Wednesday, 29 May 2019

What became of the people that we used to be?


The celebrated children's author and illustrator Judith Kerr died last week The day after her death was announced  I caught a snatch of an interview she had given  on "Woman's Hour."

Judith Kerr, with her parents and brother, as Jews in fear of persecution, fled from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and eventually settled in London.

Two points in the interview stood out.

First,  she lived in London throughout the Blitz but, although her countrymen  were dropping devastation on her neighbours, neither she nor her family suffered any abuse, verbal or otherwise.

Maybe she's looking back through rose-coloured spectacles, but what a  sharp contrast to the maltreatment of "foreigners" which has exploded since the Referendum - abuse of and insults to people who, rather than doing us harm, are here to help us -  in the NHS, providing exotic restaurants and conner shops, cleaning our cars, picking our fruit and vegetables, enriching our society in all sorts of ways.

Second, as a "friendly enemy alien" she was not entitled to a higher education grant from the local authority (in those days the London County Council).  But, knowing her keenness a council official bent the rules  and gave her a grant to enable her to go to art school. 

What a contrast to the "hostile environment" created by Mrs May and which still governs our attitude to migrants.

The title of this post is taken from the introductory song to my favourite TV sitcom: "Whatever happened to the Likely Lads?"

Oh, what happened to you, whatever happened to me;.

What became of the people that we used to be?

What indeed?  Thank-you Mrs May and Nigel Farage






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