Not in my name: British diplomats who joked about refugee quotas disgrace this country

There have been many reasons over the Summer to be thoroughly ashamed of our Government’s response to the growing humanitarian crisis on our doorsteps.

We’ve all seen the news reports. We all know that people just like us are enduring incredible suffering. The difference between them and us is that we live in a part of the world that has seen relative stability and security these last 70 years since the EU came into being. For all it’s many faults. at least none of us has been put in the position of having to flee our homes because it is simply not safe to be there, because our government was gassing us with chemical weapons, because a brutally murderous death cult was trying to wrest power from a brutally murderous government. Imagine the fear and desperation these people are going through as they leave their home nation for a very uncertain future.

When even a UKIP supporting family friend says we should be helping these people, it is very clear that David Cameron, with his “n’owt to do with us” approach, is very much out of step with the feeling in this country. Hell, even Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson gets it:

When asked to help, we should be saying that we will do everything we possibly can and that we’ll take as many people as we can. There is a self-interest in there, too, because a compassionate, fair response enhances our international reputation.

If the Prime Minister’s response has made a chocolate fireguard look like the ultimate safety appliance, there must be a very special place in hell reserved for the British official who said the following at an EU meeting, according to the FT:

During the negotiations on relocating 40,000 refugees earlier this summer, one EU diplomat said British officials joked that they would take zero people “and double that if they were really pushed”

These diplomats are presumably on pretty large salaries living very comfortable lives. They will retire on comfortable pensions. Their job is to represent this country to the world in such a way as to enhance our reputation. They fell very short here. The displacement of many people, the almost daily reports of death and drowning are not in any way funny.

When these diplomats go into these high level meetings, they represent all of us. What they say is what people think of us. They would have made these comments in front of people from countries where they are valiantly doing all they can and are being overwhelmed, Greece, Italy, Germany. It’s such a lack of respect for what your neighbours are going through.

These idiots and the Tory Government are making us all look terrible. Friends are pretty important whether at personal or international level. It’s not wise to alienate them.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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74 Comments

  • David Evershed 3rd Sep '15 - 3:59pm

    There must be many hundreds of millions of people who would rather be in the EU than their own country.

    Such people are prepared to risk their child’s life to travel from safe Turkey to safe Greece in an unsafe dingy.

    It is not good for the EU nor for the deserted African and Middle eastern countries for such a migration to take place.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Sep '15 - 4:09pm

    I agree that we should be willing to provide any help that we possibly can and take as many refugees as we possibly can. That means a lot more than now. There are questions, of course, but in a humanitarian emergency like this, the right thing is to help first and ask questions later.

    A few years ago we had riots on our streets because a few of the more desperate and less controlled members of our society felt that no one cared. It does not bode well for our future that the powers that be are now providing further evidence that no one cares.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 3rd Sep '15 - 4:09pm

    David,

    When the sea seems a safer option than the land, then you can tell that the people must be very, very desperate. I think that people make their decisions based on their reality at the time. You have no knowledge of that and really, I suggest, have no right to sit in judgement.

    Whether it’s good or not, what are you going to do with all these people? Send them back to a hellish war zone?

  • @Caron “When the sea seems a safer option than the land, then you can tell that the people must be very, very desperate.”

    I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that.

    The reality of the situation is that people have fled danger in their own countries and ended up in a safe haven – a refugee camp in Turkey.

    However, that is but the beginning of the problem. They are safe, but in stasis. They can’t go back to their country of origin whilst it’s engulfed in war. So their options are (i) sit still and do nothing or (ii) look to go somewhere else.

    The journey from mainland Turkey to island Greece across a short stretch of the Med is perhaps deceptive and may encourage people not prepared to accept stasis to take a risk that they judge to be less than it really is.

  • I’m sorry, but the diplomats comments are nowhere near as offensive as David Evershed’s

  • Syrian Kurds are treated very badly in Turkey, according to the toddler’s relative. It was hardly ‘safe’ for them.

  • David Evershed “David Evershed 3rd Sep ’15 – 3:59pm
    There must be many hundreds of millions of people who would rather be in the EU than their own country.”

    There may be a few but as an immigrant from Africa, let me tell you, most people would far rather stay in their homeland than have to make a dangerous journey, leaving family and all your wordly goods behind, to travel to a cold and pretty unwelcoming country where you don’t understand the language and their customs are not yours.

    Nowhere is as good as “home” wherever that may be.

