Debate Magazine

Fun Online Polls: Syrian Refugees & Central Heating

Posted on the 08 September 2015 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

The results to last week's Fun Online Poll - on a good turnout of 102 - were as follows:
You're a Muslim fleeing the war zone in Syria or Iraq. What's the obvious destination?
Safer areas in Syria or Iraq - 20%
A neighbouring Muslim country 25%
A Muslim country which can be reached overland - 19%
North-west Europe, a society quite alien to you, via a highly risky journey across the Mediterranean 36%

Although the general perception is that they are all coming over here, those hundreds of thousands are just the tip of the iceberg and people on the ground are responding pretty much as you would expect.
Graeme left the following comment:
As far as I know, the numbers are:
Total refugees 12m
Refugees displaced within Syria 8m
Refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan 3.75m
Refugees in Europe 0.25m

Facts which could be used to justify a hardening of the European line: "if fleeing to Turkey etc is good enough for 98% of them, it must be good enough for the other 2%"; or it could be used to justify a softening: "oh, it's only a few of them who actually want to come here".
But these arguments are self-cancelling: if the line hardens, even fewer will try to come here, which then justifies a softening; if the line softens, more will try to come here, which will justify a hardening etc.
Turning to more topical matters, have you turned on your central heating yet?
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