Pandaemonium

4 comments

  1. damon

    It’s a way of making an argument, but not one that I can go along with.
    I’ve said it before – the wider point of view doesn’t add up to a proper total.
    It’s like you’re insisting that 3 times 25 = 100. It doesn’t.
    Using Alan Kurdi’s death like that comes across as a way of blackmailing people with middle class sensibilities.
    An audience with a wider cross section wouldn’t be so passive to this way of argument I think.
    Ultimately, those two children died because their parents put them into dangerous water.
    They were not fleeing actual danger at the time, but taking a gamble on a better future.
    If you put yourself in physical danger, then there’s a possibility you might die.
    If you ask Dutch people do they want their country to be a prime destination for all the world’s refugees and migrants, they might not be so enthusiastic.
    You can frame arguments many ways. Using emotional imagery is one way, but it probably won’t sustain over time.
    To me, this kind of argument is the equal (but opposite), of something that the people at Migration Watch might say.
    And I think both are valid, but I won’t go to either radical end of the argument.
    We can only do so much ….. or we call it an emergency and have people camped out in refugee camps at former RAF bases. Replacing the Turkish refugee camps with similar camps in Britain.
    But that would cause outrage on the left too.
    There is no solution really.

    • ’It’s a way of making an argument, but not one that I can go along with.’

      You can’t go along with it because you don’t want to accept the reality of what the current system of immigration controls entails. You are fond of asking everyone, especially the ‘left’, to face up to reality and be honest. The only person you seem not to have to expect to face up to reality, or to be honest, is yourself. EU immigration controls do not mean a border guard asking you for your papers. What they constitute is a violent, coercive, militarised system of control. It means funding a kidnap and detention industry right across Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Sahel, from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans. It means making deals with the most brutal dictators from Colonel Gaddafi when he ruled Libya to Omar al-Bashir (until he was overthrown in a military coup earlier this year), indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes in Darfur. It makes relying on the most vicious militias including Sudan’s RSF, the rebranded Janjaweed, a vicious militia that pursued almost genocidal violence in Darfur. It means destroying local economies and traditional trade routes. I’ve laid all this out in a series of posts over the past few years. In a previous post, to which you made similar criticisms, I asked you directly, twice, whether mass detention and mass death is a price worth paying for the EU’s system of controls. Both times you simply avoided the question (as you have every time previously that I’ve asked you the question). I’m not surprised you should avoid the question because answering it would mean having to face up to reality.

      ‘Using Alan Kurdi’s death like that comes across as a way of blackmailing people with middle class sensibilities.’

      Working class people are, in your view, unconcerned about deaths and detention?

      In any case, I’m not ‘blackmailing’ anyone, I’m just asking them to face up the reality of what they believe. It’s striking that being forced to accept reality is, for you, the equivalent of being ‘blackmailed’.

      ‘Ultimately, those two children died because their parents put them into dangerous water. They were not fleeing actual danger at the time, but taking a gamble on a better future.’

      As it happens, the family were Kurds who lived in Kobani, in Syria, and were fleeing (for the second time) an Islamic State attack on town.

      ‘If you put yourself in physical danger, then there’s a possibility you might die.’

      Of course, it’s got nothing to do with EU policies or the creation of Fortress Europe. Once again, you want everyone else to take responsibility for their actions, but you don’t think European nations should take responsibility for the consequences of their policies, nor will you take responsibility for the consequences of supporting such policies.

      ‘We can only do so much…..’

      Actually ‘we’, as I keep pointing out, are doing quite a lot, from funding a kidnap and detention industry right across Africa, to making deals with the most dictators like Gaddafi and al-Bashir, from being complicit in torture, abuse and extortion to destroying local economies and traditional trade routes across Africa, from funding people smugglers so long as they also lock up the people they smuggle to criminalizing rescue missions and acts of solidarity.

      But about all that, you seem not to be too bothered.

      • damon

        Even if all you’ve said is exactly right – and I’m not going to question it – then why is the EU behaving like that and supporting all those terrible regimes and militia groups etc?
        What’s the reason for the EU doing that?
        They’re not doing it just because they’re bad and evil.
        I’ve also said I’m not personally against anyone moving anywhere in the world, and if pushed and given the opportunity, I might even vote for open borders. It would certainly shake the world up and make it a more interesting place. Even if some of the results were negative for some regions.
        As long as I can find a reasonably safe and quiet haven for myself. I’ve been in a few places in the world where there is real disfunction and strife and believe nowhere is exempt from it happening there.

