Refugees, crossing the English Channel, picked up by the UK Border Force
I joined talkRADIO’s Darryl Morris on Sunday to discuss the support of Ben and Jerry’s, the renowned makers of ice cream, for refugees.
Last week Ben and Jerry’s posted a challenge to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s attempt to portray refugees as “appalling” and “shameful”.
I discuss the history of companies pursuing economic and social causes, and the fundamentals of the issues over refugees and migrants.
A reminder of what Ben and Jerry’s said: “We think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.” They’re quite right.
Companies have a responsibility to their customers. They have a social responsibility to their communities. Instead of the Government saying, “This is horrible” — just because they were upset that [Home Secretary] Priti Patel’s PR exercise in Dover had been challenged — you should celebrate a company upholding its responsibility.
What was the Government assailing? Ben and Jerry’s statement that “people cannot be illegal”. Their legal point that the 1951 Refugee Convention means “crossing a border ‘illegally’ should not impact your asylum claim”. And their humanitarian observation: People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice. The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.”
Let’s be honest here. If Ben and Jerry’s had called migrants and refugees “appalling” and “shameful”, as Priti Patel did, there wouldn’t have a fuss about this. The Government would have been quite happy.
Isn’t the point about “no illegal person” and the 1951 Refugee Convention something we should discuss nonestly and openly, rather than using terms like “woke” and “cancel culture” which are meaningless and divert us from the issues?