The view peddled by the UK tabloid press is typified by the Murdoch Sun: typical are headlines like “As PM flies to meet EU leaders, you tell him … DRAW A RED LINE ON IMMIGRATION OR ELSE!” Refugees are made to sound less than human: “Illegals swarm into Britain on empty Channel freight wagons … TRAIN SQUATTING”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. We also hear that the UK is “full up”.
This is reinforced by pundits at the Sun and elsewhere, including Katie Hopkins, Kelvin McFilth, Richard Littlejohn, and all the rest. Those fleeing wars and upheaval are not welcome here, we are told, and it is stressed time and again that this is our view. No UK tabloid has yet succeeded in disproving this, and it is to our shame that the one puncturing this particularly over-inflated balloon is published in Germany.
There, Bild - effectively the equivalent of the Sun - has taken a diametrically opposite view. After all the Mediterranean drowning tragedies, and last week’s discovery of 71 decomposing bodies packed inside a lorry abandoned just inside Austria’s border with Hungary, the editorial line has been that refugees should be welcomed, and helped. The paper has proclaimed “WIR HELFEN” (We’re Helping).
Politicians and business people have been signed up, and are keen to do so: they know that, with falling birth rates, Germany needs inward migration to keep the motor of its economy moving. Moreover, refugees that make it out of the Middle East to Europe are invariably skilled, good on languages, and more than willing to get out of bed at least five days a week, ready to work hard and better themselves.
That makes the Bild campaign an effective no-brainer - but it needs someone to lead, to set the direction, to nudge the politicians, to get the public on-side. As a result, the phrase “Refugees Welcome” has been adopted across Germany, even being displayed on banners at football matches. That would be unimaginable in this country - and it comes down, it has to be emphasised, to the vicious negativity of the press.
We are constantly being fed the mean-spirited line “Immigration has benefited the UK, BUT”. Bollocks to the Sun’s BUT. There are no ifs, no buts, we have benefited massively from successive waves of migration over the centuries. We can benefit equally from the refugee crisis in the Middle East. And Bild has showed us the way to do that.