The shame of the St Louis, now memorialized in holocaust museums around the world, is a timely reminder. Since the beginning of this year some 340,000 people have piled into boats or trekked overland to reach Europe. They have been called a "swarm", "marauders" and "cockroaches". By August, more than 2,000 had drowned crossing the Mediterranean.
There is a deadly humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, and our current approach is compounding the problem. If the people in The Jungle were white Europeans, I have no doubt that we do everything possible to help them. Instead, we allow desperate people to exist in appalling conditions, and build fences to ensure they stay there. If I were a more courageous man, I would have brought someone back with me.
Today is about action, not just words - it is World Humanitarian Day. It is not a celebration. It is a much-needed recognition of those "who face danger and adversity in order to help others," a clear signal that there IS good in the world and a message to millions that life is precious. And what better way to recognise those who help others in the most dire circumstances than to announce we will give priority to new and better international support so humanitarians can carry out their mission to provide every child with opportunity in some of the most trying circumstances.
I've been thinking all day about how I can find the words for what we experienced last week. An hours drive from my house, then half an hour on the Eurotunnel, and we were in the world's worst refugee camp in terms of resources and conditions, yet we were welcomed with open arms. It's amazing how only the people who have nothing really know how to share.