  • As for those who go off, Dick Wittington-style, to make their fortune in another place. Well that’s just doing what Norman Tebbit said people should do. It’s called being “enterprising”.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Sep '15 - 4:40pm

    I also agree that, if the sea looks safer than the land, persons making that mis-judgment must be under huge stress. Few of us in the UK have had that kind of experience in our lifetimes, virtually none of us know what its like to be a refugee, and it is not for us to provide further stress by judging them adversely.

    But, while doing all we can to alleviate the immediate humanitarian problem, which means doing a whole lot more than now, I suggest we do also need to look into how that stress is generated and how it can be resolved in less hazardous ways.

  • David Evershed 3rd Sep '15 - 4:41pm

    Caron

    Under the Dublin Convention agreed by the Eu and other countries, such migrants should be returned to the firt safe country the migrant travelled through. Turkey as a safe country.

    There are good reasons for the Dublin Convention, including the protection of immigrants so that they are not pushed from country to country to make their asylum application.

  • No doubt we want to do something. But what exactly do we want to do? Immediately settle for perpetuity everyone coming in a boat and claiming to be a refugee? This will, unfortunately, only encourage many more millions of real and, more often, fake refugees to do the same, yes, in unsafe boats, so, besides ruining our part of the world (which troubles some people) it will lead to more deaths (which troubles others and, I think, most of the first group as well).

    To me, the only reasonable thing to do would be to firmly send everyone biating to Europe from a safe country (and Turkey, whence more than half comes from now is one). No exceptions. If we want to take some refugees in – process applications in the refugee camps in Turkey. And those willing to part with their money for their high ideals can send all they want to those camps – I bet this will help. The Aegean traffic will soon stop, and with it, deaths.

    Libya is a more complicated issue, as it’s a lawless country at present. But once the first step is made, the rest can be done too.

    The jokes were, of course, stupid.

  • Eddie Sammon 3rd Sep '15 - 5:27pm

    I think helping suffering people is broadly popular. People don’t like it when they see ideological support that goes towards people not in need, but these people are clearly in need.

    I also think people need to stop the self-publicity over this. It all needs to be about helping those in need, not tweeting photos of ourselves with sad faces.

  • But how is it fair to expect Turkey to take everyone?! They can’t possibly cope.

  • Well done to Tim and Tom Brake our Foreign Affairs Spokesman for calling for an emergency debate next week.

    Well done Yvette Cooper for suggesting we resettle 10 000 a relatively small number or the 3000 currently in Calais suggested by someone else.

    Shame on David Cameron for his comments. How have those millions benefitted these countries? Yes, the ship has saved lives but not detected and stopped many tragedies.

    Most of us can only partly imagine being in such a situation, but families with children in such trouble could be resettled first. Does that offend the human rights of all the fit young men?

  • ‘Well done Yvette Cooper for suggesting we resettle 10 000 a relatively small number or the 3000 currently in Calais suggested by someone else.’

    In 2006 Blair agreed to take a large proportion of the Calais migrants in return for tougher border control in France & the closure of the camps, that worked well !

    Should we take the next 3,000 when word gets back that you just need to sit it out for a while to gain illegal entry into the UK ?

  • 100 years ago the UK Government was able to cope with such things. Nobody even remembers.

    The UK was home to 250,000 Belgian refugees during World War One, the largest single influx in the country’s history.

    Folkestone ~14 October 1914.
    The Kent port saw the arrival of 16,000 Belgian refugees in a single day.
    Germany had invaded Belgium, forcing them to flee. The exodus had started in August and the refugees continued to arrive almost daily for months, landing at other ports as well, including Tilbury, Margate, Harwich, Dover, Hull and Grimsby.
    Official records from the time estimate 250,000 Belgians refugees came to Britain during WW1. In some purpose-built villages they had their own schools, newspapers, shops, hospitals, churches, prisons and police.

  • @Phyllis: Turkey has already let those people in, and they were in refugee camps (I mean, the real refugees from Syria, not the many seekers of better life that came from many other places to use the same route). What we can – and I think should – do is help Turkey and whoever is running the camps with money.

  • Kevin and Igor
    Let’s not focus on what may not have worked as planned years ago.
    This is a totally different situation and I would focus on our humanity.
    What are we afraid of, is it NIMBYism?
    Yes, I think we are helping those in camps as well.

  • The drown an immigrant to save an immigrant policy in the Med came in under the Coalition. As a Lib Dem Im ashamed to say we are reaping the whirlwind of the coalition policy now.

