Amid the furore over the closure of the Calais “jungle” camp, the Green Party has today tried to muscle in on the action by complaining about press coverage.
The party’s leader Jonathan Bartley has written a letter to IPSO, the press regulator, saying The Sun and Daily Mail was wrong to run photographs of migrants who may be under 16:
— Media Guardian (@mediaguardian) October 24, 2016
The pictures he refers to were those which sparked widespread concern that the burly males pictured were well over 18 – the cut-off point to be admitted to the UK as a child refugee.
Bartley, who clearly has little else on his plate, said: “They should not have printed them without knowing first that they were certainly over 16.”
Both the BBC and the Guardian covered the story too – but pixelated the migrants’ faces – obscuring the main talking point of the story.
It is an interesting argument – given the entire story is about widespread suspicion that they were well over that age.
And it is at least more grounded than claims by singer Lily Allen, who suggested the migrants look old because of a cynical anti-immigrant ploy by the UK.
Sceptics of the claims would presumably be all too happy to have the migrants’ age proved either way.
The problem is, parties such as the Greens have vigorously opposed plans to use dental checks or other methods to verify their age for sure.
So not only do they not really want you to know whether these people are they age they claim – but would also rather the pictures had been hidden so there was no public debate at all.
The stance is unlikely to win them much wider support than the paltry numbers they currently enjoy.
Just last Thursday the Greens failed disastrously to win a seat in Parliament, despite fielding left-wing celebrity candidate Larry Sanders, who netted a video endorsement younger brother and socialist icon Bernie Sanders – to no effect at all.