Why do so many migrants wish to reach Britain?

As I regularly do, I spent the day in Milton Keynes entertaining my two granddaughters. Now the local taxi company that I use in the city is staffed by drivers who normally hail from Pakistan. But not today. This time my driver was from Afghanistan.

There are many ethnic groups in Afghanistan and I was interested to learn that my driver was an Hazara. Hazara speaks Hazaragi which is a dialect of Persian and they practice a branch of Shi’a Islam called the Twelvers which puts them very much at odds with the Taliban which is largely Pashtun and adherents of an extreme form of Sunni Islam. Over the years, there have been many murders and massacres of the Hazara community.

It is no wonder, therefore, that my driver fled Afghanistan and sought refugee status in Europe. He started in Greece but eventually made his home in Italy where he lived for years. There he made a family, obtained a good job and learned Italian. Here he works on three jobs to keep his wife and three children and – as I can avow – he is struggling to learn English.

So why is he is in Britain? He told me that he wishes his three children to be judged on their abilities and nto on the colour of their skin or the identity of their religion and he believes that they will have a fairer chance in this country.

Britain has many problems and our treatment of people of colour is far from perfect, but we tend to forget that, for many people around the world, Britain is still seen as a haven of stability and fairness and a land of genuine opportunity.


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