Is Home Really Where the Heart Is Now That Cameron's Finally Found His?

Is Home Really Where the Heart Is Now That Cameron's Finally Found His?

Suddenly we've all got a conscience. Or as frequently happens in situations when humanitarian disasters occur, we've just developed an acute sense of right and wrong.

As a result, we're clamouring to do our bit. Up and down the land, millions of us - 1 in 10 if opinion polls are to be believed - are actually ready, willing and eager to give up our spare rooms (well, it's one way to avoid the bedroom tax) to those seeking asylum. Any thoughts that visiting relatives might have of coming to stay for Christmas are now best put to the backs of their minds. They'll be no room at the familial inn this year.

Bob Geldof, God love him, was unsurprisingly the first out of solicitude's starting gate by offering up his farmhouse in Kent and his London flat as semi-permanent boltholes.

Now he's been joined by Nicola Sturgeon, Yvette Cooper (has she told Ed Balls that his man cave might shortly be temporarily out of operation?) and a host of other political heavyweights. Not to mention big names from across the country's social and showbiz elite. Hold on, where's Russell Brand when you don't need him most? Probably helping by taking in and giving a roof over her head to Miss Syria.

Meanwhile, the cook at Anmer Hall has apparently, on the instruction of Wills and Kate, already started to prepare local delicacies including yabraq, fattah djaj, kebab karaz and kibbeh.

And even the Celebrity Big Brother House is rumoured to be taking in its fair share of the displaced. Although with Janice Dickinson in there, those fleeing persecution could momentarily find that tyranny, abuse and victimisation aren't quite so easy to break free from after all.

In the midst of this plight, the likes of which hasn't been seen since WW2, such facetiousness perhaps isn't in the slightest bit helpful. Downright unhelpful, some would say.

However, as well-intentioned as good deeds always are, and no one would deny that we should strive to do everything we can to help our fellow man in distress, it's hard to resist being a little cynical about those in the public eye jumping on the benevolence bandwagon.

Still, we must be thankful for small mercies. At least while Emma Thompson is protesting about Shell's oil and gas drilling activities in the Arctic, she's not pontificating about migrants. Hmmm, so you'd think. In a recent Newsnight interview, there she was with all the knowledge of someone who played Nanny McPhee stating that due to global warming, today's refugee crisis would seem like a tea party in contrast to what would soon happen.

It could be argued that any sense of outrage and in turn moral duty we feel should be our own, but you can't help thinking that it's not. We're behaving as others more persuasive and influential want us to behave because to do anything else would be to mark us out as callous beyond belief, especially when confronted by the type of distressing imagery we witnessed on the Turkish beach last week.

This is how David Cameron was being made to feel. Backed into a corner and attacked from all quarters for not doing more, he's now declared that Britain will take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years. Nevertheless he continues to face criticism by holding firm that these must come from camps on the Syrian border and not from central and Southern Europe. Presumably the reason for this is that he, and indeed others, are worried about human traffickers. Yet it doesn't matter. He will carry on to be portrayed as heartless and cold compared to Angela Merkel, presently being painted as some kind of Mother Teresa for opening up her arms and her country's borders without question or complaint.

By letting in a minimum of 800,000 in 2015 alone, there's no doubt that the Germans are seen to be in compassion's Premier League while we're seen to be languishing somewhere in the Third Division.

But as a race, they are different from us and indeed the rest of the world. They're repeatedly making amends for the sins of generations past. They still can't escape their recent history. It's perhaps doubtful that in the near future they'll ever be able to. In these exhausted men, women and children who have travelled many miles on foot, what they see are the same individuals who fled the Fatherland all those years ago to escape another evil regime. In essence, these poor souls are being welcomed as if they're long lost citizens returning home. Mass crowds greet their adopted brethren at train stations with cheers, sweets, gifts and affection. Ultimately though are they only doing so as a way to assuage their guilt?

Naturally, we have no such heavy burden to carry on our shoulders. Despite this, when it comes to homelessness, make no mistake, we have plenty to be ashamed about. Therefore, should the government and local authorities be doing more to help those already in this great nation of ours who through no fault of their own also find themselves with nowhere to live?

As hard as it is to quantify, it's estimated that over 200,000 of the population of the Uk are homeless. Of these, almost 3000 are on any night of the week likely to be sleeping rough. A quarter of this number are in the capital and of the total figure, 46% are said to be British born and bred. You may pass one of them on your way home from work tonight. In all likelihood you won't give them a second thought or a second glance.

Unfortunately, the above estimates are if anything on the woefully low side and the reality is certainly far worse.

This begs a simple question. Would the same people who are seemingly so keen to give a warm cosy bed to those refugees from overseas be quite so willing to do the same to someone on their own doorstep, maybe literally on their own doorstep? The answer sadly is almost definitely not.

So much for charity beginning at home.


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