THE other day I was sitting on the balcony of a rooftop cafe in Istanbul, listening to the Turkish waiter tell me of his determination to move to England.

Not Scotland, too cold. His wife is a Brummie whom he met while bar tending in Marmaris and they share a one-year-old daughter.

He wants more than he feels Turkey can give him and he's determined to move to a better life abroad.

We were looking out over the Bosphorus during this chat, its glistening blue scored by the white wake of ferry boats, pleasure boats and container ships.

Good luck to him, I hope he makes it. My two passports were lounging in the bottom of my bag, recovering from the surprise of use after two years locked down and in. Locked inside the borders others are desperate to reach.

How often do the majority of us give our passports a second thought? A necessary document useful on occasion but largely unremarkable for some; an item so desirable to others that they will risk their lives for it.

On the same day, the news had broken that nearly 30 people had died while trying to cross the English Channel to a new life in the UK. One of those was a young woman, Baran Nouri Mohammedameen, who wanted to join her fiancé in England.

Headlines called those involved "migrants" while media outlets were chided on social media for not using the word "refugees".

It's vital to be both accurate and compassionate on this issue. Boris Johnson's Conservative government and Priti Patel's Home Office have created a hostile environment, closing off legal routes the UK.

This has done nothing but force people to increasingly use desperate measures to reach Britain, pushing them towards people smugglers.

Describing the people coming across the Channel in small boats as refugees is important framing. "Migrant" has come to have negative connotations and by describing people fleeing their home countries in fear of persecution as "migrants" rather than "refugees", undermines their struggle.

It suggests they are less deserving of help and uses semantics to downgrade the urgency of their situation.

At the deepest point of the English Channel, Hurd's Deep falls 98 fathoms to the sea bed, 590ft. It's terrifying to imagine all that suffocating depth below, and the circumstances that would push a person to take that risk.

Semantics were used during the Brexit campaign to generate fear of migrants that has now, with some irony, led to the removal of the UK from the Dublin Regulation, which sets out the criteria for which country examines an asylum application.

Semantics are now used to maintain that fear and stoke the eternal left/right push and pull between punitive measures or a humanitarian response. Politicians talk of an "invasion" or a "flood" of migrants but in the past year Britain has only had the 17th highest number of asylum claims per head of population compared to EU countries.

In order to counter this, the sting must be removed from the word "migrant". There is a necessary and vital difference between a migrant and an asylum seeker but neither should be a negative term.

Instead of fear of migrants, we should look at how we make the most of what is a rich and needed resource for this country.

No person is better than another or less valuable than another based on the accident of birth. No country should be protected from outsiders to a greater extent than another due only to the geological fortune of being an island.

Some of us were born in this country, some were brought to it, others chose to make it their home. All these are the result of chance and luck and the chance and luck of generations before us. It has nothing to do with how hard we work or what our skills are or how much money we generate.

We are only where we are thanks to the movement of people over millennia.

When we allow migrants to be demonised for no other reason than that we don't want to share our resources with people who, by an accident of fortune, come from somewhere else, we give a free pass to politicians to enact cruel and damaging policies that lead to disaster.

There is no one significant moment that will change public will and, with it, political will. That moment could have been the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi in 2015, the appalling image of his little body washed up on a Turkish beach. It was not.

Here we are, six years later, and will the deaths of 27 children, women and men in the English Channel force sudden, significant change? One would hope so, but such hopes are fruitless under this current government and its facile, hostile leadership.

It will take a continual pressure that forces a complete shift in mindset to accept all migrants and all refugees as people, equal to all.