  • @Alistair Did we really drown anyone? I think there are only two solutions to this: either allow anyone come and settle in the country (probably, also give tickets for free for those who have no money), or make coming in boats and staying impoissible, atl least if one cannot prove he/she is a refugee. Everything else will lead to more drownings, as it will encourage more and more people take the same route.

  • Igor, we can build refugee camps in safe locations, and offer to house people there until it is safe to return to Syria, which is not going to be any time soon with a proxy war going on. This Tory government and the coalition before it pursued policies which have led to more deaths.

  • @Alistair This is exactly what I stand for: helping Turkey and Jordan house the millions who fled there, making life in the camps better, particularly, providing jobs to the people there. We can also take some, but not those who illegally entered. Refugees, and a lot of other migrants from the less… eeee… fortunate countries will keep taking to sea so long as it is rewarded by being admitted, for perpetuity, not for the duration of the war) into richer societies with more or less generous welfare. as opposed to eing housed for the time of acute crisis, and the expected to go back (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this). And, inevitably, some will drown in the process.

  • Little Jackie Paper 3rd Sep '15 - 7:32pm

    Joan Hand – ‘What are we afraid of, is it NIMBYism?’

    Not getting at you. You throw that out there, what is it that you think people might be fearful of?

  • An article about what an anonymous British official allegedly said to an equally anonymous EU diplomat doesn’t really seem to enhance the quality of the debate very much.

  • Igor but people cannot stay in refugee camps forever.

  • Proud of Holyrood today – and very well done Nicola, Iain, Willie and Patrick.

  • John Tilley 3rd Sep '15 - 8:28pm

    “These diplomats are presumably on pretty large salaries living very comfortable lives. They will retire on comfortable pensions. Their job is to represent this country to the world in such a way as to enhance our reputation”

    I do not have access to the FT so have not been able to read their report. There seems to be some doubt about whether the offending remarks came from “officials” or “diplomats”.

    During my working life I had a very brief period in Luxembourg sitting behind a paper saying “UK” and putting n headphones to listen to the translations when people did not speak in English. I was an “official” but I was never a “diplomat”.

    Not everyone who does a job like this is a member of the elite Diplomatic Service. Some of us earned modest salaries and those of us who have retired live on pensions considerably smaller than Paddy Ashdown (who was a “diplomat”, when he was not a spy, a soldier, an MP, a Lord or King of Bosnia).

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Sep '15 - 9:05pm

    Caron Lindsay | Thu 3rd September 2015 – 3:15 pm
    ” at least none of us has been put in the position of having to flee our homes because it is simply not safe to be there,”
    Caron any logician would say that it is unsound to take this argument to extremes. Please check you facts.
    Could this have happened in Glasgow or Edinburgh?
    Could it have happened when London was in flames quite recently?
    Could it have happened in Northern Ireland?
    You undermine a strong case when you take it to an illogical extreme.
    You should not be in the company of others who do the same, such as former President Nixon.

  • Joan Hand

    ‘What are we afraid of, is it NIMBYism?’

    No just the vacuous moral posturing.

  • David Evershed

    ‘Such people are prepared to risk their child’s life to travel from safe Turkey to safe Greece in an unsafe dingy.’

    Yes, they have he choice of safe refugee camps across the border in Turkey or Lebanon,, but choose to put the lives of their children in the hands of people smugglers who use unseaworthy boats and then everyone else is to blame for their actions.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Sep '15 - 9:43pm

    There is scope for a new thread. When were the changes enacted that allowed petitions, previously ignored, to be debated in parliament? Was it betwenn 2010 and 2015? who should get the credit for this change?
    A look at the Downing Street website shows lots of petitions for similar things which mostly fail to reach the threshold of 100,000 petitioners. Suppose a petition reaches 200,000? Will the appropriate committee of the House of Commons allow a debate on the issue? Will it be soon? If so, how soon?

  • Phyllis, but sooner or later the war in Syria will be over. I don’t think it will ever be a nice place (by our standards), but it will be OK for the refugees to go back home and rebuild the ruins.

  • John Tilley 3rd Sep '15 - 10:31pm

    Igor S 3rd Sep ’15 – 9:53pm
    “….I don’t think it will ever be a nice place (by our standards), but it will be OK for the refugees to go back home …”

    “by our standards”. ???

    How do the standards of he average Syian differ from “our” standards?

