The Mail's call for action against migrant boats from Libya is arguably worse than Katie Hopkins's
Most of the papers this morning have reports from aboard HMS Bulwark, the Royal Navy vessel whose crew has rescued 1,200 people attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.
The invitation to reporters was likely part of a public relations drive to show the good work Britain is doing to help those fleeing war and persecution in north Africa and the middle east.
The Daily Mail was suitably impressed by the boys and girls in blue, but had some concerns. Its leader column today said:
“Isn’t the grave danger, however, that by providing would-be illegal immigrants safe passage to Europe, the government risks encouraging even more people to make this perilous journey – with potentially catastrophic consequences?”
Surely the ‘grave danger’ for the people directly affected is in Syria, from where many of them have escaped, and where they risk being blown apart, raped, tortured or beheaded on camera. Others are fleeing war and persecution in Eritrea, Somalia and Afghanistan.
If people are willing to risk death by drowning to get away from this, they don’t require any ‘pull factor’ from the Royal Navy.
The column chuggs along:
“The only sustainable way to tackle this crisis – Defence Secretary Michael Fallon estimates 500,000 migrants may be preparing to make the trip – is to stop the boats leaving Libya in the first place, by any means necessary.”
‘By any means necessary’ – that is how the column ends.
It’s quite novel to read the Daily Mail echoing the famous words of Malcolm X, though I doubt either party would welcome the association. But one is left to wonder where this militant position takes us.
What policy does the Mail actually favour? A naval blockade of the northern coast of Africa? Should the Royal Navy open fire on boats they suspect of carrying migrants? Or perhaps use explosives, of the kind and from which the boats’ terrified passengers have likely fled?
The Daily Mail ought to clarify what ‘stop the boats leaving Libya in the first place, by any means necessary’, actually means.
Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter
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