What was the German government’s motivation in agreeing to accept up to 800,000 refugees from Syria and elsewhere? Brian Monteith is not being cynical when he suggests that the move was triggered by long-term economic considerations (Perspective, 7 September).
Demography shows that the country will need a plentiful supply of labour in the years to come. There was a humanitarian motive too, possibly fuelled by a desire to show repentance for the atrocities of the 1930s and the Second World War.
Germany has to accept some of the responsibility for the chaos and tragedy of the past week. In the world of practical politics cool heads should determine that there must be some order to the acceptance of refugees into any country, even if sheer force of numbers and worldwide pleas for compassion call for action straight away.
In this respect Mr Monteith is on strong ground in calling for a reliable process to deal with these situations. The unnecessary death of a young child like Aylan Kurdi always allows emotion to outweigh pragmatism. In the end each recipient country has to take a long hard look at what resources are available to accept large numbers of newcomers.
The local authority that constantly tells central government that its housing waiting list is already unacceptably long cannot just invent houses to cope with fresh demand. It is all very well to call for individuals to help out by offering private accommodation. But refugees sooner or later require education and a whole range of social services which many councils are already struggling to provide. It is not racist or reactionary to call for effective control of immigration. It is mature to call for an international summit to try to create civilised processes for future crises like this; it is only practical for all governments to look at getting the balance right between resources and reception of refugees.
Until we recognise that the humanitarian situation in Europe is a symptom of the crisis in the Middle East which the West helped to create, we will not make progress in resolving it.
At the heart of this crisis is the millenarian movement Isis, and the sectarian war in Iraq and Syria between Shia and Sunni muslims, which it is greatly aggravating. We must start by grasping that amongst all the actors in that conflict Isis with its mixture of genocide, slaving, YouTube-sadism and cultural erasure is uniquely evil.
Thus just as we made common cause with the Soviet Union against National Socialism, we will have to do so with president Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and his Russian and Iranian allies.
We must also look with a critical eye at our supposed allies in the region. Saudi and other Gulf Arab money was one of the essential ingredients in the creation of Isis. This is unsurprising given that it is carrying out a Wahabi vision of Islam.
Equally worrying is that our Nato ally Turkey has shown a great deal more enthusiasm for fighting against the Kurds than against Isis. Also, the Turkish government has made next to no effort to stop the flow of refugees and migrants through Turkey to the EU.
Nor should we forget that the massive flow of people through Libya came about, because David Cameron and France’s Nicholas Sarkozy turned that country in to a failed state by overthrowing former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Isis is today’s equivalent of the Nazis or the Khymer Rouge. Both practically and morally it must be eliminated, and only force of arms will do that.
It IS all very well saying that we should take in more of the poor war refugees from the Middle East – how easy that is. Does anyone stop to work out the cost of this (and I don’t mean financial.)
For example – where are these people going to live? An obvious answer is council housing – but what about local people who need them? They would have to go without, and this is what I mean by cost.
The politicians who shout the loudest are not the ones who will be paying the cost. I am happy to let in more people, but again, this costs me nothing. Congratulations by the way, to Bob Geldof, who is going to take some refugees into his home to live – responsibility in action, and a lesson to us all.
It is unfair to knock the UK for not doing enough. Our aid budget, as a percentage of GDP, is amoungst the best, and far exceeds anything an independent Scotland could muster.
My HEART goes out to all these poor refugees, but I do have reservations about the massive influx in Europe now.
Surely there have to be major concerns that even a tiny minority may be IS sympathisers, or that some will be targeted by IS members and then become involved in their operations throughout Europe?
Fighting terrorism is proving hard enough as it is – how much worse could it potentially become?
The do-gooders are, as usual, falling over themselves to usher in vast numbers of migrants from three continents.
Do they think we are magicians? As it is, Scotland cannot produce enough doctors, nurses, schools, houses, transport, etc, etc, for our own people. Where on earth do they think we are going to find thousands more to cope with the new influx?
Even if we agree to start building tomorrow the new teaching hospitals that are already badly needed, it will be at least ten years before the first qualified doctors emerge. Can they not see this?
We are a small overcrowded island, a drop in the ocean compared with the mass migrations now threatened. We have got to wake up and be realistic. Do the people really want another £1000 on their tax bill? I certainly cannot afford it.
We are already far behind the rest of Europe in our standard of living
Tens of millions of people in the Middle East and Africa want to leave their native lands and come to Europe
The 1951 convention on refugees states that refugees are “those who have a well-founded fear of persecution”.
This definition could apply to a quarter of the world’s population.
Letting in refugees would prove to be only the first wave which would encourage a refugee tsunami.
If a significant fraction of the hundreds of millions suffering hardship, persecution and famine in Africa and the Middle East succeed in reaching Europe then Western civilisation will be transformed in ways that we will find unacceptable.
The plight of refugees is not our fault or responsibility. I would remind politicians that their duty, is not to those from foreign countries who wish to come here, but to the people of Britain.
Britain is already the most densely populated country in Europe. The first duty of government is to protect its people from an invasion and make no mistake that this what this refugee crisis will be. Recall our armed forces and protect the UK borders.