Area for all other political discussion
The current refugee crisis and the middle-east / African exodus is probably the greatest humanitarian crisis of my lifetime. I am 53 years old. Not since Die Flucht or the driving out of Germanic peoples in Bohemia and the Sudetenland have so many people been simultaneously on the move.

Earlier this week, Al Jazeera came to its journalistic senses and started to call this crisis as it is. These people are not migrants - like myself, Timbo, Juan and Malcolm when his knee is playing up - but refugees. They seem alone in that stance. The Indie on FB "wondered" whether they might do the same. On the BBC's WHYS, an entire hour was given over to Al Jazeera's decision and the conclusion was unequivocal yet, in the subsequent news bulletin on the hour, you can guess what the third word was, describing thousands of Syrian architects, lawyers and candlestick-makers trying - babes in arms - to thwart the hastily erected razor-wire of the southern Hungarian border.

The fash are on the march in Sachsen and throughout Germany, torching everything in sight. France is sitting on its hands and, in the UK, government to the highest possible level is spinning copy to its press friends and deliberately painting itself in to a corner from which it can never emerge and play its part.

I have had first-hand experience of this when, last year, a school down the road which was being used to house African refugees was raided at dawn with the aim of evicting the occupants. The local residents prevented this from happening by forming a protective human shield but, by my fag-packet reckoning, not until the state had "invested" some 300,000 euros per head in sustaining this futile stand-off.

I said then and I will say again, we need a coordinated EU response to this crisis. The press' mantra of something to do with benefits and plasmas is as pernicious as it is false.

We all know what the foreign policy catalysts were but prohibition is now actively enabling this crisis. Open borders? Yes, there is now no other choice. To think that closed borders are even a remote possibility, is just a puerile dream. Even the Berlin Wall with mines, tank traps and death strips didn't work.

Meanwhile, the remains of up to 50 souls, it's hard to tell, have been discovered in a truck in Austria.

This place is brimming with fine minds and I would be interested to hear other members' views.
If Europe doesn't show solidarity and countries like Britain do not answer Merkel's request to take their fair share of refugees, I don't see how you can move forward. I'm sorry I can't say any more than this but the total lack of leadership on this issue is depressing. How sad that a nation that feeds itself on bullshit about muddling along in a crisis and a backbone against tyranny in fact has no balls and is a frightened child hoping some adults somewhere else will take a decision.
Can't differ from you, K. I also share Ian's despair at the attitudes fostered in this country, not least by Dacre's hate sheet. The BBC was doing its fucking best today too, mind, with a radio phone-in of brain-dead fuckwits ("We're full!")' and a melodramatic news report on net immigration statistics featuring shots of airliners landing every few seconds and ludicrous figures about x number of foreigners arriving every minute - disgraceful.

I find the Austrian tragedy appalling. How can our society become decent again?
Agnes wrote:"Again"? Were we before?

Fair point. Post-war consensus and all that. Before Thatcher arrived and pretty much fucked everything up for everybody.
Littlejohn's brain wrote:The reaction by a lot of people when the Ugandan Asians were expelled wasn't too dissimilar to the reaction towards the current crisis.

There have always been racists and xenophobes but I just simply don't recall that reaction to the Ugandan expulsion.

I would only have been about eleven at the time when a couple of Asian kids came to our school but I do remember there being a sense of horror that people could be driven from their homes like that. The school took a strong leadership position to underline that.

Government too at that time, took a positive stance and hammered home that we had a humanitarian, historic and moral responsibility to play our part.

What I don't understand is when the mood changed. The country went from being compassionate and even proud that those fleeing would favour the UK over other potential safe havens, to being one that is brimming with bitterness, anger and resentment.

Or perhaps I do. When the phrase "bogus asylum seeker" entered the vernacular (possibly thanks to the Daily Express but I can't be certain), it soon became the norm to challenge the legitimacy of every cry for help. And now, with the press routinely interchanging "migrant" and "refugee", and that deliberate conflation being amplified by the BBC, the debate is well and truly poisoned.

