Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Asylum or Sanctuary?

Here's a misguided attempt at rebranding, based on the quasi-magical notion that changing the name will change the thing itself. As the man says, 'There is a disconnection in the public mind between sanctuary and perception of asylum seekers.' Quite so, and there will be even more of a disconnection when you start calling them 'sanctuary seekers'. Asylum is indeed the wrong word, because it no longer reflects the reality of mass migration from the earth's many and various hellholes in search of a better life. There is, in effect, little or no distinction to be usefully made between economic migrants and 'asylum seekers' - a term we rarely heard until tighter immigration laws closed other routes in and cheap jet travel and the growth of people trafficking brought in new realities. 'Asylum' is a word - and a concept - more suited to the 19th century, and sooner or later developed nations will, I fear, have to opt out it altogether.


  1. There is, in effect, little or no distinction to be usefully made between economic migrants and 'asylum seekers'...

    but there should be.

    so, 31% of Mirror readers thought 'asylum' was a place for the mentally ill - but how many think 'haven' is a holiday camp for stationary caravans?

  2. The Poles, allegedly, are clearing off back to Gdansk, Warsaw etc. So will they be "desanctuaryfied". We should hold a naming competition, my starter for 10, "gisajobandahouse". December 1998, near the Ukrainian border, the road was blockaded by Polish farmers, protesting about cheap Ukrainian imports, for gods sake, what sort of wages were they on, the Poles were as poor as church mice.

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  4. Only a former judge could think that one up, though there are parallels with those officials in Britain, and I regret to say now the US, who want to talk about militants rather than terrorists. The idiot judge does not realise that as soon as you change the semantics, similar obloquy will attach to 'sanctuary seekers' since what people are actually objecting to is unregulated immigration, or as the Camerons would have us say 'population movement'. Very interesting piece Nige, as Churchill might have said about 'a good soup'.

  5. We've rebranded terrorists, so why not asylum seekers?

    I am working on a rebranding effort for Americans, so maybe Nige & Associates can assist with some early feedback on my ideas.

    "Projectile-friendly consensus seekers"

    "Family-sized consumptophiles"

  6. Duck, will this go...