Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The art of Compromise

In tomorrow's Whitehaven news, of which the early editions was out this evening, I have written an article about how compromise and cross-party working should not be seen as a bad thing.

It is therefore something of an irony that today the government has agreed to compromise on a issue where I have previously written on this blog that I strongly support their previous position - unaccompanied child refugees.

However, it is quite possible to look at what David Cameron announced today and see it as illustrating the point I made in my Whitehaven News article.

Prior to today's announcement the government had not been suggesting that Britain would offer refuge to no child refugees. Last month the government said it would accept up to 3,000 more refugees, mostly vulnerable children, from the Middle East and North Africa by 2020. But they were  were proposing to take them only from the refugee camps in the middle east based on the United Nations at risk register.

The reason for this is to avoid giving desperate families the impression that it is a good idea to entrust the lives of one or more of their children to the people-smugglers. Those who take the risk of trying to cross the seas in the dangerous craft operated by these criminals are being drowned at the rate of about ten per day.

What the government is now saying is that they will consider taking unaccompanied child refugees registered in Italy, Greece, or France before 20th March, that being the date of the EU agreement on refugees with Turkey.

The government said the retrospective nature of the scheme would avoid creating a "perverse incentive" for families to entrust their children to people traffickers.

It would mean the UK can focus on the "most vulnerable children already in Europe without encouraging more to make the journey", Downing Street said.

In David Cameron's words

"I am also talking to Save the Children to see what we can do more, particularly about children who came here before the EU-Turkey deal was signed.

"What I don't want us to do is to take steps that will encourage people to make this dangerous journey because otherwise our actions, however well-meaning they will be, could result in more people dying than more people getting a good life."

Let's hope this compromise can succeed in helping more of those in need without encouraging others to put more children at risk.

No comments: