The “One Day Without Us” demonstration across the UK today is a spectacular demonstration of the way the UK is enriched by immigration every day. Whichever way you voted in the EU Referendum, it has to be clear that the UK has been multicultural for generations, and will always be so. Regardless of anyone’s personal opinion about the continued volume of immigration, or the effect and cost on society and the economy, the uncertainty placed on one’s future is not fair.
Basic Human Needs
Human needs are organised into a simple triangle, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the very bottom, the very base needs of every human, is the need for food, water, warmth and rest. These basic physical needs make it easy to understand why it is an utter betrayal of the rights of any person, let alone vulnerable children, to be left homeless and in camps in Calais as we all argue over political jargon and media popularity. Move up a scale of the hierarchy and the next set of needs is safety. That is the safety of security, a home, a job – nothing special, but just the things so many of us take for granted.
One of the biggest backlashes to the Brexit vote has been the increase in hate crime, and the decrease in certainty for EU families who no longer know if their place in the UK can be guaranteed. Ignorance, xenophobia and reactions to inflammatory statements from all sides has resulted in literally millions of people losing that certainty. We have had people who have lived and worked for decades being told to prepare to go back to their country of birth. Families facing being broken up because one member doesn’t have Permanent Residency.
One Day Without Us – a stand against social betrayal
If you take away the basic needs of any person, either by neglect or abuse, you remove their capability to excel. You disrupt their potential prematurely. As they break down individually, they take with them their family, their friends, and their community. Eventually this only serves to hurt the entire country. This is why abused children, without proper support, suffer for their entire lives: and taking a parent away just because of a political to-and-fro is surely an abuse. It is why the homeless struggle to get out of the cycle. It is why our ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues collapse back into a terrifying darkness. Without strong foundations even the greatest buildings will fall.
For our government and our nation not to even afford EU migrants who already live and work here in the UK the guarantee of such security and safety is surely an abuse and, if nothing else, an oppression. We have expats in other countries, taking at liberty, enjoying their sun-filled lives and ease of free movement – often without bothering to learn the language of their new settled countries. Spain is but one example of a country that is dotted with mini-Britains where our expats congregate and assume their rights to do so under the very same rules that are now being used to excuse segregation in the UK.
So the “One Day Without Us” movement truly is a great example showing the value of migrants’contribution to our society and life. It is incumbent on us, and it is surely our responsibility, despite voting for “Brexit”, that we do not turn our back on our fellow Europeans.