For almost 200 years the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been revered for the work it does. It is a much-loved charity that commands widespread support. Yet now it has been dragged into another of Britain’s never-ending culture wars. The mob has arrived online and physically along the coast of Kent to throw beer cans and hurl abuse at RNLI volunteers and the migrants they have rescued from drowning. It has come to something when the act of saving the life of a child is regarded as a “woke” gesture or an example of “migration madness”.
Those attacking the RNLI for rescuing the lives of migrants drifting around in the English Channel ask many questions about why these brave volunteers are doing what they do. But the critics have yet to answer one central question themselves: what would you have the RNLI do instead?
The RNLI exists to save lives at sea, and that is what it does. It is not there to act as an alternative Border Force or as an auxiliary arm of HM coastguard or the royal navy. Apart from anything else it is an independent charity supported entirely by public donations, and makes no call on the taxpayer (and thus cannot be accused of misusing public funds).
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