Prime Minister David Cameron has ignored calls from across the continent for the UK to do its part and help house a greater proportion of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have made their way into Europe in recent months.
Both Greece and Italy have called for help in providing support to the refugees that continue to arrive on their shore, but while Germany has offered Syrian refugees the opportunity to claim asylum within its border, Britain has effectively raised the drawbridge in an attempt to keep everyone out.
Anna Musgrave, an advocacy manager at the UK’s Refugee Council, a non-governmental organization, recently told Quartz:
“So far our government has been trying its best to prevent refugees from reaching our shores; pulling up the drawbridge and forcing people to place their lives in smugglers’ hands. That’s simply not good enough. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with other European countries and commit to offering refuge to as many people as possible.”
Cameron is hiding behind an bureaucratic trap known as the Dublin protocol, where it states that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they enter, which in Europe is generally Italy, Greece, or Malta.
After positioning himself as ‘tough on immigration’ to see off the threat from UKIP in the last election, whilst overseeing an overall rise in the number of economic migrants entering the UK over the last parliament, Cameron now cowers behind out-dated bureaucratic protocols to avoid the possibility of helping refugees in their hour of need.
A divided Labour Party and a devastated Liberal Democrats means that there is no real opposition to force the Tories to rethink their policies, and Cameron has neither the skill nor vision to lead in the face of a real humanitarian crisis.
Britain was instrumental in crafting many of laws surrounding how nations around the world treat refugees following the devastation at the end of the Second World War, but Cameron now turns his back on Britain’s liberal traditions merely to pander to the most ruthless and insular on the right of his own party.