  • John Tilley 4th Sep '15 - 4:41am

    I am surprised LDV rules allow the call to racist prejudice in the one line sentence used by Richard Stallard to announce a film clip.

    Whereabouts “near me” can I expect a squad of the Hungarian Police to act violently? Surbiton ? Hampton Wick ?

    Perhaps LDV made a mistake in allowing this?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 4th Sep '15 - 7:56am

    John, that video was posted at 12:21 am when I was tucked up in my bed nursing an oncoming cold. Do you seriously expect that members of this volunteer team should sit up all night zapping comments?

    Now that I have seen it, I think it was a clear attempt to spread unjustified fear and I have removed it. And the person who posted it has lost his privileges to post things on the site without being approved by one of the team.

  • John Tilley 4th Sep '15 - 8:37am

    Caron
    Many thanks.
    I was hoping that might be the case.
    Sorry to hear you are fighting off a cold.

  • John Tilley 4th Sep '15 - 8:45am

    jedibeeftrix 4th Sep ’15 – 7:47am

    Jedi you maybe missed this comment in another thread last night. You perhaps should be discussing dictionary definitions with the person who made that comment ?

    Richard Stallard 3rd Sep ’15 – 10:54pm
    “…Fascist, racist and xenophobic, certainly (I take them as compliments), “

  • Igor S 3rd Sep ’15 – 9:53pm
    “Phyllis, but sooner or later the war in Syria will be over. I don’t think it will ever be a nice place (by our standards), but it will be OK for the refugees to go back home and rebuild the ruins.”

    It could go on for decades and even when it does end, ISIS might be the rulers. Who would send people back to ISIS?

    I echo John’s comments about standard of living. Did you hear the Syrian English teacher in Radio 4’s Today programme this morning? their living standards are pretty much like ours.

    Do you expect their children’s education to be out on hold whilst they live in a refugee camp with a million other people in squalor for a decade or more?

  • “It could go on for decades and even when it does end, ISIS might be the rulers.”

    And there in is the real problem and challenge. JohnTilley has on various threads made much of the UK’shistorical capabilities and specifically those displayed in WWII. But what most here (and I suspect this is also a reflection of society as a whole) have missed is the real policy decision that was made and which we need to make over Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. is what is our policy with respect to those who we either cannot take (ie. what happens once we’ve taken our agreed quota) or who for whatever reason remain in these countries. In the run up to WWII, the UK made a decision; yes it took in displaced people but it also declared war on the people who caused these people to become displaced and followed through…

    The question is thus whether we now have the nerve and courage to follow through and do what is necessary to re-establish an ordered society in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, even if that will entail the loss of life…

  • @Roland “The question is thus whether we now have the nerve and courage to follow through and do what is necessary to re-establish an ordered society in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, even if that will entail the loss of life…”

    Herein lies the classic liberal dilemma – whether the right to self-determination can be pushed as far as covering ISIS

  • ” In the run up to WWII, the UK made a decision; yes it took in displaced people but it also declared war on the people who caused these people to become displaced and followed through…”

    It was good that the UK ended up on the right side in WWII but to state that “we declared war on the people who caused these people to become displaced …” has the danger of over-stating the case. The reason we declared war was not because of the treatment that the then German government was inflicting on its own people but because it invaded another country whose independence we had guaranteed by international treaty.

  • Sarah Olney 4th Sep '15 - 1:15pm

    I disagree with the current UK policy of providing funding for refugee camps in Turkey. A tent in the desert can only be a temporary home – months, maybe a year. “Sooner or later- the war will be over”. Seriously? The war is being fought between two murderous regimes – if one side ‘wins’ it still won’t be a safe or secure place for ordinary people to live. It will take decades for any semblance of a civil society to re-emerge in Syria. How long do we expect people to live in tents for?

    The only solution is to take them to a place where they can re-establish normal lives – a real home, a proper job, education for their children. The societies that welcome them will gain a return on their investment in the years to come as the refugees becoming citizens who contribute to their host country.

    The best outcome of all would be to foster a democratic movement amongst the Syrian diaspora, who can one day return to their homeland.

  • Sarah Olney yes exactly!

    But why can’t the rest of the world be part of the solution? . America is a big country, so are other parts of the world outside Europe. Obama has been totally silent and yet he is the leader of the free world!

