The ugly face of the British electorate: From #WhyImVotingUkip to #RefugeesWelcome

Image Credit - Renegade Inc. via Twitter

Apparently a couple of hashtags is all it takes to persuade Britain that immigrants are okay. Right now it’s all #AylanKurdi and #RefugeesWelcome now, but it was #WhyImVotingUkip not too long ago.

Ever since the heart wrenching pictures of Aylan Kurdi – the three-year-old who died trying to travel to Europe – appeared on the front pages of national newspapers, Britain suddenly welcomes people. Furthermore, we talk of having a “moral obligation” to help refugees – one many British people apparently forgot when they voted for closing our borders in the general election.

This kind of hypocrisy infuriates me. There’s a fairly simple rule everyone could try to live by: “Don’t be a garbage human being.”

I’m not infuriated by people supporting refugees, I’m infuriated by how fickle they are. It’s a genuinely worrying issue because it makes them just as likely to turn on the refugees they’re happy to support for now.

What happens if, say, the terror threat level rises? Or if there’s an attack somewhere? Or, god forbid, these refugees come over here and take all our jobs, women and benefits?

Sadly, I don’t think I’m being cynical to point these things out. Many people are but one news story away from hating foreigners again. If and when that day comes, it’ll be all #SendThemBack.

Overnight, everyone seemingly agrees with prime minister David Cameron that the immigration crisis is a moral issue. But that’s clearly not the case – if it was, more people would have supported helping asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in the first place. Morals, last time I checked, were fairly deep seated and not prone to dramatic shifts.

But the Tories are not the only ones to have come out of this looking hypocritical; I’m not particularly enamoured of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon either.

To her credit, she has applied consistent pressure to Cameron over the immigration crisis. However, she announced this week that Scotland could immediately take 1,000 refugees, which invites the obvious question: Why make that announcement this week instead of four weeks ago? The answer, of course, is political opportunism.

It’s a horrible thing to say, and I’m still relieved that the events of this week have opened people’s hearts. What I fear is that the same events haven’t opened people’s minds. Forget Twitter – we should have meaningful discourse about the entire situation now, before beguiling fears and putrid hates reinfect the electorate.

Image Credit – Renegade Inc. via Twitter

J. C. Servante

J. C. Servante

Freelance writer, reviewer and blogger. Politically speculative. Can be found at donkeyokay.com

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