Dreaming Of Escape

Birds are the epitome of the migratory species; nature’s natural refugees. They wait. They watch. They fly. They are … free.

 

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Dreaming Of Escape I

And then they left …
 

Dreaming Of Escape II
Dreaming Of Escape II

I wonder where the world might be without politics or, dare I even suggest, intolerance. I see petty squabbles in school playground politics daily. I see the same petty squabbles – with considerably wider consequences – in international politics; essentially these are just older people who you would hope should really know better. The Russians weren’t involved in bringing down an Australian passenger airliner… because they weren’t in Ukraine. And when a Russian airliner is brought down, their foreign minister’s first reaction to the UK stopping flights to Egypt ‘They’re only doing that because they don’t agree with what we’re doing in Syria…’ Barely a day later and Russia had stopped flights, too; but the most important thing, let’s get the petty international knee-jerk political response in first.

Rinse and repeat; until, one day, there’s nowhere left to fly. Unless you’re a bird.
 

Dreaming Of Escape III
Dreaming Of Escape III

The gates of Europe are creaking. This is the modern world; a mixture of tragedy, aspiration and access to social media. Immigration has become a broadly contentious issue in the European Union [EU] because its open borders policy toward freedom of movement and work opportunities generally only runs one way: in simple terms, east to west. And then the refugee crisis began in Syria. And following one notable, widely reported, tragic death of a little boy drowned in the Mediterranean igniting consciences throughout the EU [in Germany the people were quick to make Welcome banners] … tragedy and aspiration truly combined.

People are now arriving from Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other non-EU European states … the list is almost endless. And the vast majority are heading to … western Europe. And one of the most popular destinations is Sweden. Tragedy or aspiration is well-informed in the modern world. Any reasonably educated search of the Internet will tell you Sweden is an alleged utopia. In the past two weeks alone 18,000 migrants have arrived in Sweden. It’s unsustainable. [Update: Just a few hours after writing this Sweden introduced a ‘temporary’ border control in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants entering the country. Bearing in mind the numbers have increased exponentially, if the present number arriving were maintained at this level for a year it would equate to 5% of Sweden’s population!] 

The gates of Europe are creaking. Welcome to the modern, already overpopulated world. And now we have begun to migrate in unprecedented numbers.

 

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Also, since writing this, I heard another story in the week about a Syrian refugee. He had been interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live after arriving in Slovenia. In joyful broken English he told how he was heading for Germany ‘Angela Merkel is our [refugees] mother…’ he exclaimed. He repeated it joyously again. A few weeks later the 5Live team had tracked him down … in Sweden. He was disillusioned following his arrival in Germany. It hadn’t been as he’d expected; not understanding the language he moved on to the alternative utopia, Sweden. And, here again, he was disillusioned – provided with temporary accommodation in a village in the back of beyond and separated from his traveling companions and a family member who had arrived before. Somehow I sense this is only one story of what we likely become commonly held experiences.

The social media and its associated connectivity may’ve been alive with Leave and Come now messages back down the line. But the messages of lingering disillusionment and reality of migration will likely be very different. Migrants at The Jungle encampment in Calais wait to cross the channel “We will be given a house, a job, a car,” said one; seemingly oblivious to the fact that even Londoners are finding it increasingly difficult to live in London; and presumably equally oblivious to the 7,500 homeless living on its streets in 2014/15.

“Everyone deserves a better life.” With this level of migration, the likely reality promises to be something quite different.

England, My England : Part 2 … uh, my Britain

The Fine Line

The Fine Line
The Fine Line

After 30+ days of relentless politicking, the relative freedom granted by that of being a floating voter has reached its nadir.

Maybe age has cynically withered me, but laughable headline promises to introduce self-imposed laws not to raise taxes [Conservatives: before 2020] and the erection of a, er, tombstone [it’ll be your tombstone Ed! Labour] aide memoire in the No.10 back garden aside … it’s the relentless negative campaigning that withers me most. [And that being in Opposition is essentially just that: pretty much oppose everything … and then, in the increasingly dense centre ground, produce a slew of policies on education, the NHS, the economy and immigration which all dance around the same tune, sounding superficially sensible, while still attacking the opposition with vague generalisms.] Opposition is easy street. And an easy target. If only it were possible to vote in retrospect!

Thatcher: went mad. Major: went grey. Blair: went mad. Brown: went bust, after infamously promising the End to boom bust. All of them echoing to the ring of ultimately self-serving empty promises.

I think most [sane] people agreed that the 2010 election was a good one to lose; when a boat is lost so far up Shit Creek and paddle-less it prompts a snarky, There’s no money left message, from the departing Labour Treasury minister! But who has been sailing it back toward open water? Something Labour haven’t exactly rushed to acknowledge; funny that, eh? And I even got a Conservative campaign leaflet through the door only yesterday … predictable, perhaps, in its 50/50 split of carefully selected newspaper headlines supporting themselves and denouncing Labour [about as difficult to engineer as a nun shoot in an overcrowded nunnery!] and yet right under the negative attack on Labour’s potential ‘Coalition of chaos’ [something they themselves choose to ignore despite all the virtually guaranteed likelihood] … a photo of one Nick Clegg [Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister for the past five years! Maybe they forgot?!].

I will vote. And I’ve come to the conclusion today I will likely vote for the least arrogant. And, like last time, my vote won’t even count in my constituency. Such is the quirk of this paragon of democracy!