Listen to my interview on the UK’s response to #lthe refugee crisis on BBC5 Live’s Up All Night http://t.co/WSAS6CmEVc from 129′-134′
Is this another example of Cameron’s PR politics? Good for tweets and front pages but quick to unfold at closer scrutiny. Or even worst, it hides much less humanitarian motives behind the facade. Today’s announcement is not only less generous than it sounded in the House of Commons, the refugee crisis is used as another point scoring trick against the EU (‘we are free to choose our way because we are outside Schengen‘, said Cameron in the Commons) and undermines attempts to restore EU solidarity; it offers no contribution vis-a-vis the crisis at EU borders, reinforces a pick & choose approach to refugee protection by setting its own criteria of deservingness, offers half-backed and short term rights to a group of refugees (who the UK government does not actually define as ‘refugees’ as it is only prepared to offer temporary leave to remain), and allocates inadequate resources that will hardly incentivise cash-striken local authorities to offer resettlement places (see poor success of this scheme to date). Last but not least, we can safely predict that the government will certainly use this act of ‘generosity’ towards Syrians to be tougher with other forced migrants and to engage in a new bombing campaign (and we saw what happened in Libya after the last one).
Cameron’s latest offer is not only inadequate to the scale of the refugee crisis, ‘derisory‘ and ‘pathetic’, according to Paddy Ashdown, but ultimately just a cynical exercise which will do little to alleviate the situation of millions of Syrian refugees and even less for the other forced migrants at Europe’s shores.