"Will you have time for a walk with me tonight?" asked the Webmaster.
It is approaching six o'clock and the Worker is just finishing for the day. On work days she only has time for an evening walk. Only the Webmaster and the dogs get to enjoy a morning walk.
"If we go now we won't need the torches."
The radio is still on as we leave. The Webmaster doesn't know how to turn it off. At least he has never been know to turn it off. He says the dogs like listening to it, but it is doubtful they appreciate the BBC six o'clock news.
The air is cool and damp. Autumn has arrived after last week's summer. Maybe it will be summer again next week. The seasons are becoming more mixed up every year. Must be climate change. We set off down the lane. England's green and pleasant land.
"The BBC did an article about Theresa May and her speach on need for more distinction between refugees and ecomonic migrants and they opened it for comments. All the comments with the most 'likes' were the kick 'em out, send 'em back and don't let 'em in type. Those making more liberal minded comments were generally marked down; very low in popularity. What sort of people comment on news articles?"
"So how do you distinguish a refugee from an economic migrant? Suppose climate change affects say a sub Saharan area and pushes it over the edge so people who had just managed to hang on and subsist have to give up their land and move because they can't grow food or water their animals. Are they refugees from climate change, more likely caused by people like us in Europe or the US than themselves, or are the economic migrants?"
"Most of the people affected by climate change and war don't look like us. I wonder what would happen if they were from Australia or the US?"
"You trying to say the imigaration and refugee policies are racist?"
"No, but because the current refugees look different maybe a lot of people in the UK can't imagine themselves ever being in a similar position. It is something that only happens to other types of people. In one of the comments under the BBC article the poster had said that when he looked at a line of refugees he saw doctors, architects, engineers, teachers. It had a lot of negative responses."
In the distance, over to the south west a small plume of white smoke drifted slowly upwards before disappearing into a light haze. Probably a garden fire.
"I haven't seen Jack recently."
"Or Marjorie and who is the other one? Shutthe ... ?"
"Haha. They are crows not jackdaws. I wonder where they've gone."
"There are still a lot of swallows around." The Webmaster pointed to a group of small birds darting around of to the right. "Shouldn't they have left for South Africa by now? They have a long way to go."
"They must be fooled by the weather. Migration affected by climate change!" The birds disappeared behind a thicket of trees. "But he's is probably right, there will be all sorts of people, but no-one wants to think that educated people or people who work hard could be refugees. There are a lot of people around here who owe their lives to doctors with origins in the middle east. What about Dr F? Almost everyone knows him. I don't know where he was born but probably somewhere in the middle east, and if not him, then his parents. I know a few people who think the sun shines out of him, but they also post the 'send them back and keep them out, England for the English' comments on Facebook. But if you think about it a lot of the doctors around here are from Asia, the middle east and North Africa, so it isn't as though people aren't used to seeing and respecting them."
"Yeah, they interviewed a black guy and he said when he was growing up in the 70s and 80s he got fed up and anoyed with people telling him he was all right, not like the others. 'What others?' he used to ask. Are we going this way or all the way round?" asked the Webmaster indicating to the stones forming steps up an embankment to a stile.
We climed up to the stile, one which the Old Dog finds difficult, but tonight the dogs are at home listening to the BBC radio news!
"That's like A. He told the Student we shouldn't let the immigrants in to take our jobs and benefits and when she pointed out that would affect a friend of his family he argued that she was different because she was educated, decent and worked hard 'not like the others' and he 'didn't mean people like her'. He was genuinely concerned about scroungers and somehow had got the idea that all immigrants other than those he knew were here to scrounge or take his job. Not sure which worried him most. But then that is what a lot of the press report and it has been a convenient scape goat for politicians. They get away with socially divisive policies and then stay silent when the press scapegoat immigrants.
"Mind that horse. It's dropped its carrots."
"Sorry" said a woman holding a bucket and a small child who was trying to attract a couple of horses to the fence.
"Someone has repaired these stiles recently."
"It's sad though, that the comments are so hostile. Gives the impression that the refugees are less human or less entitled to a life. Not enough people think 'What if it were me?' or 'It could be me'. Its just luck really. Where you were born and when."
"What time is it? We are earlier tonight so the man from the farm won't be out to lock cars in the car park yet."
We walked through the car park and up on to the hill. The sun was going down. Peace and quite and a red glow over this small piece of England's green and pleasant land.