In a recent article, I warned that politicians both in Britain and across Europe were being far too reactive to the humanitarian crisis facing the continent. I also suggested that the debate over migration and this crisis in particular was heading into toxic waters. Sadly, my forewarning was more apt than I believed it would be, and it is with a solemn yet resolute heart that I write this article.
The image of a drowned child, whose corpse was found by a policeman on a Turkish beach, has sparked a wave of moral fanaticism in Britain over the past week. The impact of this image suggests something grave about our society. Indeed, why should this image be the catalyst for change, when people have been drowning in the Mediterranean for weeks, maybe even months? Moreover, do images of destroyed homes in Syria not indicate that innocent life is perishing? Has Europe forgotten that bombs do not discriminate, just as water does not discriminate?
In fact, we appear to have broadly forgotten, consciously or not, about the impact of bombs in the Middle East. There has been very little morale outrage about the damage that British bombs are doing and have done in countries such as Syria and Iraq. It is shameful that the Prime Minister is expediently manipulating the public mood to levy Parliamentary support for military intervention in Syria. It was, after all, our bungling attempt to ‘stabilise’ Iraq through force that contributed to the rise of ISIS in the region.
This crisis surely demonstrates that voting in elections does matter. Your vote influences who governs Britain. It influences who we elect to make crucial decisions in the ‘national interest’. Indeed, did your MP support air strikes against Assad? Does your representative advocate intervention in order to halt the rise of ISIS? Did they vote in favour of the Iraq War, even?
The current state of the Middle East irrevocably demonstrates the damning consequences of poor decisions from our political representatives.
What will it take for the people of Europe to wake up? Will the electorate ever finally agree with the prophetic quote of H.G. Wells: "If we don't end war, war will end us”?