continent. There have been claims and counter claims from both sides, with each accusing the other of creating a situation which has seen a tide of migrants head for northern France in a bid to reach our shores.

These are people who have nothing to show for their time on the planet yet put themselves and their families into debt to make a treacherous journey across the Mediterranean with the vain hope of making a better life in Europe and, in many cases, this nation of ours.

Personally, I subscribe to the minority view that these desperate folk deserve a safe haven based purely on the basis of the dreadful journeys they have undertaken.

Politicians call these poor souls economic migrants when the fact is that many are refugees.