I was only saying the other day that I am more emotional since becoming a parent; things that didn’t bother me before can have me weeping in minutes. But one thing I do know that whether a parent or not I would still be deeply ashamed of our government last night.
The Dabs amendment to the Immigration Bill would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian children currently stranded in Europe to seek refuge in this country. Lord Dabs, who came to the UK as part of the Kindertransport programme in the 1930s, has been part of a campaign to take children from the camps near Calais and elsewhere in Europe who are at risk of exploitation, sexual violence and disease.
For once I agree with Tim Farron, who described suggestions from James Brokenshire, a Home Office minister, that taking these children would lead to more children being sent unaccompanied and then subject to trafficking, as bogus. In fact bogus is a much milder word than I would have used.
How desperate must your situation be for a parent to think the best chance their child has is to be sent to cross Europe ON THEIR OWN! I cannot imagine having to make that choice. It distresses me to imagine it; we may get on each others nerves, but it would be a case of over my dead body before I sent my daughter to face a journey on her own such as these children have experienced.
The amendment was defeated 294-276 which allowing for the 2 tellers meant 78 MPs abstained; a list of how MPs voted can be found here. I do note that some Tory MPs did vote for the amendment – Mundell however wasn’t one of them, he abstained. On a plus note it was good to see the opposition parties working together.
Those MPs who voted with the government are usually the ones who declaim how wonderful British Values are and what a moral force this country is in the world; they make me sick. If this is compassionate conservatism I’d hate to see them sticking the boot in.
I do accept that we will be taking children – the government announced it would take 3,000 last week but only from near conflict zones, and surely this is a repeat of the announcement a few months ago? I am not saying the children living near the conflict are less worthy but being closer to home are they not more likely to have family support? Being cynical, maybe that’s the point, we’ll not take them because they have families.
I am aware that we are not the only country in Europe, that others can take refugees, but it is our government’s continual interference (and weapon sales) that fuels these crises. 3,000 children work out at 8 per local authority, it’s not an huge number.
And what of these children that are in Europe already? What will happen to them? An estimated 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees claimed asylum in Europe last year, with 10,000 believed missing, taken by criminal gangs according to Europol.
Today we have William Hague saying the Middle East needs more intervention, haven’t these people suffered enough? This empire-like militaristic posturing was bad enough when we had an empire but thankfully that is long gone and it’s about time our politicians realised that.
It continually disappoints me that our governments can always find money to fund wars but not something important like a Health Service.