Thursday, 3 September 2015
The recent picture of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi being washed up on a beach in Turkey - his brother and mother also died - has dramatically emphasised both the crisis and politicians' inability to get a grip on it.
The current British government, apparently oblivious to the country's proud record in absorbing thousands of refugees in previous decades, is being increasingly hostile to the present flood of refugees, seeking to batten down the hatches and turn them away.
Other countries like Germany have been far more sympathetic and welcoming and have taken in much larger numbers. They've recognised that those exhausted souls struggling through one country after another aren't spongers and scroungers but distraught human beings in dire need of help and resettlement.
But politicians aplenty trot out all the usual absurd excuses for giving them the brush-off. The country's already overcrowded. Public services can't cope. They'll be an endless burden. They're just chancers out to exploit us. They're all criminals and sex traffickers. They're a threat to the British way of life. And so on.
The aspiring Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper has suggested the UK could take at least 10,000 refugees on the basis of 10 families going to each large town.
We could surely take many more than that if we really wanted to. If there was political will and human compassion - and even the Dunkirk Spirit - rather than sour-faced hostility. Of course public services are severely stretched. They have been for decades. But they could be expanded easily enough with a bit of ingenuity and determination instead of the usual helpless shrugs.
After all, migrants not only work in the public services themselves, they pay taxes that help to finance those services. So why not take a few more?
The "I'm all right, Jack" attitude of those comfortably-off politicians who won't lift a finger to help the less fortunate is quite sickening.
Pic: Aylan Kurdi's body is taken from the sea