A few nights ago I found myself in an airless, sleepless hotel room in Latvia, listening to Sir Ian McKellen being interviewed by Marc Maron on his WTF podcast. At the end of the episode McKellen recites a speech from the little-known Elizabethan drama Sir Thomas More. The play was a collaboration between several dramatists, and it's now widely believed that this particular scene was written by Shakespeare. Here's McKellen reciting it on another occasion.
I was dimly aware of this scene from my undergrad days, but I'd never paid attention to it. This time it hit me like an electric current. And I immediately thought of Calais, and the migrants there, and all the discourse around them. Over the last few weeks I and so many other bleeding-heart liberals have tried to articulate our anger at the rhetoric used to dehumanise these people. Not surprisingly, Shakespeare nailed "the strangers' case" centuries ago.