Lily Allen brought the full moral authority of a chart-topping singer to bear on the Government yesterday when she pumped out a video of her visit to the “jungle” camp in Calais.
Allen, tearful, apologised on behalf of the nation to an Afghan child who said he has the right to live in the UK because his father is in Birmingham, where he has been trying to get by sneaking onto lorries. (The Sun has subjected his account to some scrutiny.)
In a visit breathlessly covered by the BBC, she accepts responsibility on behalf of Britain “for what we’ve put you through” – by which she means the Iraq war and his troubles in France. By coincidence, Allen is shortly to release a new album.
Later in the video segment she said she would “100%” take in a refugee herself should the opportunity arise.
The offer puts her in the company of other celebrities and politicians who have said they would happily host refugee children but have yet to actually do so:
The former cabinet minister said she’d offer up her own home more than a year ago – but has failed to follow through. Here she is failing to wriggle out of it:
The former Boomtown Rat is also on the record offering to take in four families by himself.
I’m prepared – I’m lucky, I’ve a place in Kent and a flat in London – me and (partner) Jeanne would be prepared to take three families immediately in our place in Kent and a family in our flat in London, immediately, and put them up until such time as they can get going and get a purchase on their future.
Attempts to hold him to his promise have so far been unsuccessful.
The opportunistic leader of the SNP pledged to take in refugees in late 2015… but has now decided that it isn’t necessary after all.
Here she is committing to it on live TV:
Yesterday her spokesman told Heat Street: “The First Minister has already made clear that she would be willing to accommodate refugees – however, it has so far been possible to house refugees without asking individuals or families to provide shelter.”
The former England footballer volunteered his home on Twitter back when pledging your homes to refugees was in fashion:
If my government allows, I'll take a Syrian family in my home for a year, tomorrow @leehayward1970 . Will you? Or just bitch?
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) September 2, 2015
No word so far on his progress.
It is worth pointing out that not every high-profile figure who has offered to house Syrians failed to live up to it. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, took in a Syrian family this summer.
Many ordinary Brits are also doing the same. The charity Homes for Syrians runs a volunteer scheme, and its website shows dozens of rooms available for asylum seekers:
Allen tried to deflect cynicism about her willingness to take anybody in by retweeting a message allegedly showing that she (almost) took in a homeless person one time:
— FRYARS (@Fryars) October 12, 2016
However, despite this, Allen and her extremely vocal ilk are yet to number among those who have put their property where their mouth is when it comes to the refugee crisis.