At the Spectator magazine’s parliamentarian of the year awards, the swankiest shindig in the political calendar, one of the gongs went to Nadhim Zahawi. He received a big cheer from an audience heavily populated with Tory MPs and ministers when he used his acceptance speech to remark: “How did a boy from Iraq end up on these shores without a word of English at the age of 11 and become the secretary of state for education? This is the greatest country of the world, my friends.”
On the same day, just a few hours earlier, at least 27 souls, among them a pregnant woman and several children, had also tried to make it to these shores only to die in the attempt. Less fortunate than Mr Zahawi, they and their dreams of making a better life in “the greatest country of the world” were drowned as they risked the treacherous crossing from the coast of northern France to that of southern England. We will never know if a future cabinet minister might have been among them.