Saturday, September 05, 2015

The tide turns on Cameron

Hurrah. David Cameron has finally pledged that "Britain will act with its head and its heart providing refuge for those in need while working on a long-term solution to the crisis." All it took was some images of a dead three-year-old lying face down in the surf on a Turkish beach.

It's not as though the bodies of refugees hadn't been washing up on European shorelines before pictorial evidence in the form of those images of Aylan Kurdi was widely published. But at least it looks as though his grieving father Abdullah's wish has come true: “The things that happened to us here, in the country where we took refuge to escape war in our homeland, we want the whole world to see this. We want the world’s attention on us, so that they can prevent the same from happening to others.

Of course, Cameron isn't alone in performing an awkward volte-face. As underlined by this New Statesman article, the mainstream media have been equally backed into a corner, forced to change their position and tone - even the Sun, the paper that not so long ago printed a column by Katie Hopkins arguing that the refugees are like "cockroaches" who should be shot at.

In the circumstances, though, rather than wasting time and energy dwelling on the papers' rank hypocrisy, we should simply be glad of the seachange in opinion that they seem to be reflecting, and instead preoccupy ourselves with positive actions of the sort recommended by the Guardian's Matthew Weaver.

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