The commentators 30-07-15
By the end of this year Turkey will be accommodating 1.9 million Syrian refugees. That’s 1.9 million. Lebanon, with only four million inhabitants, currently has nearly 1.5 million. Even at its current peak Calais is home to only 5,000. It is not surprising that this situation is causing resentment in the host countries. What is surprising is that it’s not causing much more. Actually, with proper arrangements, we could take every single person in the Calais Jungle and hardly notice it. We could turn those rangy, scary young men into electrical engineers
- David Aaronovitch, The Times
The “Calais problem” cannot be solved in Calais because it is not a Calais problem. It is a small part of a European, or world, problem which has no obvious solution either. More should be done to prevent these young men from leaving their homes in the first place. And Britain should offer – as it did in 2002 – to take in some of the most deserving and qualified. Neither is likely to happen. Neither would solve the problem for long if it did happen. That is what makes Calais such a never-ending tragedy. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong
- John Lichfield, The Independent
Among all the discussion of “secure fencing” and “delayed journeys”, our human compassion has deserted us. We have it in spades when we are reminded of suffering that doesn’t interfere with our holidays or freight:remember the collective horror earlier this year when desperate migrants had to be saved by gunboats in the Mediterranean? Where is it now?
- Emma Barnett, Daily Telegraph
Theresa May and David Cameron ought to tell their French counterparts to get a grip. Instead, both seem content merely to parrot the usual cliches about working closely with our French friends, doing all we can, and so on ad nauseam. To put it bluntly, though, this is just not good enough. Mr Cameron’s predecessors managed to keep out Napoleon and Hitler, both of whom had gigantic armies and an entire continent behind them. So he really should be able to cope with a few thousand exhausted migrants — shouldn’t he?
- Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
The UK government may be left with no option but to close the border with Calais, until immediate action is taken. The safety of British holiday makers and truckers should be the government’s primary priority. We must isolate it and then deal with the issue in hand
- Stephen Woolfe, Daily Telegraph
The only reason this case from Shoeburyness reached the public consciousness was because someone mentioned age. That turns out to have been a side issue, and we shall probably never know the full story. That may be right and proper, a family's private traumas should not be aired for public entertainment.
But if women are being coerced into signing away the right to look after their children when they are not mentally fit, in order that councils can meet adoption targets - as the grandparents' lawyer and MPs suggest - then we need to know.
The journalists covering this story have fallen for the clickbait angle and missed the real issue.
Editor's blog: Grandparents' tale of woe
Comment Awards 2015
Anyone can nominate their favourite writer
Friday 12 June, 2015 Are the comment pages and columnists too Londoncentric? And if they are, what is the solution when the financial and political powerhouses are based in the capital?
Does the character or personality of the writer matter? Should we read columnists with whom we violently disagree or is it, as Eleanor Mills suggested, good for the soul but bad for the blood pressure?
Why did the so-called political experts get it so wrong in calling the general election? And will they - and Rupert Murdoch - influence the result of the EU referendum?
All these points and more were addressed under the guidance of Dr Anthony Seldon at the launch of the 2015 Comment Awards last night. Seldon will chair the judging panel for the awards, now in their seventh year.
Nominations are now open and anyone can put forward anyone writing in the UK media - broadcasting, print or online - by submitting the URLS of three articles published between August 1, 2014 and July 31 this year, which is the closing date for entries.
The 17 awards include four new categories: Comment piece of the year for a single piece of excellent writing; Young commentariat; Society and diversity commentator; and Technology and digital commentator.
There is no charge for entries. Details and the nomination forms can be found here.
Oh yes, and who was the most frequently mentioned columnist at last night's event? Matthew Parris? Andrew Rawnsley? Stephen Glover? No. By a country mile, the most discussed writer was Katie Hopkins.
Comment archive, 2015
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