While the hysteria over the tiny numbers of people crossing the channel in small boats to claim asylum here continues, I thought I'd post a couple of really helpful sources of information.
One of the things that is happening in our country at the moment is that debate has been replaced by the strident assertion of positions, often based on little more than hearsay and wishful thinking. Some people take exception to what's happening, say it's wrong, say there's no solution other than extreme action and base it all on rumour and half truth.
We all need to be well-informed about the issues we express a view on. And when we express a view we need to be polite, civil, kind (in the sense that we allow others to express their views); we do not repay rudeness in kind, we seek to defuse anger by being calm and considerate. It is essential to bear in mind that people's opinions about stuff going on around them is often driven by anxiety and fear - fear of change, fear of the stranger, fear that lives already hard-pressed by forces they don't quite get might get worse and they are looking for someone to carry the can for that.
So here's a couple of good sources of information on the current migration situation as it affects our shores.
The first is the refugee council which has an excellent website, worth consulting regularly as it is full of useful, fact-based information. In particular, this recent posting is worth checking out and reflecting on.
And Refugee Rights Europe have produced some excellent research over the past couple of years, all of which can be found at their website (here). Today they posted on Facebook their response to the Government's recently announced new accommodation and support contracts for those in the UK asylum system (you can find it here; you need to scroll down to the Asylum: Written Statement link).
Being informed is key to having a voice in these crucial conversations happening all around us. We can help to shape and gently correct perceptions and opinions, help more people to find ways of reaching out in welcome to those forced to flee in search of refuge.