Overheard #1: The Housing Officer

“We’ll move the family to a small bed and breakfast hotel in a coastal town. Cheaper than trying to house them in the city. It’s the best thing we can do for them. Plus we tick a box, save some money and reduce pressure on our over-stretched local resources. They’ll be better off there even if there are no other people from Afghanistan within miles. They’ll soon be speaking English. And while they can’t they’ll be unable to make any protests or shout about rights and that sort of crap. And if they need to attend mosque on a Friday, they can always catch the train. It’s only a two hour journey. Do-able.

“B&B’s the best thing for them – they have hardly a thing to their name: some clothing supplied second-hand from a local charity, a tatty book which I assume is the Koran, and a battered old metal kettle. No bedding, no furniture, no crockery – not even a cup to drink out of, and, can you believe it, no mobile phone. You wonder why they didn’t bring stuff with them. It’s a bit irresponsible coming here with nothing.

“In some ways they’ve landed with their bum in the butter. I mean, who would want to live in a place like Afghanistan when they could be here. Proper houses, good roads. Good supermarkets. Great television – think X-Factor, Big Brother, Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Really good pubs. Libraries, doctors and dentists. No shooting. No IEDs. No Taliban. Honest politicians. Caring civil servants. Good WiFi coverage. She’s lucky. If there’s one country a widow with three young children would prefer to be in, it’s got to be this. And she’s now got refugee status which means she can look for work and start paying her way. No excuses. Plenty of jobs around. I’m told. Plus, there’s quite a lot of English Defence League activity down there so introducing a few brown faces can help redress the balance. Hey, we could get a knighthood for this.


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