Sunday, 6 September 2015

Of Migrants And Emigrants

English: US President Barack Obama and British...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's interesting to see the pictures on our screens showing the masses swarming Europe's borders. The proportion of women and children is tiny - the vast majority of  migrants would appear to be able bodied men.

I'm probably not allowed to say that, this week.

It's amazing how fickle we've become. Public opinion is now capable of turn and change at remarkable speeds as we all get caught up in it all; the mood of the mob has never been so unpredictable nor so quick to whip up. And the mob has never been so large.

A week ago Katie Hopkins, the somewhat egregious voice of Right Wing Reason, wasn't so out of step. The Sun has even been deleting Tweets promoting the infamous Katie column urging 'gunships to stop migrants' as it tries to get with the new mood of its readership. This is entirely different to last week's Mood Of The Readership, which would likely have cheered our Katie on to new heights of silliness.

This week, you're on a fast track to grovelling apologies if you so much as suggest that migrants aren't lovely and your home is open to as many as it can hold.

The haunting image of a Syrian 3-year-old lying face down on a beach has a lot to do with it, helping to do what 'father of PR' Edward Bernays called 'crystallising public opinion'. Governments found themselves neatly caught out, too. Our very own David Cameron was still fighting them on the beaches, missing the sudden and drastic public mood swing until (apparently) his wife tugged his sleeve and said 'Dave, I think you'd better take a look at this...'

I'd like to think this was all human compassion at its best, but I suspect it's just a mob. Mobs form online fast, and they dissipate just as quickly - and unpredictably. They're like clear air turbulence: even the best weather radar can easily miss them. Sometimes they fizzle out, sometimes they catch on and woe betide anyone who's not following the tide of public opinion with split second precision. The media these days aren't driving the mood, they're just amplifying it because they're getting on the bandwagon.

Mobs don't think very much, they just express themselves, whipping each other up in a frenzy of encouragement until it all gets out of hand and the monster's house is afire. Then they sort of look around a bit, a little dazed, before shuffling off home for tea.

We, the British, were dragged into war in Iraq by our leadership - rather against the desire of the majority of the people one suspects - a US-led war, and bloody aftermath, that destroyed the physical and moral infrastructure of Iraq so completely that it created a vacuum for the lunacy that is Islamic State to fill. We bombarded Libya in the name of regime change and swiftly spent not one penny on supporting the foundation of a new state in place of the one we helped destroy so expensively. I'm guessing the Syrian uprising had more than a little covert support from Langley and Millbank from the get-go. And let us not forget Afghanistan...

The UK is now to 'fulfil its moral responsibility', even if the US has been keeping its head down and Not Getting Involved. You wonder how much simpler it would have been if we hadn't been so glib about supporting the high-handed destruction of these countries' systems of governance and civil infrastructure with no plan - or appetite - for getting involved in the aftermath.

Now the 'War on Terror' is coming home...

1 comment:

Dave Edwards said...

You talk sound sense. I predicted at the time that we (the West) would come to rue the so called Arab Spring that everyone was so enthusiastic about. And so it goes.

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