  • @Sarah – The problem is that our lifestyle is highly dependent upon resources that seem to be disproportionately located in unstable countries. Just bear in mind your computer and mobile phone will almost certainly contain materials that originated from a conflict zone and payments for which did little to benefit the population…

    So it would seem that as TCO intimated, Liberals would be happy to wring their hands over the actions of gangsters such as ISIS but take no action as this would deprive them of the right of self-determination, welcome those these same groups evict and then trade with the same groups so as to maintain our increasingly unsustainable lifestyle…

  • Ok thanks Paul. The news focuses exclusively on Europe, and it seems most Syrians are determined to get to Germany. The U.S. could easily set up a whole state for 11m Syrians without missing the space. If all the European aid money went to that new state, it could set them up with infrastructure and services.

  • I think Roland is right about facing up to the real question – whether the west (Nato) now have the nerve and courage to follow through and do what is necessary to re-establish an ordered society in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, even if that will entail the loss of life….

    Putin said today the West had itself to blame for the migrant crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Middle East via the Mediterranean Sea and land routes across the Balkans,. Russia criticizes the West, especially the United States, for leading to the overthrow of Moscow-allied leaders in Iraq and Libya, where radical and extremist groups are now roaming.

    He said “Naturally, first and foremost this is the policy of our American partners. Europe follows this policy blindly under the so-called allies’ obligations, and then takes the brunt of it itself,”

    This is at the same time as reports are beginning to surface of Russian military aircraft and Russian military personnel operating on the ground in Idlib province.

    I think a concurrent policy of unlimited resettlement of Syrian refugees currently stranded within the EU should be followed together with the immediate establishment of no-fly zones along Syria’s borders with Turkey and protection of the population centres in Northern Syria by Nato troops on the ground – principally Turkish, French, British and American. forces.

    Russia would veto a UN resolution – so the occupation of Northern Syria would have to be undertaken on the basis of ‘responsibility to protect.’

    Both Iraq and Afghanistan have functioning governments and military’s that can be supported logistically without the need for the intervention of western ground troops.

  • @Paul Walter
    “Phyllis, From a quick Google, Canada has pledged to take 10,000. Australia has pledged to take 4,400. US has taken 1000 and should take more. Some dragging of heels, certainly, but not a complete non-response outside of Europe.”

    These numbers, when added to the numbers in Europe, are fantastic news for the individuals concerned – but a pathetic proportion of the 23 million people who were living in Syria as of 2013. Anybody who thinks taking in a few thousand people is any kind of solution to this is living in cloud cuckoo land. But I fear that once a few thousand arrive here, liberals will pat themselves on the back and that will be that.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Sep '15 - 5:08pm

    4th Sep ’15 – 1:03pm , jointly with France.

  • The power of a dead child’s photo…..Cameron has gone from ‘none’ to ‘thousands’ overnight…..However, ‘Dave’ is noted for ‘promises’ which usually seems to disappear with the headlines…..

  • Richard Underhill 4th Sep '15 - 5:41pm

    jedibeeftrix 4th Sep ’15 – 7:47am Who won the men 100 metres in the 1936 Olympics?

  • Peter Chivall ”
    @David Evershed. Turkey may be a safe country to those of us with EU passports, but if your identity papers and your language identify you as Kurdish, I would suggest the definition of ‘safe’ is a qualified one.”

    Exactly the point I have been making to a few individuals on here when they claim that the family of the toddler were “safe”. Turks and Kurds, people!

  • Paul Walter

    Well it worked for the Pilgrim Fathers, didn’t it? 😉

    It’s funny how land can be found for detainees in Orange jump suits but not for refugees…..but land, or rather a homeland is what is needed for these refugees. If all the aid from all the countries which are contributing now was diverted to setting them up in a state or an island of their own, don’t you think these refugees would make a go of it? They’d need help to start with but not for ever. These are strong, resourceful, highly determined people who are more than capable of standing on their own two feet, given a good deal of start-up help and support, just like the Ugandan Asians did when they first arrived in Uganda and built a life there, in many cases building towns out of literally ‘jungle’ and then secondly when they arrived in Britain with nothing. So I say give them help to get on their feet, they will surpass all of us.

  • Paul Walter “They certainly should take more and assimilate them in towns and cities. ”

    I’m so sorry but I cannot see the word “assimilate” without immediately thinking ” The Borg” !

    Followed swiftly by ” Cybermen”.

    I’ll get my coat.

  • @Phyllis – “.but land, or rather a homeland is what is needed for these refugees.”

