As the general election campaign grinds on it is very easy to think that it couldn’t get any worse but it could it really really could (the Americans don’t vote for a new President for almost another two years yet the campaign has already started). However, we do have an end in sight and after the 7th May the real power play can begin and we will then see who is best at playing the cards dealt them by the electorate. One word of caution – don’t believe the hype being put about by the SNP/Conservative party – they won’t rule the roost should Labour form the next Government as they have as much to lose by being inconsiderate. What is forgotten in all the froth is that a majority of Scots voters are not likely to vote SNP in the next Westminster election and the SNP have the Holyrood election to think about next year. Yes they will ensure that they get the best deal for Scotland but it is not in their interest to vote down a Labour led Government.
So whether it is Dave or Ed residing in No 10 they will quickly have to deal with a problem that neither of them have said one single word about during the election. This was not because either of them tried to duck the issue but rather we, as a country, haven’t really woken up to the enormity of what is about to hit us. On Sunday around 700 people drowned somewhere between Libya and Italy – they weren’t the first and they won’t be the last. By summer time we could be getting these headlines on an almost daily basis as the Mediterranean calms to a mill pond and many more thousands try to make the crossing to Italy and what they see as freedom. This is shaping up to be one of the greatest humanitarian crises to face Europe since the forced expulsion of Germanic people from eastern Europe after the end of the second world war.
Of course it is tempting to take the nothing to do with us approach which is both inhumane as well as unworkable. We can pretend that as an island nation we are isolated from such problems in southern Italy but anyone who has travelled through Calais recently knows that this problem is only 22 miles away. Don’t expect the French to accept the status quo for much longer as none of the people wandering around Calais want to be in France. They want to come to Britain. So whether we like it or not it is going to our problem soon enough. We can try and make our borders even more inhospitable but again this will hamper our trade with the rest of Europe which, despite UKIP trying to pretend it doesn’t exist or matter, really does and the Channel ports are hugely important to our economic well being.
Now it is fair to say that it is not at all clear how many of the refugees/migrants that are hitting southern and south eastern Europe want to come to Britain and perhaps the majority but as the crisis grows so too will the percentage that do want to come here and our government will have to come up with an answer in short order. As to what that answer is I haven’t got the first idea but then again I have never sought elected office so can carp on the side lines with immunity. Dave or Ed won’t have that luxury and so will have to deal with a problem which is known but whose solution is unknown but which ever option they choose is bad. Suddenly they may well wish that they hadn’t won the election after all.