This evening, I watched the Paddington film, and I absolutely adored it. It shows a stranger, an immigrant, coming here, being welcomed and then accepted for who he is and what he brings to the country. It shows a positive view of immigration that is sorely lacking in the media at the moment.
But what really brought a lump to my throat (and, I’ll admit, a tear to my eye) was what Paddington’s Aunt Lucy says to him just before she puts him on to a boat for London, near the start of the film:
Long ago, people in England sent their children by train with labels around their necks, so they could be taken care of by complete strangers in the countryside where it was safe. They will not have forgotten how to treat strangers.
“They will not have forgotten how to treat strangers.” This is my Britain! This is the Britain that I love; not the Britain of UKIP, brexit and division. I’m glad that a film can still be made that has that positive message of compassion, inclusion and acceptance. Messages like this are sorely needed at the moment and I’m so glad that I finally watched this. Bravo to Paul King and Studio Canal and I sincerely hope that the sequel doesn’t succumb to the zeitgeist of nationalism and insularity currently sweeping the western world.
I watched the last pre-election leaders’ debate the other day and about the only real impression that I got from it was that Birmingham University’s Great Hall is very nice (probably nicer than our own Bute Hall). It was a good debate though, probably the best of the three, as the leaders have all become more comfortable with the role and actually felt like a debate.
As I mentioned in my comments about the first one though, the subject of immigration continued to annoy me, mainly because of the very parochial SE-England attitude, especially in light of this article from the BBC talking about a rise in the Scottish population, where a Scottish Government spokesman called the rise (due in very large proportion due to migration) a
key contributor to sustainable economic growth. This is being ignored by the main parties in their drive to appeal to the middle-Englanders without any recognition of the different needs of different regions of the country. I find this dishonest and wrong.
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