Harlow radical questions cause of refugee crisis

Politics / Mon 14th Sep 2015 at 10:00am

By Ken Perry

THE European refugee crisis has come to a head in recent days with David Cameron stating that the UK will fulfil its “moral responsibilities.”

MP for Harlow Robert Halfon has been quoted as claiming that the crisis has been caused “because of terrorism, poor country economies and evil regimes in the “Middle East and Africa.”

This analysis on the causation of the current refugee crisis has been contested by Harlow TUC representative David Forman.

When questioned on the reasons Europe’s refugee crisis, Mr Forman identified failures in western foreign policy, particularly the arming of Islamic insurgents to fight against the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Mr Forman stated that this has been critical in “allowing radicalism to spread across” various regions.

Mr Forman criticised Robert Halfon’s argument that democracy can be dropped from a B-52 bomber, noting that western intervention in Libya has “resulted in Al-Qaeda controlling Tripoli and ISIS controlling Benghazi. There’s factional infighting right across Libya and that has created a stream of refugees.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne believes that there is a “strong case” towards the possibility of expanding British air-strikes in Iraq and Syria. The rejection of UK military action in Syria by Parliament in August 2013 was described by the Chancellor as “one of the worst decisions the House of Commons has ever made”.

With the real possibility of Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour leadership contest on Saturday, Mr Corbyn’s stance of anti-intervention may play a crucial role on whether the UK will engage in military strikes against targets in Syria.

Mr Forman was questioned on whether a political solution is a viable option in removing ISIS and Bashar al-Assad, especially with a recent increase in Russian military support to the Assad government. Mr Forman responded that western policy towards Syria is more concerned with removing “non-western influence from the Middle East.” Emphasising how western governments have refused to accept help from nations such as Iran and Kurdish groups such as the PKK who have offered to assist “in northern Iraq to fight against ISIS, which the west has blankly refused.”

The Mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, has criticised musings by the Government that it will only accept refugees from outside of Europe so as not to encourage refugees making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. Mr Forman believes that such an argument is “false in itself” because if “4000 people drowning in the Mediterranean isn’t a deterrent then what is?”

Councillor Jon Clempner has acknowledged that there is an acute shortage of housing in Harlow at the moment. Poverty is also an issue in the town, with Harlow Foodbank having to donate food to an average of 311 people per month. Eighty per cent of these referrals are due to issues with benefits, unemployment or financial issues. When asked whether Harlow has the means to accommodate an influx of refugees Mr Forman noted that “Britain could find billions to fight wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.”

He also attacked the billions found for bank bailouts during the financial crisis. Mr Forman claimed that “when it comes to providing for the needs of ordinary people, there’s always this problem of cost. When it comes to protecting the interests of the establishment, no amount of money is an issue.” He also blamed the current housing crisis on the selling of council housing and the UK’s speculative housing market.

Mr Forman made a final point with regard to the current plight of refugees in Calais. Encouraged by the generosity of people from various affiliations and faiths within the UK and across the rest of the world “who look after people less fortunate than ourselves.” This has been made apparent by the public’s excellent response towards the Jeans4Calais initiative, which will go ahead on 17 October.

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2 Comments for Harlow radical questions cause of refugee crisis:

2015-09-16 13:03:35

We have 3 children living at home all born in Harlow and working in the town who have been on the council housing list for between 20 and 10 years and they are letting more migrants in for that is what they are so how long before they suspend the housing list? This once great country of ours is rapidly going down the pan and if i was younger would leave asap.

2015-10-01 10:23:10

Unfortunately this administration has made it clear they value the housing needs of economic migrants above those people who have lived and contributed for years. This can hardly be surprising after the Labour parties support for those who chose to set up illegal encampments.

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