I’m getting tired of the self-righteousness of Owen Jones. His response to the terrible spate of deaths of people fleeing Syria and Africa is to imply that if only everyone were as moral as him, the problem would be solved.
He seems to think that the key cause of these people’s deaths is that many people in Britain call them by the wrong word. To call them ‘migrants’, he says, shows a total disregard for their humanity. ‘Those of us who want more sympathetic treatment of people fleeing desperate situations have failed to win over public opinion, and the cost of that is death.’
The implication is that if his right-on attitude was shared by all of us, the deaths would be avoided. This strikes me as completely nuts. The deaths simply do not occur because Britain is not welcoming enough. If we all decided that all these people were definitely refugees and not migrants, and that we wanted to welcome all of them here as soon as possible, would their rickety boats thereby be made safe?
What I dislike is the pretence that all this suffering could be solved if only the moral purity that exists in Owen’s heart was shared by the rest of us. There’s something shabby about using this incredibly complex disaster to pose and preen as more moral than everyone else.