Rod Liddle says send migrants back to Syria in the Sun’s shameful Calais coverage

Some papers sympathise with the victims, while others swim in the sewer of nativism


As politicians compete to find the most callous and militarised response to the Calais ‘migrant crisis’, a division has opened up among the Tory commentariat.

Finally, after some excellent reporting by several papers, columns sympathising with the victims of war abroad – rather than put out British tourists – have been published in the Tory press.

The Times has a thoughtful and stirring piece by David Aaronovitch looking at the real causes of the crisis, (dictatorship and war), which handily shames much of the press coverage of recent migration. Read it all here (£).

The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett (no relation) mocks emphasis on the supposed plight of British tourists stuck on motorways over ‘hundreds of displaced people from all over the world [who] live in some of the most wretched conditions’. She concludes:

“An island nation we might be, but that doesn’t have to mean our mentality must follow suit.”

The Daily Express and the Daily Mailby contrast, chose to blame ‘the French’ for being too lax, and demand that soldiers in Europe be used to pacify refugees who have fled soldiers in the Middle East and Africa.

30 7 15 send in the army

The worst of the bunch is probably the Sun. 

Along with blaming ‘Frenchies’ (which century is this?), and running a two-page story headlined ‘Farce-holes’ against a picture of migrants tearing through fences, the paper’s main comment piece belongs in the archives, alongside Katie ‘let them drown’ Hopkins’s infamous ‘cockroaches’ screed.

Veteran noise-maker Rod Liddle, who was a troll before there were trolls, has decided to restate and extend the ‘what a rubbish holiday’ model, in a piece headlined:

‘Go on holiday to France? You’d be better off in Syria’. 

Liddle doesn’t even attempt to justify this proposal, I suspect because he has little interest in what’s happening in Syria. Instead we are treated to sentences like this, describing the sort of holiday you can expect in France:

“…when you reach your home and empty out the car, you find Mohammed, Tariq and Abdullah from Somalia hiding in the kids’ lunchboxes.”

As against Aaronovitch’s solid internationalism, Liddle’s analysis is proudly nativist:

“It’s not a British problem. It’s not an EU problem. It’s a French problem.
They need to sort out Calais, and quick.

Deport the immigrants. Send them back to the countries they came from. Stop whining about not having enough help.”

What if they face torture, death or persecution in ‘the countries they came from’? The thought seems never to cross Liddle’s mind. Or perhaps it does, and he simply thinks, ‘Not my problem’.

When he half-jokingly says ‘you’d be better off in Syria’, what he effectively means is, ‘they would be better off in Syria’. Which is quite a presumptuous line to take for a Little Englander with scant interest in Syria, Somalia, or anywhere else he’s unlikely to go on holiday.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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47 Responses to “Rod Liddle says send migrants back to Syria in the Sun’s shameful Calais coverage”

  1. MacGuffin

    Analysis of the origins of the refugees shows that the overwhelming majority are from the horn of Africa, not Syria or Libya. When you look at the footage of the migrants, and see that they are almost all black, does that not make you realise that maybe, just maybe, they are not from Syria? Are you 100% thick?

  2. Cole

    In case you hadn’t noticed, there are nasty things going on in the Horn of Africa too. Would you care to live in Somalia or Eritrea?

  3. MacGuffin

    So every time there is some unpleasantness in the world, everyone in the area must be allowed entry into the UK? Ridiculous!

  4. Cole

    Of course not. But you’re simply wrong to claim these are mostly economic migrants. And only selfish right wingers think we should just shrug and not give a damn about anyone else in the world.

    Of course it’s ironic that this is all being stirred up by the Sun and Express. Murdoch is an economic migrant to the US while Desmond’s family came from the Ukraine.

  5. MacGuffin

    No, I’m not wrong about them being economic migrants. A simple analysis of their countries of origin shows that they are not coming from war zones. If they’re not economic migrants, why are they not making their applications for asylum in southern Europe? Hint: because the economies in southern Europe are tanking, and the benefit system in the UK is more generous to people who haven’t contributed to the system.

    Keep’em out, until there is an economic need for inward migration. Another hint: no such need is likely to exist for a very long while, if ever.

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