This column appeared in the Jersey Evening Post on December 14, 2015.
What disappointing times these are.
Internationally, we saw the incredible re-runs of March 2003 and 2011, with the same arguments, the same logic, the same screaming headlines and the same Daily Mirror. Evil needed to be defeated and our old friends Saddam and later Khadaffi needed to go. Both interventions failed catastrophically. They increased the threat of terrorism and the suffering in the region. They also contributed to the current refugee flow.
In some sort of twisted way, Cameron now sees a new intervention as an answer to the threat of terrorism, even though he doesn’t quite know what his bombs are meant to be destroying. Can you even bomb an ideology? I mean, the Paris attackers came from Belgium and France, did they not? Cameron wants us to bomb an idea! His leadership is about form, not content and going to war gives off the impression of strength, while risking the lives of millions. British arms dealers will certainly be happy. Shares of the Jersey-registered BAE systems went up 4% after Cameron had carried the vote.
Disappointing times indeed.
The French state of emergency has replaced our focus on the Paris climate conference, with fear and security concerns. Our assaulted climate needs some serious TLC, but once again, the issue has almost naturally slipped to the back of the agenda. And yet, climate change is a challenge confronting us all and could therefore be a potential unifier, a call to concerted action. Alas, climate organizations are already predicting the inevitable failure of the conference, in spite of world-wide mobilizations and marches on the 29th of November in which Jersey took part as well.
Finally, we had our own senator Gorst, sadly announcing that Jersey would not be taking in 6 Syrian families to contribute to the ever-growing refugee crisis across Europe. Instead, our island will be stepping up its financial contributions to the camps around Syria. Gorst is nervous that changing Jersey’s policies on this issue, will create a legal precedent that can be potentially dangerous to the island. The fact that this refugee crisis will forever change the face of Europe has clearly not sunk in yet. As the drownings in the Meditterranean have shown, refugees will make their way in, with or without our ‘legal’ assistance. Most analysts more or less agree that our refusal to change existing structures won’t deter this mass-migration. It is this mass-migration that will inevitably change our structures. In fact, all over Europe, legislation is already being adapted to deal with the current challenge. It is up to us if we want to prolong this process or simply pre-empt it. A simple choice? Perhaps. But then again, saving the climate seems a no-brainer as well.