Saturday 6 February 2016


The lion's share of today's Any Answers was spent discussing the migrant crisis. 

Here's how Anita Anand framed the discussion this week (persisting, as ever, in calling it 'the refugee crisis'):
So, as you've been hearing in the news, the number of Syrian refugees heading for the Turkish border has nearly doubled in 24 hours. 35,000. What should we do about this? How much should we be doing for refugees? $10 billion raised by an international effort this week, but let's talk about the number of people you think this country should be welcoming. And what about unaccompanied children in those camps in Calais? Does their need cross the red lines regarding who we do and do not take? Love your thoughts on this. I know you have a lot to say. 
But's leading the bulletins. It's also foremost in your minds this afternoon. Let's talk about the refugee crisis.
Anita was as hands-on as ever, especially as most of the callers were against us taking in lots more migrants/refugees. She did plenty of interrupting and contradicting and added a couple of 'mini-editorials' of her own between callers:
OK, right. you're happy to pay a premium but these refugees must be kept near their homeland, Turkey, Jordan.  Thank you very much Peter. I'm going to take another call on this because we did hear the King of Jordan saying, 'Look, we have always said yes to the West. We have always said we will take in all the refugees who are crossing our border. But we cannot take any more.' They are talking about a lack of space, a lack of infrastructure. Where do those people then go? Where does that overflow go? Elizabeth Fitzgibbon is calling us from Elgin in Moray. Hello Elizabeth. Hello. What did you want to say?
No, I totally take the point and Margaret thank you very much indeed. Margaret, you bring up the point about paedophiles. I just want to read a startling figure that's just leaped out at me and there's a report by Europol that was released on Monday that says "There are 10,000 missing children, raising concerns that these children might have fallen into the hands of traffickers". I mean, some may just be accounted in the system because of this mass movement of people but I think that is quite a terrifying figure. Colin Pine calling us from Hornchurch in Essex. Good afternoon, Colin. Yes. What did you want to say Colin?
Talking of Colin from Hornchurch, here he is in mid flow near the beginning of his fine contribution. Anita soon interrupts to 'correct' him:
Colin: What you've got to remember and the audience has got to remember is the Prime Minister has pledged that we take 20,000 in the next five years....
Anita (interrupting): Next ten years. Over the next ten years. 
Colin: Ten years.
Anita: A-ha.
Well, that was as much news to me as it was to poor Colin - and, I would bet, to Anita's BBC colleagues too! They've persistently reported (as has the rest of the media) that David Cameron's 20,000 Syrian refugees pledge was for over the next five years. Anita might want to take it up with her colleagues.

And then there's the number of refugees at the Zaatari camp in Jordan... 

Here she is, talking to a caller called Joanne, who she'd introduced as having "actually worked with refugees" (The sigh in Anita's voice when it turned out that Joanne was also against bringing them here - when they could stay in existing, safe camps - was very evident to this listener):
I mean, places like this..the Zaatari camp...I don't know how many millions are in there at the moment...
Well, according to Wikipedia, there were estimated to be around 83,000 there at the last count, so - unless Wikipedia is out by a huge margin - Anita got that massively wrong too.

Oh Anita! That would never have happened if you'd just sat back and let your callers speak!


  1. LOL Anita is to news as the Belvita biscuit is to breakfast: insubstantial, despite the misleading claims.


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