And, whilst I do hold the press contemptibly responsible for this, it also strikes me that the government is culpable in both word and deed. Cameron with his "swarms", Brokenshaw with his abject hopelessness, a policy of running much-needed skilled graduates out of the country once they qualify and a refusal to either engage with Mare Nostrum or EU-wide policy are all symptoms of this.

And for what? To try to stop Farage carping and barking from the wings? Not until full racial purity laws and mass deportations are introduced will he and his tribe finally shut up.
Ugandan Asians were taken in against wide spread opposition from the public and was done so by a PM who decided to do what was right, solve the problem and live with the consequences. And guess what, the world didn't cave in.

As well as the bogus asylum seeker we have the evil people trafficer who is apparently fuelling this tidal wave of misery. If only we could help these refugees by stopping these evil doers than we are on the side of right.

People aren't welcome here, we shouldn't give them money and expertise for state building, no military interventions.

How serious are people though, would they accept ID cards, curtailing international trade and flights on holiday so we can truly close the borders? Just a small amount of flights and ferries for people coming in and out of the country on essential international business like the Soviet Union.
Last edited by youngian on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
I think it's also a contributing factor that most people (general public) in the EU simply don't know why the refugees are seeking refuge. They haven't read about it or seen it on TV, therefore it's not happening. If it's not happening, then people don't need to flee from it and are just trying to come and take our money. If the public aren't aware of it, the politicians certainly aren't going to tell them - immigration statistics stay around forever, you know.

Pretty depressing, but probably true.
Littlejohn's brain wrote:The reaction by a lot of people when the Ugandan Asians were expelled wasn't too dissimilar to the reaction towards the current crisis.

Agree to a certain extent, but back then it was a lot more "acceptable" to be openly hostile to "darkies". Now a days, I would like to think we have a better understanding of other cultures and acceptance of others as fellow human beings.

When the EU does finally wake up the problem will be arguing over creating a formula as to how many go to each you base it on size of country, population per hectare etc?
There were 70 people who died in a terrible way in that lorry. In addition the men and women who had to recover the bodies had an horrific life-changing experience. Meanwhile many more migrants died at sea yesterday.

I don't think Cameron is inherently an evil man, I do think he cares more about newspaper headlines than doing the right thing, that's his main weakness.

If Britain continues with this hard line while other such as countries Germany have taken 800,000 this year and possibly 1,000,000 next year then our country will lose all credibility as a civilised nation.
Unfortunately we now live in a society so blinded by hate against certain groups that they simply do not see the issues before their very eyes. Added to this is the way society as a whole has dumbed down over the course of the last 20 years, people no longer think about the difficult and complicated issues surrounding the Middle East / north Africa and so find it much easier to come out with the "send 'em all back, we're full" rhetoric which the NF espoused not many years before that.

Take Syria. The British public have been groomed by the press into a "my enemy's enemy is my friend" certainty, starting with the Cold War through Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001 up to the time of the Arab Spring. Then, the enemy of our enemy in Assad, and to a lesser-reported extent our enemy Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, turned out to be, if anything, more unsavoury than the enemy we'd been conditioned to hate only days before. With the massive power struggles going on between ISIS and tyrannical fascist / militarist dictators people didn't know which side they had to be on (and everyone has to pick a side these days), and so essentially said "I don't want to know". Then suddenly they're surprised when all these destitute Syrians turn up and think "well I don't really understand Syria but I don't like foreigners so they're all scum".

Until British attitudes are changed nothing will change, this cycle of hate and suspicion will continue.
Daley Mayle wrote:If Britain continues with this hard line while other such as countries Germany have taken 800,000 this year and possibly 1,000,000 next year then our country will lose all credibility as a civilised nation.

It's facts like these that need to reach a bigger audience. How many of us have heard someone moan about how it always seems to be "us" that has to take all these people in? Surely other countries have more space? etc etc.
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