Lily Allen says the media is helping make people suspicious of migrants


Lily Allen believes the negative coverage of migrants heading to the UK from the Jungle camp in Calais is contributing to people's suspicions about refugees.

The singer visited the camp a few weeks ago and felt when she returned she was treated like "going to Calais was a vindictive attack on our country".

Writing for Vice the singer outlined her reasons for going - "to help" - and talked about the response she received, as well as addressing the coverage the issue has received in the UK.

One of the boys she spoke to while at the camp, 13-year-old Shamsher Sherin from Afghanistan, whose father lives in Birmingham, has since been brought to Britain under the Dublin amendment. Lily apologised "on behalf of my country" to Shamsher on film while at the camp, for the "bureaucracy" that for so long stopped him coming to the UK.

"After the interview with Shamsher, I said to Catryn, who made the documentary: 'Did you believe him, that his dad was in Birmingham?'" Lily wrote. "I was wondering why his dad didn't go to Calais to be with him. I found myself being suspicious of him, because of the sorts of stuff I was reading in the press. Then I caught myself asking these questions.

"And I thought: 'Who gives a f**k where his dad is? Why am I even asking that question? Whatever his age is, wherever his parents live, it shouldn't matter. I can see the environment he's living in. He's someone who has found himself, as a young person, alone. I, as a human being, can't stand by and say that's his problem. Nobody chooses to live there; they have been forced there by what they're running from.'"

Shamsher arriving in England (Philip Toscano/PA)
Shamsher arriving in England (Philip Toscano/PA)

Lily, who said she wants to be "on the right side of history", said the distrust around refugees and migrants is misplaced - with a "self-interested Conservative party and people and companies who aren't paying their share of tax" really to blame for overstretched services.

Lily also addressed her own position of privilege, something previously used to label her a hypocrite, saying of the migrant crisis: "What further proof could there be that people like me, with the chances life has afforded me, have a responsibility to help in any way we can?"

Read the full thing here.