The old friend fear
Fears of immigrants seem to be the biggest rhetoric trick played in the political landscape in UK. We are bombarded with messages about what to fear and how many to fear. It drives voters to the right, voting for what they don´t want, instead of they do want.
If you were to fill up a bus with Syrian refugees who have been offered resettlement by the UK, you would fail. According to the latest figures , 50 Syrians have been offered resettlement.
One reason for the low number of Syrians being offered resettlement could be the fear that the media in the UK has created. On the 18th of November, 2014, The Daily Telegraphs Chief Correspondent, Colin Freeman, authored the article:
"Should we expect Syrian asylum seekers to be grateful?"
Freeman wrote, talking about Sweden´s immigration politics:
"...the country has seen a number of race riots in recent years, mostly in the immigrant ghettos around the cities of Stockholm and Malmo. The flare-ups are about the usual stuff - unemployment, perceived racism and so on - some of which may be legitimate grievances. Those who argue that we should open our doors up like Sweden may well have a point: but they should equally concede that we may not be thanked forever."
This sort of rhetoric used by Mr. Freeman, leads me to believe that there is a reason why misconceptions are considerable . Britons believe that almost a quarter of the population is immigrants, in reality, the number is 13 percent. Britons also think that 21 percent of the population is Muslim. The reality is five percent.
These misconceptions may be the reason why twenty-five percent of Britons think that immigrants should leave the country . In reality, the fearful rhetoric used by right wing politicians, media, and campaigners, drives voters towards fear.
"Only one in eight people got the right answer for the proportion of immigrants in the UK population... Over half of people guess too high, overestimating the number of immigrants in the UK".
Growth in the tourism industry
The media is not without fault. I have seen several outcries on ´benefit tourism´ filling up the media.
From the Daily Mail, claiming that Britain should: "Defy the EU and stamp out benefit tourism" , to Iain Duncan Smith (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) overestimating the cost of 'benefit tourism' by 92%.
To me there is no question that the findings reveal that the politicians of the UK, have not done a decent job in communicating facts to the public. Public concern might even be displaced.
"Almost four out of ten people believe that more than 10% of the population are refugees. In reality, refugees make up less than 0.4% of the UK population.
What I seek is a bit of perspective. The UK needs to take responsibility, especially when considering the year-long alliance with the US, going to war produces refugees, every time you go to war, without a doubt,
António Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), recently said to The Guardian : "We need to put things in perspective. Eighty-six per cent of the world's refugees live in the developing world, and this is the highest percentage since the beginning of this century. We see a growing trend for refugees to stay in the developing world."
Treatment, or torture chamber - The hospitals of Syria
Instead of preaching fear, politicians should be preaching help. And if they need it to fit in to their campaigning, preach helping children.
The Syrian children are perhaps the victims that are affected the hardest by the war. The rebels recruit refugee children in the neighboring countries, and the Syrian government army imprisons and tortures children with a connection to the regime's opponents . A UN report focuses on the harsh tactics used to target children.
"The present report highlights that use of weaponry and military tactics that are disproportionate and indiscriminate by Government forces and associated militias has resulted in countless killings and the maiming of children, and has obstructed children's access to education and health services," Ban Ki-Moon writes in his report.
The report goes on saying that civilian doctors exposed injured children, arriving at government hospitals in Aleppo, Dar´a, Homs and Idlih, to torture.
Give children a future
One way to draw in votes when it comes to foreign policy, providing children with a future could be one message the British politicians could use. My advice would be using the campaign motto; Give the children a future, vote for...
Going to war has consequences, and going to war comes with obligations. Not to preach fear of immigrants, but to preach openness towards those in needs.
Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of Unicef, wrote about the children of Syria that: "All around them, their dreams and opportunities... for the future are being lost. They lose... their childhoods . . . their right to be children is denied... "