Let's not score cheap points by reminding everyone about Lord Rothermere's
dad grandad writing to 'my dear Fuehrer' and 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts'. Oh actually, let's. Open goals are still goals, aren't they?
Anyway, I've been reading some fascinating articles on the BBC's website about the Kindertransport 50th anniversary commemorations. It's the sort of thing the Beeb does do very well - extensive, personal, interesting. This article here and this picture story are tremendous.
Now don't get me wrong - the Mail had an excellent article last month here about Kristallnacht.
It would be silly and nonsensical, of course, to imagine that just because the proprietor's dad was a friend of Hitler and supporter of British fascists, the Mail today wouldn't cover the Nazis, given that it would raise rather awkward issues about the newspaper and its past, and its owner's dad.
Now I'm a keen Mail reader, as you know, but I haven't read anything commemorating the Kindertransport anniversary yet. Which I find rather odd, given that coverage of Kristallnacht for example (although have a quick scan through the comments in that article and you'll see a couple of rumblings of discontent with NuLab in there, naturally) and the refugee's story.
And it got me thinking: I wonder why not?
Let's imagine the Mail of 1938 was actually not the brownshirt-loving friend of Hitler, but today's Mail. What would today's Mail, and the sages in the comments section, have to say about Kindertransport? Would it be sympathetic to the plight of those children?
Would the vulnerable Jewish children saved from almost certain death be described as deserving refugees, or sponging 'bogus asylum seekers'? Would the "Guess who's paying?" question be asked in parentheses after the headline? Would they be described in the comments as 'spongers' who were stretching the already overburdened British taxpayer (tm)? Would columnists ask why they had to come all the way to Britain rather than France or Holland or Belgium instead? Would commenters have said IN CAPITAL LETTERS that Britain was FULL and we couldn't take any more? Would James Slack write an article twisting statistics to try and prove that the children didn't need to come?
And if those hysterical voices had been listened to, and if those children of the Kindertransport hadn't been allowed here, and they had been exterminated in a crime against humanity, would the Mail have patted itself on the back for a job well done?
Maybe the lessons of the Kindertransport just aren't compatible with the Mail's stance on immigration and asylum.
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