Wednesday, 9 March 2016


So Europe thinks it's cutting a deal with the Turkish Government led by President Erdogan. I'm a fan of the European Union, but we need more solidarity with one another not less. Britain is not part of the deal and the Danes have an opt out too. Hungary, Slovakia and Poland are also hostile to the deal, Germany, The Netherlands and others are in, but the feelings of the people in Germany remain to be seen. Sweden too has been open to asylum seekers and desperate immigrants, but maybe things will change there, it's hard to say. Europe seems to be slamming its doors. Or trying to by proxy.

An American General accused Putin of exacerbating the migrant crisis in Syria in order to destabilise Europe, he may well be right. For Russia, who's President is all about power, it's a win, win, support their ally Assad AND cause problems for Europe. So where are we really?

The deal says we take Syrian refugees, deemed as genuine refugees and Turkey takes the others back. What a pantomime; so a boat is intercepted in the Aegean with say ten Syrians on board and ten from elsewhere, it goes back to Turkey and ten other Syrians, already in refugee camps are flown to Europe for resettlement. Does anyone really think this is going to work?

Then the UN throw their lot into the mix talking about legalities. Well, actually legalities and human rights do matter, even if the UN is a compromised and fundamentally flawed organisation. Has anyone noticed that four of the five permanent members of the laughably entitled Security Council are at war in Syria and lets face it, not all on the same side or pursuing the same ends!

The UN does some good in sending humanitarian aid, sometimes, but as a tool to end war it is utterly useless. Have people already forgotten Bosnia? In Bosnia UN peacekeepers kept their weapons holstered while genocide was committed and a UN Colonel even shook hands with the perpetrator. It's true that the powers away from the front line made the position of the troops on the ground untenable, but still it was appalling. Utterly appalling.

In Syria today the USA, Russia, France and to our shame the UK are throwing ordnance around and only Russia has a strategy and the other three don't buy into that one, so what happened to jaw, jaw? The UN and the Security Council is a sad, sad, sorry organisation.

So, the UN is part of the problem, not part of the solution and the European Union, unable to agree and speak, or act as one, is turning to Erdogan. This is a man who uses force to suppress demonstrations, people who don't want a shopping centre built on the last green space in Istanbul, people who want their most popular newspaper to remain free.

In return for his 'help' he wants six billion Euros and EU membership back on the table and visa free travel for Turks, actually weakening the border, or am I the only one who sees that? And he can't be trusted. And he doesn't share our values. Actually he should be tossed out of NATO, for those very reasons.

In the UK Cameron has negotiated the UK out of ever closer union, and most of the British public cheer that. Actually if Europe is ever to speak with one voice and act as one what we need is closer union, but politicians, following what's expedient for themselves won't see that. Wilfully won't see that just as clown Boris has jumped on Brexit in the hope it will suit his career.

Countries like India, China, Russia, the USA have huge populations and of recent times it has made them players on the world stage. Populations in India and China are becoming better educated and more productive, making them more powerful still. As in fact we saw historically in the USA. The USA incidentally once welcomed all and it made them strong. Then they started to clam up, they became more isolationist. What we're seeing in Europe is like the same thing speeded up by a factor of a hundred.

Funny thing is that once we looked down on isolationist ideas. I know immigration causes problems, teaching a class that has a dozen different languages doesn't work. Having more people than there are jobs or housing doesn't work. Nonetheless we should be better at solving problems than doing a deal with Erdogan.

If we can assimilate these people and help them to become productive, contributing members of our society it makes us stronger. There are job vacancies online, all the time and here in Yorkshire it's a shameful fact that for every homeless person there are ten empty homes! Really.

Anecdotes are not statistically valid BUT on TV the other night an interview with a fifteen year old girl fleeing Aleppo where she had been at school. Her English was perfect, damned if I can speak Arabic. She played the violin, as I did at school, her dream to play professionally. Of course they're not all like her, but I'd wager many are, and those who didn't go to school still could.

What we really need is closer integration in Europe and policies which make all of Europe stronger. Stop the bickering and turn a problem into an opportunity, don't do deals with oppressors and don't have them as military allies. Scrap the UN and start over with an organisation that actually works for peace. First though Europe need to be whole. Britain should stay in for our benefit, Europe's benefit, the world's benefit and we should stop throwing our toys out of the pram. There's not too much wrong with British values on the whole, we should help not hinder.

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