The article by Joan Smith about David Cameron’s attitude to the refugee crisis is oversimplistic (“Cameron’s idea of ‘British’ values is looking pretty hollow”, 6 September). Mr Cameron cannot jump and respond to headlines and heart-wrenching pictures of dead children – if he did we would have a rollercoaster government, jumping from one issue to another.
I do, however, believe that this country does have a responsibility: the invasion of Iraq has triggered this appalling sequence of events. I also believe that this country, which bears no resemblance to the one I was born into, is still an amazing place, enjoying democracy, freedom and natural beauty. Our lives have been enriched by our accepting millions of immigrants. The first generation struggles with split loyalties but the second generation blossoms and invigorates our British culture.
Unfortunately, a large part British culture is Nimbyism. It is not going to be acceptable for Mr Cameron to suddenly accept 80,000 to 100,000 people; he has to consider where and how they would be accommodated. Many of those now saying we must do something do it with the subtext “provided they are not going to be my next-door neighbours”.
“Let us not fall into the trap of thinking that he is a heartless man who needs his wife to tell him about humanity,” writes Jane Merrick of David Cameron (6 September) .
Neither, despite all the Ace in the Hole media attention, do most of us find our humanity and outrage only after seeing that pitiful image of the child on the beach. Most of us knew how appalling genuine asylum need is, and didn’t need media exploitation to tell us what to feel and think.
Jane Merrick is right. It is sexist to assume David Cameron’s capacity for empathy lies only with his wife. It is this assumption – that men have no empathetic abilities – which drives the idea that women belong in the house with their children, or in “feeling” jobs such as teaching and nursing. And, likewise, that men cannot assume these positions.
I have just returned from a Eurostar trip to Marseilles. On leaving and returning to the UK I had to present my passport in quick succession to both the UK and French border controls. Perhaps the authorities could bash their heads together, have a single passport control, and use the money saved to help the refugees.
I am a staunch republican and do not believe we need to worry about “being spared” a President Thatcher or Blair (“Top of the charts: Monarchy in the UK”, 6 September). We need look no further than our neighbours across the water. The Irish established an elected president as head of state in 1949. They have elected such distinguished presidents as Erskine Childers, Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese. The present incumbent, Michael D Higgins, was elected in 2011 with the largest vote ever – more than 1 million. He is a fluent Irish and English speaker, a poet and broadcaster. In 1992, he was awarded the first Sean MacBride prize for his work for peace and justice, from the International Peace Bureau.
So, “James Bond is Jeremy Clarkson in a sharp suit” (6 September)? 007 has indeed been a sexist misogynist dinosaur at times but he’s never been a moron. Bond moves with the times and his character changes with each actor. Sean Connery was most suave, George Lazenby made him sincere, Roger Moore is known for his humour, Timothy Dalton’s portrayal was darkest, Pierce Brosnan added more charm and Daniel Craig’s spy is a tough guy. It’ll be interesting to see who takes on the role next. Anyone who doesn’t want more Bond films doesn’t have to watch them. No need to be a spoilsport.
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