It’s not often I agree with the clergy…

… but occasionally they get it right.

In an article in Mail on Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury warns about Brexit divisions and austerity ‘crushing the weak’

Well, you didn’t think I was going to give that right wing rag a link, did you? Wouldn’t use it to line my cat’s litterbox.

What does surprise me is the Mail published an article that argues we should welcome immigrants, rather than putting up barriers. Did the editors not read it first? You can imagine them, “Well, it’s the Archbishop of Canterbury, he’s not going to say anything that’s remotely anti-Tory, is he?”

He said: “Welcoming strangers to our own country and integrating them into our own culture is important.

“We must be generous and allow ourselves to change with the newcomers and create a deeper, richer way of life.”

Theresa May must be reeling, assuming she reads the rag.

I am a child of immigrants myself, albeit they immigrated under the vastly more stressful circumstances of WWII. Britain did not question immigration at that time, and granted refugees settled status when it became obvious they couldn’t happily return to a Soviet controlled Eastern Europe.

Recent immigrants haven’t been war refugees (Tory Britain won’t take those any more, because they mostly come from non-White countries). They’re from economic partners. The freedom of movement of peoples across most of Europe is one of the signature accomplishments of the European Union. For a continent riven by wars for centuries, this was a positive development that the Tories, for some inscrutable and deranged reasoning, want to reverse.

Well, maybe not that inscrutable, given the Tory base. Fear of the foreigner, the other, the stranger is grist to the Tory mill. They need someone to blame and fear.

Admittedly, so do I. I blame and fear the Tories. Now a little admission. My first vote as a young man in a general election in the UK was for the Tories under Margaret Thatcher. (My mother was a staunch Conservative, and I was under the influence. Besides, Labour stank at the time and needed a time out to re-think.) Even though it had no effect as I lived in Kirkcaldy, once Gordon Brown’s seat and which is still a Labour seat, I’ve regretted it ever since.

Perhaps it’s because I am a child of immigrants that I hold to the European ideal, the notion that Europeans should cooperate together in a peaceful union, because that benefits everyone. The racist separatism of UKIP and its unholy brethren on the right wing of the Tory party is anathema.

Fear is endemic among people, we justifiably fear uncertainty and lack of security. What we shouldn’t fear is novelty and variety, which should be regarded as the spice of life. That’s what immigrants bring, and that’s what ought to be welcome. They shouldn’t be regarded as threatening replacements, but as additions that make life, culture and perhaps especially cuisine, so much more interesting.

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