Ready or not: What Brum is doing for the refugee crisis

Even the shyest Tory has been moved to action over the refugee crisis this week leaving only David Cameron—who seemingly still has one eye on the dwindling UKIP surge—badly out of step with a country gripped by Corbyn-mania and finally finding its heart.

As the country awakened to the truth (of the scale of the crisis and the indifference of UK PLC’s chief executive), its people have moved into action and a grass roots aid movement has emerged. The Guardian gave a flavour of this movement today in this “round the grounds” piece which details some of the things people have been doing… But they’ve missed Birmingham out altogether. Here’s a summary of some of the things that are definitely happening and a few that are almost possibly happening too:

A couple of bearded chaps are taking their VW camper down to Calais with as much stuff as they can fit in it. Now it may not look like the most useful van to do this in but campers have all sorts of ingenious storage so they can fit in plenty of jumpers and winter coats and still leave room for Jess Phillips to have a kip in the back. Good luck to them, and all of Hipsters San Frontiers.

Talking of Jess Philips, the popular rentaquote MP has offered to put up a family herself if Billy Bollocks Dave won’t — but surely the offer of a box room in Yardley will only encourage them to come? (As a commenter on the Birmingham Mail Facebook would almost certainly say).

Yes sadly we liberal leftists have to share the Internet with people less compassionate than ourselves, like the denizens of The Bearwood Page who think that the refugees are “a bit picky” about the aid they’ll accept. Mostly the aid effort needs coats for men and sensible shoes. If the people of Sandwell think that’s picky, what will they make of the burly cross dressing refugee men who might turn up in the Bear in high heels and furs any day now?

West Midlands MEP Siôn Simon is taking stuff to Calais too, as he was passing anyway. That’s one hell of a commute.

We’re also hearing that a fleet of local outdoor owners are preparing to take stuff next time they drive to Calais to stock up whilst Brum’s school governors are teaching the refugees how to build a large wooden animal that David Cameron will think is a lovely gift.

What else can we do? We could vote in a compassionate socialist government next time round (yes, we know that wasn’t really on the cards last time, how about starting by voting for a socialist Labour Party).

With everything so disjointed it’s hard to know how to effectively get things to the places where they’re most needed. As someone said in that Guardian piece, help is needed in Greece and Hungary but it’s easiest for Brits to get to Calais to deliver their aid. Whilst we encourage Brummies to give whatever jumble they have that’s of immediate use we also suggest that a donation into the coordinated aid effort might pay a better dividend. But if you are driving coats to Calais you’ll have plenty of room on the way back so could you get us 400 Regal and a slab of Stella?

European Refugee Crisis, British Red Cross, donate now.

West Midlands Solidarity with Calais Refguees

By Howard Wilkinson

Director of Satire, Paradise Circus. Howard adds stability at the top, taking a strategic overview of operations whilst also stepping in from time to time in a caretaker author role.

Director of Satire, Paradise Circus. Howard adds stability at the top, taking a strategic overview of operations whilst also stepping in from time to time in a caretaker author role.

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