In a keynote speech in Budapest last week, the Observer columnist argued that hostility to migrants is not a fringe project – mainstream politicians have long helped promote fear of ‘the other’

In October 2013, a ship carrying migrants sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa. Some 300 people drowned.

It was not the first time that migrants had drowned in the Mediterranean. In fact, at that time it was estimated that in the previous 25 years at least 20,000 people had died trying to reach the shores of Europe. The real figure was most likely much higher. But that sinking in October 2013 was the first time that such a tragedy had truly impressed itself upon the conscience of Europe.

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