Having read Dr Maurice’s thoughtful piece on your website about current ‘migration problems’ and following the recent truly terrible news reports and photos, I wanted to share some of my thoughts – personal ones – on this unfolding international disaster.
One of the first international events that caught my attention was the Soviet Union’s brutal intervention to put down the Hungarian uprising in 1956. I was 14.
I eagerly read The Bridge at Andau describing – as I recall it – desperate escape stories of nationalists fleeing from the bullets of Soviet forces. And then into a council house very near our home came a Hungarian ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ – but not, please, a ‘migrant’.
This was a leafy, rural part of ‘the Home Counties’. I was pleased – probably a bit proud – to have him as a neighbour. He brought up his family in the village and started a small painting and decorating business and was universally approved of as a successful member of the village.
I was pleased Anthony Eden’s government had allowed him to settle with us. Now we have a Prime Minister espousing a very different sort of Conservatism who seems intent on pulling up the draw-bridge – unless those front pages and television pictures persuade him to lower it a few small notches.
While Whitehall and Westminster haver and duck and weave before the cameras, would it not be good if Wiltshire Council announced that we should take in a hundred or so Syrians who have fled that country’s war? As a county so long connected to our country’s army, Wiltshire knows a great deal about the awful results of war.
(Name and Marlborough area address withheld – but known to MNO editors)