‘I was shocked but not surprised at Hastings RNLI lifeboat being blocked from going out to sea by people angry at them rescuing refugees’ - reader’s letter

From: Jenny Sutton, St Thomas’s Road, Hastings

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 7:20 am
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:19 pm
An abandoned boat on Hastings beach

I was shocked but not surprised at your report of the RNLI lifeboat being blocked from going out to sea by ‘people angry at them rescuing refugees’. The government have been pumping out a relentless stream of propaganda demonising refugees and migrants - and predictably, people on the ground act out the racism they are spoon-fed from above.

The Tories would like us to believe that our jobs, pay, homes, hospitals and welfare services are being threatened by a wave of refugees and migrants invading our shores. This is classic scapegoating: since Irish immigrants first came to the UK to build the canals and railways of the industrial revolution, British workers have been told that migrants take our houses and lower our wages - conveniently deflecting anger from the class at the top of our society who then and now concentrate wealth and power in their own hands.

When a tiny minority enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us, they have to use racism to divide and rule.

The gap between rich and poor is greater than ever. There are 171 billionaires in the UK now, 24 more than a year ago. You could have won a million pounds in the lottery every single day since the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and you’d still have 44 years to go before that added up to a billion! The combined wealth of the UK’s millionaires has increased by £390 million every single day since the start of the pandemic.

The Tories have hoovered wealth from the public sector into private hands. The housing market is rigged in favour of private landlords, so that even though there are nearly 300,000 long-term empty homes in Britain, our kids’ chances of buying a home of their own are vanishingly small. If no refugees or migrants came to Britain, do people really believe that wealth would be distributed fairly and inequality ended?

The 27 refugees who drowned in the Channel were fleeing from regions destabilised by British wars, occupation and colonisation. We should recognise that it is in the interests of ordinary people in the UK to stand together and demand safe passage for refugees and migrants – they are all welcome here!

There will be people reading this who don’t agree with my politics. But would even a hardline Tory or racist want the RNLI to start making moral or political judgements on who they rescue? If a drunken teenager stole a boat at midnight and started sinking, do we want the RNLI to say ‘it’s their fault, let them drown?’ Thank goodness, the RNLI ask no questions, they save lives. That is why they deserve 100% support from us all, whatever our political differences.

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