Children’s writer Michael Morpurgo has recently spoken on BBC Radio 4’s A Point of View about the importance of welcoming refugees.
The grandson of a Belgian who settled in this country before the First World War, Morpurgo praises the humane response of Britons who offered refuge to 240,000 Belgian refugees in 1914. They arrived in boats without visas, but “people and the Government knew the right thing to do and did it”.
Whilst there is still kindness and generosity, Morpurgo believes the official response has been minimal compared with other countries, and the Government is showing heartlessness towards refugees and asylum seekers. The Rwanda scheme smacks of earlier projects exporting convicts and rubbish, he says.
The long-term solution would be to increase our overseas aid and create a viable environment in the countries that refugees are fleeing from.
Listen to the interview: