Why I Care About Refugees and Foreign Aid

We are very privileged in Britain to be able to live in one of the richest countries in the world. Even the poorest in our society have a high living standard compared with the poorest of the rest of the world. It is not our fault that we were born here, indeed some would say we’re quite lucky, but being born here, living here, does have implications.

Living here means we must use our particularly strong global position to help others that are fairing worse around the world, be it homeless people in our own cities or homeless people in Nairobi or Buenos Aires. We are all citizens of the same planet, all members of the same species, and we all have a duty not to sit back and let people suffer in the knowledge that we could have done something.

Organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Cross are vital in helping people who are unfortunately suffering. But these organisations are simply the proponents of our will. Our will to donate money, our will to go out and volunteer for these organisations, our will to help others.

Those who agree with me so far — that it is our duty to see that other members of humanity should prosper — must also agree that it is just for the British government to spend taxpayer’s money on “Foreign Aid”. Many people may want to donate to charities and humanitarian organisations, knowing their work is worthwhile, but simply can’t afford it. However, everyone who pays tax contributes to those in need around the world via Foreign Aid.

After all, the government must spend money on helping those in need around the world if it is not to suffer a moral deficiency. We already spend far greater sums of money on defence, which is often spent most unwisely and wastefully. And defence can cause more humanitarian crises than it solves grudges and arguments.

But, fundamentally, even the refugees trying to get to Europe from north Africa are human. Instead of sending them back, or sending in the gunboats, we should look at what’s causing the ditress, try to solve the problem, and opt to harbour these clearly penniless, destitute and helpless individuals until their local military and political situations have improved.

Because that’s what should define us as a nation — compassion, consideration and an ability to admit that sometimes we get it completely wrong. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined as people who turn away from those in their darkest hour of need in order to score political points back home. That is why I take a stand against those who seek to undermime and isolate foreigners in need and refugees. Because, at the end of the day, we are all humans and we all need to love each other, now more than ever before.

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