"It has always been a dilemma for every society without infinite resources, however moral or compassionate it believes itself to be, to decide who best to help; given the assumption that what we have at our disposal can only spread so far and that one cannot help everybody?
Take our wonderful National Health Service for instance. How does society rightly prioritise its limited resources now that we are all living longer and are able to extend our lives significantly during terminal illnesses through the advancement of new treatments and expensive drugs that were never previously available? For my own part, I know that whereas my terminal condition would have killed me off in less than one year, two decades ago, 'the average' survival length today for people with the same medical condition can vary anywhere between 1 to 5 years.
With an ever increasing ageing population, and in a National Health Service where priorities have to be made, do we treat an older person approaching the end of their life over that of treating a child who is starting theirs? Do we discriminate our limited resources in favour of the one who has longest to live and therefore the most to gain; even when the eldest is an Einstein and has the most to contribute to the benefit of mankind? Do we prioritise nationals over health tourists and immigrants of comparable ill health, or people who live healthy lifestyles, yet still contract illnesses, over those who have self-inflicted conditions created by drug and alcohol addictions, plus all manner of overindulgence? Do we prioritise treating the accidents of someone who chooses to climb mountains or engages in any dangerous activity over that of a person who never exercises and thereby takes no such risks, like the couch potato, whose greatest fall is likely to be from the sofa to the floor? Do we prioritise mental illness and treatment as highly as we do physical health when the mental condition is irreversible, whereas the physical condition isn't? Do we allow people who cannot have children under normal circumstances to benefit from highly expensive alternative methods and pay for the sex change of one person who would prefer to be a woman instead of a man while another dies from lack of drug funding or some other area of the financial deficit?
We have recently witnessed young men who have come from the Calais migrant camp in rescue buses for 'children' who are clearly over the age of 18 years. Indeed, recent statistics show that two-thirds of child migrants over the past ten years have been over 18 and are often in their mid-twenties. While I do not for moment argue that they ought not to be admitted to this country, I do contend that young migrants over the age of 18 years should not be prioritised over orphan migrants who are much younger, more vulnerable and are less capable of fending for themselves! Furthermore, I would argue that given any limitation placed upon numbers received, older migrants are taking the places of younger children of greater need.
I can already hear the thoughts spinning around inside the heads of those of you who genuinely believe that there should be absolutely no restrictions on any number of immigrants, whatever the resource level, and that until there remains not one extra inch of space to turn around in, our shores and resources should remain accessible to the world. It doesn't take much of a brain to understand that were we to take no action at all; nay, to positively invite everyone aboard our island vessel, that eventually open warfare and mass resurrection would break out and we would either have to decide, do we all sink or do we start to fill our boats in order that the maximum number may survive?
With regard to the ages of these 'child migrants', the nearest example that comes to my mind, I call 'Titanic Test.' Before the 'RMS Titanic' sunk in April 1912 on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, it received and ignored six warnings of sea ice and was travelling at maximum speed before it hit a colossal iceberg, resulting in the deaths of 1,500 passengers out of an estimated 2,224 on board.
The comparison I wish to make is simply this. When one ignores numerous warnings and uses one's total resources and presses ahead at full speed without having the necessary backup in the event of national disasters (IE not enough lifeboats to save all 2,224 passengers when the ship went down), more people will die and suffer than otherwise would have happened had the liner carried fewer passengers and more lifeboats!
Also, when the crew were expected to decide which of the passengers were prioritised to have a seat in one of the few lifeboats (knowing full well that those passengers who remained on board the sinking ship would most certainly die), it is interesting to note, to whom those precious seats were given. The natural answer, the only answer was to women and children, followed by the aged!
I want to see this great country of ours take in more migrants who are fleeing war-torn countries and lives of persecution and despair, but if like the situation faced by the captain and crew of the 'Titanic', there are insufficient resources to save all, I want to see women and young children prioritised above all others, with the next category prioritised being the aged. And that is what I suspect anger many British people when they see healthy looking young adults push themselves to the front of the line for rescue when there are women, young children and old people behind them.
It is the 'Titanic Test' of discrimination that makes me proud to be British in a world where too often power is might, men are considered superior to women and adulthood trumps childhood! Bring back the 'Titanic Test'." William Forde: November 17th, 2016.