Sunday 31 January 2016

Salam aleikum

BBC World Service presenter Paul Henley (also known for Crossing Continents on Radio 4) has a piece in the BBC News magazine (apparently also a World Service From Our Own Correspondent talk) which the BBC News website home page headlines 'It pays to care'. It concerns German entrepreneurs helping migrants and refugees. 

Paul doesn't hold back from showing his admiration for such people - or his approval of Germany's acceptance of over a million migrants.

Here's a flavour:
I've never met Angela Merkel - not for want of trying - but she doesn't strike me as a person prone to acts of selfless charity. I imagine she's heard the predictions that - in the short term - extra demand for goods and services from a million newcomers could give the German economy a bounce of up to 2% a year. And I expect she has heard predictions that, in the long term, lots of youthful foreign workers - once educated, trained and taught German, of course - could be the country's economic saviours.
A man in a Hugo Boss suit said to me in the cosy office of a think tank near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate that there were no fiscal arguments against the migrants, just political ones.
So don't be surprised by the fact Germany's powerful - and business-minded - tabloid press are still on side with the refugee project, or that the police in Cologne were reluctant to admit asylum seekers were among those accused of now infamous assaults in a crowd on New Year's Eve.
But don't underestimate, either, the extraordinary good will and generosity of Germans still volunteering in their millions to show that their country is a humane destination for the desperate. 
And maybe there's a big divide between them and Raphael Hock and the millions he's making selling refugee accommodation to the government. But I'd warmed to him even before I found out he'd personally painted the flower stencils on the grey corridors of his care dome, before he'd mentioned that his girlfriend was a Kosovan Muslim, before he'd promised to change the catering company when two Afghan men complained they were sick of spaghetti. Hock told me Germany not only needed its refugees, it also had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to define itself by the way it treated them.
I don't know whether optimistic, rich Raphael best sums up modern Germany's steely pragmatism or its warm-hearted humanity. But I think there's a healthy dose of both in a country that's opened its doors to a million strangers pretty much overnight.
If that's impartial reporting then I'm Angela Merkel.

It has it all, pretty much: the strongly-directed narrative arc; the loaded language ("the extraordinary good will and generosity", "the desperate", "strangers", "warm-hearted humanity"); the link-free citing of 'predictions' predicting only good economic consequences from mass migration; even the old-fashioned BBC sense of unease about profit-making businesses (as compared to those who do good for the good of their hearts).

The BBC are relentless.


  1. There's another view of Merkel isn't there? That she's completely taken leave of her senses. Also, if she is so keen on these migrants why is she demanding that the whole of the 500 million strong continent of Europe (including the UK) should step up to the plate and deliver on her own stupid open door policy?

    And if Germany is really desperate for young labour, well it could pick and choose from 5.5 billion people on the planet rather than deciding on who migrates on the basis of a brutish survival of the fittest. It could - as it did with the Turks and Italians offer guest worker status to however many people it wanted and it could ensure those people's values harmonised with those of a modern liberal democracy.

  2. The truth about the employment rate of the new migrants is shockingly bad.

    If you get any growth in your economy, it's faux growth...people added rather than value added, with most of the growth accounted for by additional infrastructure provision. Even in Germany it seems they are finding it difficult to provide housing for the migrants. In the UK of course we have a dire housing situation. London and the South East are literally "full up".

  3. Oh don't worry, they'll always find more countryside to bulldozer over...
    Why does no one ever speak about the environmental impact of mass migration? Instead we get the leadership of the so-called 'Green' party favouring the liberal migration policies that have indirectly lead to this distruction of previously greenfield areas and woodland.

    1. It's a v. good question. In fact the Ecology Party in the UK (precursor to the Green Party) did oppose mass immigration to the UK, precisely because of the negative impact on the natural environment.

      The Green successors are just poseurs really.

  4. Using emotional blackmail is the rogue's last resort.

  5. "extra demand for goods and services from a million newcomers could give the German economy a bounce of up to 2% a year."

    Yes, that's right. You could say Merkel is exploiting 'refugees' for econo-political reasons. Doesn't seem quite so worthy now, does it?

    But where & how is that demand met? I don't know about Germany but in the UK it is met by (dis)proportionately (ie. not progressively) increasing the Council Tax bills of the bulk of the accommodation owners or occupiers in the UK Local Authorities where those 'refugees' are accommodated plus any contribution that comes from general taxation via the Government of the day. Set against that, is the creation of extra jobs but again they are in the public sector. That really just circulates tax money taken from some and privatises part while recycling the rest as taxation.

    If the German system is the same as the UK then it could also be argued that, until all those 'refugees' are in private (not State) full-time employment doing work for export, they are a 2% or part of a 2% drain on the German economy. That is in a 'perfect system' where there is no impact on existing services.

    If the Cologne New Year trouble came from 'refugees' and results in a an extra use of police & court time, etc, then the 2% burden could be further increased.

    It is very easy to exploit the favourable end of a range of economic possibilities as well as to exploit 'refugees' for personal political or governmental benefit. Both are rather unpleasant.

  6. Another way the cost gets distributed is in lower living standards e.g. people working for lower wages or living in smaller accommodation, or - in the case of the under 35s continuing to live with parents way beyond what used to be the norm.


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