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Britain’s most famous illegal immigrant speaks up for child refugees

December 15, 2009
Paddington Bear.
Paddington Bear, drawn by Fred Banbury.

The illegal immigrant in question is a beloved bear from Peru, who upon arriving on these shores was kindly given shelter by Mr and Mrs Brown of 32 Windsor Gardens. Paddington, it was reported (quite beautifully – read Robert Verkaik’s article here) in yesterday’s Independent, is joining well-known British writers and actors in condeming the UK’s child detention policies.

Personally, I have issues with more than the detention of between 1,000 and 2,000 asylum-seeking children each year. I sense that the Government has been swayed by too many fear-mongering Daily Mail articles in its attitudes to asylum-seekers. (A word that, thanks to the Mail, has become synonymous for many with benefit-scrounging criminals. If you read it without knee-jerk reaction you will see that it is people seeking asylum (ie safety from danger).) Sure, there’ll be some frauds and criminals trying  to beat the system, who would bring no benefit to our country – but that’s no excuse for the way we treat people who have had to leave their homeland and travel (possibly at great expense and/or in great peril) in the hope of a safer life here. These are people who, although they may not have read Michael Bond’s children’s books, still believe that Britain has more Mr and Mrs Browns than it does Mr Curry (the grumpy man who lived next door to 32 Windsor Gardens).

There are too many Mr Currys around these days, and I for one am proud to be a Mrs Brown. If you are of a like-mind with Paddington, please urge your MP to sign a parliamentary motion urging the Government to stop detaining children. If they haven’t already signed (you can see those who have when you read the motion for yourself), you can find and contact your MP here.

Finally, work on a very hard stare, for those of cold heart who would send people home to be raped, tortured or murdered, because they’re under the misapprehension that asylum-seekers only come to the UK for Sky+ and BOGOF offers on booze at the supermarket.

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