James O’Brien caller feels ‘stupid’ for falling victim to right-wing rhetoric on migration

24 November 2022, 15:43

Caller previously thought migrants in small boats were skipping a queue

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

This caller previously believed that migrants arriving in small boats were “skipping the queue” to settle in the UK, but now sees that queue never existed.

One of James O’Brien’s listeners responded to his question on how the government’s migration rhetoric has influenced and warped the public perception of those arriving in dinghies.

During a Home Affairs Select Committee meeting yesterday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was pressed by fellow Conservative MP Tim Loughton on how a 16-year-old African asylum seeker fleeing war and religious persecution could come to the UK safely and legally.

She responded that the person could put in an application when they arrived in the UK but could not say how they could get here safely and legally.

Dan in Southfields said: “I just feel really stupid actually… as soon as I heard that yesterday.”

He continued: “I’ve empathised with the notion of refugees coming here, but I was always led to believe there was a queue system, and that people that are arriving on boats were skipping the queue, which actually appealed to my sense of fairness.”

“Oh wow”, James replied, deep in thought. “I don’t think you should feel stupid - I think you’ve been told that by people you should be able to trust...I forgot about the queue-jumping element of it all.”

He continued: “Either they’re taking the mickey and they’ve got no right to be here at all, or they’re jumping the queue that’s full of other deserving refugees who are coming through the safe routes - but there are no safe routes.”

“But there is no queue”, Dan responded. “So in a sense it's so clever because it actually appeals to people who feel that injustice.”

READ MORE: James O'Brien takes aim at Suella Braverman after she couldn't say how a refugee could enter the UK safely and legally

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James added that he was “reeling verbally” because he “hadn’t even contemplated the possibility that you existed, if you see what I mean”.

“I am supportive of refugees. I want the UK to do more to help asylum seekers but not these ones because they are gaming the system”, he explained.

“Suella Braverman didn't have her wits about her enough yesterday to keep the con alive”, he jabbed.

Earlier during his show, in a monologue, James said that the current narrative around migration by small boats has been “deliberately designed by right-wing media…to create the illusion in the minds of British people that the only reason why they are coming in boats is because they are not proper refugees".

“Just think about this, it’s heartbreaking”, he said.

“If you fell for the idea that all of the humans in boats were undeserving, unworthy, dishonest, unwelcome…how do you feel now you know that it’s not true?” he asked.

“Now you know there aren’t any safe routes, how do you feel?” he queried.

The Home Secretary has previously come under fire for referring to the arrival of migrants in small boats as a migrant “invasion”.

Both the call and James' earlier monologue sparked a reaction on Twitter.

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