    There is such a land and it currently goes by the name ‘Syria’…

    Bear in mind even if we were to move 11m people to Wyoming, ISIS and the the various other warring fractions in Syria, Iraq etc. will still pose a threat and have control of significant natural resources that our society depends upon. So suggestions for how we help the Syrian people (including the refugees) reclaim their land?

  • Richard Underhill 4th Sep '15 - 7:42pm

    Phyllis 4th Sep ’15 – 6:04pm ” … it worked for the Pilgrim Fathers, didn’t it? … ”
    “They made us many promises, but they only kept but one, they promised to take our land and they took it”.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Sep '15 - 7:43pm
  • Roland “So suggestions for how we help the Syrian people (including the refugees) reclaim their land?”

    Their land is gone. It cannot be reclaimed. If it could, it would have been.

  • Richard Underhill 4th Sep '15 - 9:01pm

    Paul Walter 4th Sep ’15 – 8:35pm Please compare the American view with the Canadian.

  • @Phyllis – “Their land is gone. It cannot be reclaimed. If it could, it would have been.”

    I didn’t know that global warming had caused sea levels to rise that much in the middle east!
    Please be sensible, the land is still there and habitable. Yes we need to somehow remove the warring fractions, and do it within a few years, but that is possible it just needs some commitment by the refugees, the people they left behind and the international community; and yes in the ensuing conflict many people will die including members of the international community both directly in Syria and going about their daily life because some fanatic decides to bring the conflict to our towns and cities.

  • @Joe Bourke

    “Both Iraq and Afghanistan have functioning governments and military’s that can be supported logistically without the need for the intervention of western ground troops.”

    Do you really think so?? Iraq is falling apart and Afghanistan returning to the Taliban as far as I can see. A few ISIS troops can defeat whole divisions of Iraqi troops. As pointed out elsewhere, the only effective local opposition to ISIS on the ground in Syria or Iraq are the Peshmerga and Turkey will not let us arm them properly because of the Turkish desire to keep Kurdish nationalism suppressed…

    There was almost a Kurdish State formed after WW1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_S%C3%A8vres#Kurdistan Northern Iraq is currently a de facto Kurdish State but if the Iraquis ever get control back of their country that will not last long

    I would have thought we would have learned the lesson by now that military intervention by foreign countries in the Middle East leads either to disaster or permanent occupation in the face of a terrorist war of attrition … Which of those do you prefer?

  • Roland ” Yes we need to somehow remove the warring fractions, and do it within a few years,….”

    Oh well is that all? :/

  • Paul Walter

    Andrew McC ‘s post about the millionaire wanting to buy an island for refugees has disappeared?!!

    It appeared long enough for me to read it and say “phew, that’s saved me having to reply to Paul” and then pufffff! it’s vanished!

    {thanks anyway Andrew McC}

  • John Tilley 5th Sep '15 - 4:39am

    Paul Walter 4th Sep ’15 – 8:35pm
    “Name the state or island in the USA that you mean. ”

    Not a problem, Paul. Just take the list of states where Republicans and Tea Party lunatics elect people to The Senate.
    Once the refugees or their children qualify for US citizenship it could bring about a wonderful transformation in US politics.

    But don’t tell Donald Trump. He is too busy demonising Mexicans.

  • Phyllis – “Oh well is that all? :/”

    I wouldn’t want to under estimate the challenge, particularly given the lessons AndrewMcC notes, however it is one that will not go away and will have to be addressed at some stage, so best to start now whilst “doing something” is uppermost in people’s minds. Also by taking people out of the middle east we are to some extent relieving the pressure for change.

    I note just how much energy, organisation and sheer determination the migrants crossing Hungary are exhibiting, also when some can say to the media that once they are settled in Germany they will send for their families to join them, tells you that things aren’t as hopeless in Syria et al as some would like to make out. I think we need to redirect their anger on to those who caused them to become migrants in the first place, as there will only be peace in Syria etc. when the people who live there actually want peace and are prepared to stand their ground.

    And do note the numbers that JohnTilley elsewhere has mentioned, there are more than enough able boded people among the migrants, to liberate Syria, etc. it just requires some organisation and desire on their part.

  • SIMON BANKS 5th Sep '15 - 8:38pm

    Three relevant facts. 60% of the “migrants” in the current rush come from Syria or other war-torn countries. As always, the great majority of refugees are held in poor countries neighbouring their own. In the 1930s the “Daily Mail” campaigned against the “flood of stateless Jews entering this country”.

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