A friend of mine has spent a fair amount of time working in north Africa and meeting the very people who are now making international headlines and holding up traffic on the M20.
He’s even written a book about it and was asked to go on Radio 4 and the BBC World Service in the dead of night, BST, to talk about the migrant crisis.
They are fleeing a torturous, enslaving persecution from a regime we have been fighting, on and off, for the past decade
He had some pretty good information to share with insomniac listeners, the main one being that the 5,000 people literally killing themselves to get into Kent didn’t wake up one morning, kiss their wives and decide to head to the UK just for a cheap thrill and the chance to appear on How To Get A Council House.
Like any good journalist my friend Rory, author of The Toss of A Coin: Voices From A Modern Crisis, has a fair few facts up his sleeve.
Those 5,000 migrants at Calais represent one in 27 of those who diced with death to take the Mediterranean route into Europe.
If they were to go through the regular immigration channels, of course not all of them would be allowed entry — but even if they did they would be less than 0.1 per cent of the UK’s population.
And, finally, the top six countries they are from are Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and the Republic of the Sudan.
They are fleeing a torturous, enslaving persecution from a regime we have been fighting, on and off, for the past decade (though really for far longer).
They are the people dying to escape. Literally.
And now they’re in Calais, desperate to find a place in which to survive.
They are different. They are Johnny Foreigner. But they are people with names and histories.
It’s not so much a migrant crisis we have on our doorstep — it’s a human tragedy.
The answer might not be to let them in and give them a council house and benefits.
But it sure as hell isn’t any kind of answer to let them kill themselves night after night.
This is a global crisis, not a French one, and we need to help.