Talk about working in mysterious ways. Following my quick chat about Yerp with yer actual almighty the other day, one of his senior agents, an Archbish, no less – has come up with some words of wisdom in response to Nigel ‘I’m-Not-Racist-I-Just-Peddle-Racism’ Farage. Monsieur Farage (on a council estate, should we pronounce this to rhyme with ‘Garridge’?) is so concerned about the ‘cultural’ differences between British society and migrants.
In a scenario curiously resonant with critical moments in the history of this country, this not-at-all-upstart priest sat before the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: quizzed by the upstart democratic representatives. Yes it’s Archbishop Justin Welby – how reassuringly English the name sounds by comparison with his protagonist. He spoke about the ‘burden’ of immigration on communities and the role of government (emphasis added):
'It's a national issue not a local issue - not only for the direct cost of those who are coming in as immigrants but to strengthen the stability and infrastructure around particularly education, health and housing of those communities that are accepting people.
'That actually, in my experience, liberates the natural generosity of people to welcome, once the causes or the reasons for fear have been dispelled - and they are quite easily dispelled.'
Thou art so right, squire: by strengthening the stability and infrastructure around communities, you liberate people’s natural generosity to welcome others.
And let’s be clear, the opposite applies: if you allow the infrastructure to weaken and atrophy, you stifle that natural generosity to the point of animosity. We have already come dangerously close to the tipping point, allowing too much purchase for those like Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who would exploit people’s sense of vulnerability to the Other, in the cynical interests of their own political power. I have nothing but contempt for their readiness to jeopardise the prospects of at least the next couple of generations for their own saliva-dribbling glee at being seen as Important.