The Calais Crisis! We’re full! There’s no room! Shut up.
Nationality and the idea of nationhood is so ingrained in our psyche that we forget it’s made up. We forget that nobody actually knows where the borders are. Nobody knows where they were 50 years ago. Nobody knows where they’ll be in 50 years time. Instead it’s easier to think of them as fixed and therefore breakable. It’s easier to be terrified by the hundreds of working class people allegedly coming here to swamp us each day than to pity them. It’s easy to forget that refugees don’t just head to Europe.
It’s easier to forget that they’re not just crossing a real sea but an imaginary line. An imaginary line heavily protected in some places and not at all in others.
Calais isn’t the crisis. immigration isn’t the crisis.
The crisis is country.
The concept of this wretched place.
It’s a crisis that encourages us to see the place as unique and special and to subordinate everything to it. It places its symbols on high for us to marvel. The Queen and her disgusting family of parasites, the Lords, our constitution (laughably seen as some complete narrative that started even before 1066), our ‘democracy’.
We haven’t got one and even if we could define it as one when did it start? Let’s work that one out! Was it when all men got the vote, when some women joined the club, when everyone got the vote, when we signed the European Convention on Human Rights? Will it be when prisoners can vote? Or when we ditch the monarchy and the Lords? What reforms need to happen before we can honestly call this place a democracy rather than a menace?
We divide ourselves into nations and these nations compete for resources. One of the resources in this globalised world is people. Some people are wanted and many are not by our political establishment. The problem with borders is that they’re actually impossible to manage. Well, you would need to build a wall around the entire country (once you’ve worked out where that is). Then you would need to patrol it 24/7. We would all need to take shifts if we wanted to be sure that nobody rowed in under the radar and scaled the wall. Nothing else would get done and the view of the coastline would be a bit shit.
We’re not going to do that so we actually need to accept that control is impossible. People have been migrating for much longer than the few hundred years of nationality. Migration will outlive our crisis ridden concept. We need to open up and let people move. We need to work on reducing inequality the world over and we need to accept that migrants are part of our family. When we’re told there is a ‘crisis or a ‘problem’ we should ask why a situation is being defined in that way and by who. When the state broadcaster, on the news programme the state listens to ask questions about “how many people have been rounded up and deported?” we should be worried about where this ‘crisis’ is headed.