Why I Am Playing For Refugee Week

refugee_weekOn Saturday 12th July I will be proudly performing a free gig as part of Festival 31. This is a festival that celebrates refugees, and the concert I’m playing at takes place in Refugee Week.

It’s at the Cross Keys pub in Earlie Street in Liverpool city centre, and it starts at 7.30pm. Full details are available here on my gigs page. I’d love to see you there.

When I was asked to play this gig I said yes instantly. 

There is so much crap written about immigration that I want to stand on the side of the freedom of all people to move around our common world without violence or interference.


I also want, in my own small way, to put out a welcome.

The thing I am most proud of about Liverpool is that friends who move here tell me how welcome they feel here. I love that. 

I don’t really understand the concept of national pride, but it always puzzles me how anyone can be proud of how unwelcome they make others feel.

If people visited Liverpool and consistently told the story of how unfriendly and unwelcoming everybody was, I’d feel deeply ashamed. How much better to be defined by how friendly and welcoming you are.

So I put myself firmly in that camp.

The Problem That Doesn’t Exist

It seems everyone is rushing to define immigration as a problem. All the main parties seem desperate to say how “tough” they’ll be on it. But it’s not a problem. It’s a huge benefit and always has been. 

As recently as January this year, the Treasury’s own independent advisers, the Office for Budget Responsibility, said so. They said: ““Because they’re more likely to be working age, they’re more likely to be paying taxes and less likely to have relatively large sums of money spent on them for education, for long-term care, for healthcare, for pension expenditure.”

In other words, reduce immigration and it will cost the nation’s economy. It will take longer for Osborne and co to “balance the books” than if they just let immigrants be – not to mention all the money they waste on prison camps like Yarls Wood or on anti immigration police. 

Divide and Rule

And yet they still turn out the same tired old propaganda, even though they know the truth is very different.

Hey, you’d almost think they want us to hate each other so we don’t get together and overthrow the people who are really stiffing us! Now there’s a thought.

Who is the immigrant worker that is inflicting public sector cuts on us?

Which immigrant worker is putting you on a zero hours contract?

Which immigrant worker is destroying the National Health Service and handing it over to private companies?

Which immigrant worker gambled away the whole economy then came to us to get their stake back?

Exactly. None. Immigration is not the reason things are tough. 

Capitalism is. The drive for profit is.

Look where the real problems lie and you won’t find a worker like you as the cause of it, even if born in another land. 

You’ll find a boss, a banker, or one of their parliamentary parasites.

Letting them off the hook

If you’re worried about low pay then unionise. Demand legislation for a living wage instead of against immigration.

Immigration is a benefit. The government’s own people know it and have said so.

If you hear anything else then you’re being fed a spoonful of shite to distract you from the real villains. It’s up to you whether you fall for it and let the bosses and the bankers off the hook.

They’d sure love that now, wouldn’t they.

Gig Details

Radical Liverpool event at Festival 31
Cross Keys, 13 Earle St, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 9NS
Music starts at 7.30pm

I Want Rosa To Stay


#alun parry#festival 31#i want rosa to stay#immigration#refugee week


  1. Cee Martin - July 7, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    Well said Alun. Really like your thinking.

  2. Devils Advocate - July 8, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

    Mmmm… You don’t understand ‘National Pride’ but you do understand ‘Regional Pride’ – after all, who would be proud to live in a ‘Region’ (such as Liverpool), if its inhabitants were an unfriendly bunch? And by that definition you also exercise a sense of ‘Belonging’ to something and somewhere – otherwise how could you ‘feel’ for the thuoghts and actions of others?

    There are very strong points of view to support BOTH sides of the immigration argument. Historically, I challenge you to find a time and place that has not had to live with this issue on a day to day basis. I challenge you to demonstrate an example of a utopian freedom of movement of poeple, where everyone is treated equally no matter of their origins and wherever they decide to place themselves.

    Do you have children Alun? If so, what do you want for them? Do you want them to grow up with a sense of national identity? Do you wish for them to feel part of the Land where they were born and/or nurtured? Do you hope they will help their family when they are old and fragile? Do you wish them to ‘protect’ what they see as being their inheritance – after all, if they are descendants of many generations before them who have lived, worked and died in the place they were born, then surely that MUST account for something – does it not?

    In general I do agree with the majority of you comments – particularly about the ramifications of Capitalism and the propoganda machine etc – but you appear to assume that the ‘immigrant’ is getting a bad deal – it must be an awful lot better than from where they came OR they would not want/need/have to be away from where their own culture.

    Also, a Refugee is not the same as an Immigrant – lets not get confused about that – a Refugee is a very real Victim who is forced into immigration – but I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that!

    One final question, Alun, would you be prepared to ’emmigrate’ to Poland? It’s a purely facetious question but one that begs an answer that demonstrates the dichotomy of the immigration debate….

    Regards As Always

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