Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

THERE Are Many Excellent [...]; COLUMNIST

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

THERE Are Many Excellent [...]; COLUMNIST

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

THERE are many excellent reasons for not attempting a column on the refugee/migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

For a start, my own wife was once a refugee from the Iran-Iraq war, and if I offend her I will surely end up cooking my own dinners for the foreseeable future.

Even if by some miracle I avoid upsetting her, I am sure to outrage someone. The left-leaning bodies from which I receive most of my news (the BBC and Twitter) assure me that there is a massive groundswell of public support for allowing many thousands more refugees into the UK.

Yet while only the most notorious internet trolls would dare to suggest that a certain number of drowned children are an acceptable price to pay for ring-fencing our own home comforts, I suspect that there is a large and largely silent section of the populace regarding Mr Cameron's latest PRdriven U-turn with deep suspicion. The same sort of people who nod enthusiastically when they hear Jeremy Corbyn speaking, then quietly vote Tory in the privacy of the polling booth.

However, the most powerful reason of all for keeping shtoom is that I have absolutely no idea how this crisis can be resolved. Unfortunately, neither has any government, opposition nor supranational authority I have heard pontificating on the issue.

The best we seem able to come up with is dropping more bombs on an already bombed-out country. Because clearly we made a mistake two years ago when Parliament would not let us bomb the evil dictator Assad.

Now it seems we mainly want to bomb the evil dictator's opponents in ISIS, ignoring the ancient and Churchillian dictum that my enemy's enemy is my friend, however repulsive we may find him. Given that military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and (in a smaller way) Libya all seem to have made things worse rather than better for the bulk of their people, I cannot help wondering what useful lessons have been learned along the way.

There are two key emotions driving all human conduct: greed and fear. Politicians and commentators attempt to divide those currently on the move into refugees driven by fear, with whom we are meant to sympathise; and economic migrants driven by greed, who can be sent back whence they came without compunction. …

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