Thangam Debbonaire MP [Image: Linda Nylind for the Guardian].

Thangam Debbonaire MP [Image: Linda Nylind for the Guardian].

Here’s the start of a good idea that may be lost because the person suggesting it has made an unpopular decision.

The idea of asking refugees to embrace the principles by which people in the UK live – principles that encourage us to support people suffering hardship through no fault of their own – is a good one.

For people fleeing from countries where it is still traditionally considered to be a “man’s world”, lessons about female equality seem a good place to start.

The intention could be to demonstrate that there are conditions attached to the help we offer; if people benefit from our attitudes, we expect them to adopt those attitudes in their own lives.

In that way, perhaps we can all move towards a more tolerant society and there will be less need to take in refugees. I know – it seems a forlorn hope. But there’s no harm in trying.

Unfortunately, the person putting forward the idea is Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire, who recently blotted her copy book by rebelling against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and then supporting her actions – three weeks after the event – with contrived, questionable and unsupported reasoning.

People will be suspicious of her. They’ll ask, “Is she saying this just to get back into the limelight?”

“What’s her real motive for doing this?”

That is how good ideas get killed.

If Ms Debbonaire is serious about improving behaviour abroad, perhaps she should have been less keen on backstabbing people at home.

Male refugees settling in Britain should be given lessons about female equality, a Labour MP has suggested.

Thangam Debbonaire, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on refugees, said the move could be part of a national drive to improve male attitudes towards women.

Debbonaire said that new arrivals need a “sensitive” introduction to a different culture. The MP, who has just launched an inquiry into the experiences of new refugees in the UK, drew parallels with concerns in Germany after some migrants were accused of sexual assaults at New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“What I don’t want is for the British people to respond to a case of assault or sexual harassment by saying no to more refugees, which seemed to be what the public’s response to Germany was in danger of becoming,” the MP told the Daily Telegraph.

Source: Teach refugees lessons in women’s equality, says Labour MP | Society | The Guardian


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