On Channel 4, September 1, Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper suggested that if every town took in 10 refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Libya they could sustainably and morally deal with the ‘migration crisis’.
The successful application of this tactic, claims Cooper, would mean Britain could take in 10,000 refugees each month. Britain would therefore bear a greater responsibility for the refugees coming to Europe over the past year, especially to Germany, Sweden and Italy.
Cooper further pronounced that the tensions brought about by Ukip, the right wing press and the British government has left voters in the need of “moral leadership”, calling for a look to Britain’s positive past regarding large scale migration.
Britain’s current policy of only accepting a couple hundred Syrian refugees has been widely condemned by Europe’s leaders, with the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, calling for European solidarity on the issue. With Merkel insisting that if Europe fails to deal with immigration then it will destroy its “close connection with universal civil rights…”
This sentiment is echoed in Cooper’s speech, as she infers that increasing Britain’s refugee intake would be a direct way of addressing the “humanitarian crisis”, adding that the refusal of those in need is simply “not the British way.”
David Cameron, in response to Cooper’s suggestion, argued that the resolution to the crisis was instead the stablising of the home countries governments - not the changing of Britain’s migration policy - contending the solution did not lie in “taking more and more refugees.” Cameron’s inference that worldwide stability is the solution, whilst entirely valid, is perhaps purely idealistic rather than a pragmatic response to an urgent situation.
Other criticisms include concerns that the introduction of more refugees into towns and boroughs would put strain on local authorities and public services, which are already financially weak due to government cuts.
Whether or not Cooper’s proposal would work when implemented is yet to be seen, but in a time of fear-mongering and negative press regarding the UK migration debate, it is a relief to finally hear an idea that will actively address the ‘migrant crisis’.