Ed Miliband holds Dave personally responsible for the migrant crisis – along with every other disaster known to man, from the 1346-53 Black Death onwards.
The case for Dave’s complicity in the spread of the deadly medieval contagion is a bit short on evidence, but his guilt in the Mediterranean disaster is indeed easier to establish.
After all, like Cuban and Vietnamese refugees of yesteryear, those Africans embark on their perilous voyages not out of urgent desire for a sea holiday. They do so because they are so desperate in their native lands that they are prepared to risk their lives to get out.
Those who come from Libya, as many do, are desperate because their own country is as close to hell on earth as it’s possible to get without visiting Donetsk. And Libya was pushed in this diabolical direction by the Anglo-American intervention undertaken in the name of democracy.
Now Dave was a key player in that idiotic and criminal venture, and only a last-ditch vote in the Commons prevented him from committing British troops to the noble cause championed by ISIS.
However, a Labour leader slinging that particular mud brings to mind the words ‘teapot’ and ‘kettle’. For it was under Tony Blair’s wise guidance that Britain hung on to the Americans’ coattails on the way to the most ill-considered aggressive foray of recent history (again, this side of Donetsk).
Dave, our self-described ‘heir to Blair’, simply continued the policy established by his role model, and this is a rare example of Dave’s consistency.
Then again, though many migrants are fleeing from Libya, not all of them are. Some hail from other African countries, such as Ethiopia. Dave can’t plausibly be blamed for their plight, although, with still a few days left before the election, Ed may yet find a way.
Meanwhile, Dave, Angie, François and other protagonists in the horror show of European politics are making statesmanlike-sounding speeches about ways of handling what they rightly describe as the tragedy unfolding in the Mediterranean.
By and large they all agree that those refugees shouldn’t be welcomed with open arms. At the same time they display their usual wishy-washy thinking by flatly rejecting the unsentimental Australian solution to the same problem: turning the boats back and preventing them from unloading their human cargo.
As is usually the case, the unsentimental solution works: refugees don’t sail for Australian shores because they know there’s no point. So they either seek easier pickings elsewhere or take their chances at home.
The Australian solution also strikes a blow for the rule of law. While those poor people are at sea, they are refugees from awful regimes or the blood-soaked chaos resulting from the collapse of any discernible authority. When they land, however, they become illegal aliens – law-breakers, in other words.
Turning them back is thus perfectly legitimate – and, in the long run, humane. After all, the refugees aren’t going to drown if they don’t set off on a journey in the first place.
Aussie cold-bloodedness, however, is off limits for the touchy-feely Europeans. They can’t afford to come across as insufficiently caring in the eyes of their thoroughly corrupted electorate.
Hence Dave put a stern prime-ministerial expression on his face and declared that the Royal Navy would put an end to the problem by chasing the nasties who own and navigate the boats.
He no doubt wished to convey the impression that it was back to the old times of the late 18th century, when the Royal Navy harassed the slave traffic while American champions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, such as Thomas Jefferson, had their slaves whipped to mincemeat.
The Royal Navy didn’t solve the problem then, and it won’t solve it now. But wait, Dave has another ace up his sleeve.
“We also must,” he added in that stern, prime-ministerial way of his, “stabilise the refugees’ countries of origin”. Including those, one assumes, that he personally had taken such pains to destabilise in the first place.
Personally, I’d be tempted to make a retrospective point about the whole decolonisation craze of the post-war years.
Driven by the Enlightenment worship of national self-determination, the Africans were encouraged by similarly minded Westerners to drop the shackles of imperial domination. Every nation, they were told, must govern itself, regardless of whether or not it’s ready to do so.
Such bien pensant abstractions tend not to stay abstract for long. Sooner rather than later they acquire the very concrete shape of massacres, famines, pandemics and general mayhem. As often as not, ‘national liberation’ turns out to be the transitional stage between colonialism and cannibalism.
The best way of solving a problem is to nip it in the bud. Had the governments of Britain, France, Portugal and other colonial powers told the Africans then that they weren’t ready to govern themselves, tens of millions of lives would have been saved.
They wouldn’t have been lost to the genocides of Burundi and Rwanda, the famines of Ethiopia and Sudan, probably the Aids pandemic spreading from Uganda and numerous other disasters that have befallen the unfortunate continent.
Nor would the present Mediterranean tragedy have unfolded.
So what do our ‘leaders’ do in the face of at least 2,000 people who have so far drowned en route to Europe’s pastures green? They score cheap political points off one another and try to look good for the camera.
Such are the European values to which Ed has restated his commitment, while rebuking Dave for doing all the same things Ed himself would have done if he were prime minister.
The boldfaced effrontery of this lot is only matched by their mendacity, hypocrisy and absence of any moral or intellectual content. Aren’t you looking forward to the general election?