The humanitarian crisis of desperate migrants in Calais, mass drownings in the Mediterranean off Greece and Italy, and barbaric razor-wire fence-building in Hungary, all demand a serious, compassionate and realistic response from the left.
Solidarity's response (19 Aug), "The British government should help the migrants come to the UK" is admirable in principle. But, realistically, Cameron and the Tories are not going to adopt an “open door” policy towards migrants. Indeed, it's highly unlikely that any UK government (even one led by Jeremy Corbyn) would adopt such a policy.
It is obvious that the only realistic possibility of resolving the present migration crisis in a fair, humane and rational manner will involve increased EU co-operation and integration.
Migrants should be allocated between EU member states on the basis of a country’s wealth, size and number of migrants of the same heritage already settled in a given state. This approach would inevitably mean countries (like Britain) that have previously experienced relatively low levels of immigration having to accept more. As has been shown by both the deal forced on the Greeks and the unsuccessful attempt to agree a similar agreement earlier this year, such solidarity is not always forthcoming: more EU integration is the only possible way forward.
The reason the British government opposes any such arrangement is that it would mean taking in more asylum seekers. The Tories put cutting immigration figures and being seen to oppose European integration ahead of seeking a rational and humane solution. But the left should demand that they co-operate with the rest of Europe in reaching such an arrangement.