        As for the issue about middle class or working class audiences, the sort of people who used to sit in the audience at Robert Kilroy Silk’s TV shows were a different sort to the people you were speaking to in Amsterdam.
        It’s not all down to actual class, but there are trends. UKIP members used to look very different to Liberal Democrat members. And class was part of that.
        I’ve been to a “Remain” demonstration in central London.
        There was a pro-Brexit one going on at the same time, but hidden away and hemmed in by the police.
        The two sets of people were totally different class wise and culturally.

        I just crossed a very serious border today. Into Poland from Russia. Nobody goes in or out that doesn’t have permission to do so. I suppose you could look at it as a cruel and heartless place. It kind of is.
        You can’t even approach the border control on the Russian side without getting some pre-screening by an official who first checks if you have the right documentation to be allowed to enter the border facility.
        That would stop all kinds of people needing asylum getting the chance to make their claim – if they’d got that far in the first place.
        However, as much as I might not care for borders and keeping people out – there’s plenty that do.
        Like: every country in the world more or less.

        The reason the EU behaves so “abominably” – is that they believe (mistakenly you suggest) that they would be overwhelmed by the numbers which would pour in if they didn’t support “deterrence initiatives”.
        That’s a euphemism btw.
        When I said that your sums didn’t add up (or your calculation) it was in this area that I meant most of all.
        The potential numbers. Precisely the thing that the Saferworld report said they didn’t want to get into.
        But just saying they “didn’t want to get into the numbers game” isn’t good enough, because that’s exactly what it is. A fifth to a quarter of Sweden’s population emigrated at the turn of the last century.
        Ireland had similar numbers or maybe even more. That’s the potential in numbers of people who could leave Third World countries and try to come to the West.
        And that’s why the EU is doing what it’s doing. It doesn’t mean it’s right, but it is the reason.
        So we should focus on whether this perception about potential numbers is right or not.
        My opinion is that they are more right in thinking what they are thinking (about numbers) than you are.
        I think the numbers could be overwhelming. Because we can’t do what Turkey does and keep refugees in camps.
        We would have to house them and try to integrate them all. And let them work and get citizenship quite quickly etc. That’s what the EU fears I think. So it’s that which we should focus on. The numbers and how we deal with them.

        • ’Even if all you’ve said is exactly right – and I’m not going to question it – then why is the EU behaving like that and supporting all those terrible regimes and militia groups etc?
          What’s the reason for the EU doing that?
          They’re not doing it just because they’re bad and evil.’

          That’s an argument to distract. If you can show me where I’ve ever said that the EU is ‘behaving like that… doing it just because they’re bad and evil’, I’d be interested. My whole point is that these policies, and their consequences, are what immigration controls now entail. And my question is: Is mass death and detention, complicity in torture and abuse, the creation of a kidnap and detention industry throughout Africa, support for dictators and mass killers, the destruction of local trade routes and economies, a price worth paying for stopping migrants coming to Europe? I’ve asked you that again and again, and again and again you’ve refused to answer.

          ’The reason the EU behaves so “abominably” – is that they believe (mistakenly you suggest) that they would be overwhelmed by the numbers which would pour in if they didn’t support “deterrence initiatives”.
          That’s a euphemism btw.
          When I said that your sums didn’t add up (or your calculation) it was in this area that I meant most of all.
          The potential numbers. Precisely the thing that the Saferworld report said they didn’t want to get into.
          But just saying they “didn’t want to get into the numbers game” isn’t good enough, because that’s exactly what it is.’

          You keep making this point, I keep challenging it with facts and figures (most recently last month), and you keep ignoring it, and simply repeating your claims. I don’t ‘calculate’ anything, I just point out the facts as we know them. So, one last time, some facts and figure about ‘numbers’.

          First, the argument that there are too many immigrants is made irrespective of the numbers. ‘There is no end to them in Whitechapel and Mile End. These areas of London might be called Jerusalem’, claimed one witness giving evidence to the 1903 Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, and talking of Jews in East London. Similarly with subsequent Chinese, Mediterranean, South Asian and Caribbean migrants. Today those hostile to immigration claim that the numbers in the 1970s were acceptable, but the numbers today are not. Back in the 70s, the numbers were seen as anything but acceptable (remember Margaret Thatcher’s ‘swamping’ claim in 1978?) That’s why the issue isn’t one of numbers. Whatever the number, it’s always too large. In any case, migration numbers are, proportionately, lower than they were in 1960. The number of undocumented migrants coming to the EU this year will be less than the number of (documented) non-EU migrants coming just to the UK. And, with the singular exception of 2015, that has broadly been true every year over the past couple of decades (and probably before that, too). The number of refugees in Europe is less than in the 1990s. The vast majority of African migrants want to travel not to Europe but to other African states. And so on. Hardly the picture you (and other immigration scaremongers) paint.

Comments are closed.