The refugee crisis -

A novel approach to solving the problem

The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove has warned that “Shutting the door on migration is not an option.”

But, letting the migrant refugees in threatens civil order.
So how do we solve this dilemma?


We have to start by recognising how complex the problem is.

The the refugee, climate change and terrorist problems are feeding off each other and joined up thinking is required to solve all three.

A fourth dimension, the predicted increase in world population during this century will only make matters worse.

We suggest that a 25 year plan that faces up to reality is required.


A key feature of our approach is that we TREAT REFUGEES as a RESOURCE for rebuilding peace in the future, rather than as a burden that worthy nations should bear.




In this article we offer some seed corn ideas for resolving the problems.

Hopefully others with a greater knowledge will build on them.

These proposals are also applicable to the South East Asia boat people problem.


This is the struggle for hearts and minds in refugee camps that threatens us all:

The 'educated middle classes' in Western countries tend to favour taking in refugees, but to save on costs, we house them in working class communities

This causes problems in our inner cities and creates a backlash against refugees.



We argue that bold new thinking is required if refugees are to be accommodated without generating resentment from the poorest people in the host countries.

Better still, a carefully crafted plan could actually reduce the refugee pressures in the long run.



The key features of our innovative solution are:


(i)          Establish completely new, largely self sufficient refugee communities in the host countries.
This will minimise the changes that have to be accepted by the indigenous population.
Members of these new communities would enjoy the same rights, freedom of movement and benefits as they would if dispersed among the native population.

(ii)         Enter into a legally binding agreement with each refugee, that in return for shelter and support, they and their families will return to their home country, once reasonable peace has been established. An explicit "return home" clause will also discourage economic migrants hoping to gain European country citizen ship in the guise of refugees.

(iii)        Provide the refugees with the education and resources they need so that when they return home they become champions for building democratic and stable societies.
Hopefully, this will prevent future Iraq or Libyan type fiascos, where the West intervened with good intentions, but created a vacuum of power that has been exploited by ISIS and other terrorist groups.

(v)     This strategy of treating refugees as a resource needs to be developed by Europe and other advanced economies that have the technology to make it effective. It can then be adopted by host countries closer to the refugee problem.

Summary ends


In-Depth Article


The conflicting demands being made on European society

*We cannot refuse to help those in peril at sea or who are fleeing persecution.


*We cannot tolerate people traffickers making a profit by putting the lives of desperate people at risk.
(Traffickers are versatile criminals who can hurt Europe by importing drugs, weapons and other contraband goods, so we Europeans have a vested interest in defeating them.)


*We cannot put the current fragile racial harmony within Europe at even greater risk by allowing substantially more migrants in to Europe.


 The year 2050 problem

In the words of the old song, "You ain’t seen nothing yet"

We need to innovate now, to avoid far bigger problems in the future.

According to the UN, by the middle of this century, the present world population of 7.2 billion is set to increase to about 9.6 billion.

This increase is about 5 times the current total population of the EU.

Meanwhile raised sea levels caused by climate change are likely to reduce the amount of habitable land, with floods and draughts increasing food prices.

Poor counties will be forced to compete with each other for finite resources of land, food and water.

The time honoured way of trying to resolve this type of issue is military conflict. In the modern world this means a fight between civilisation and terrorism, with human misery being the most powerful recruiting sergeant for the terrorist groups.

Together these phenomena will increase the refugee problems to a level that neither ruthlessly kicking them out nor compassionately letting them in to Europe will solve.

Developments in technology are a double edged sword. Combined with democracy, technology could lead to a more prosperous and peaceful life for all.
But in authoritarian states it could be the source of wealth to fund larger armies and buy better weapons.

We urgently need joined up thinking that addresses the refugee, climate change and terrorist problems.

This page is a contribution to the debate.
In particular, we suggest how refugees can be used as a resource to help us all gain the fruits of technology, rather than being hurt by it.


Our draft proposals

 Even after Brexit, Britain will still need to cooperate with the rest of Europe to solve our common refugee and terrorist problems.
For shorthand convenience, we will consider the UK as part of the EU.


1        Tender love – But with strings


(i) The European countries should agree to accept quotas of refugees, but only on a temporary basis, until it is safe for them to return home. This will discourage economic migrants without endangering refugees.

(ii) Our conditions of welcome will have to be firm and clear in order to avoid a backlash from wary European citizens.



2        Basic rules


(i) Local conditions permitting, application for temporary residence could be made at any one of the potential hosts Embassies outside Europe. Those having permission should be encouraged to travel by legal means.

(ii) Applicants would have to sign a written agreement to return to their native countries as soon as the threat to their lives is reduced to a tolerable level, as judged by a panel of experts.

(iii) They must also agree to actively cooperate in developing gender and other forms of equality while living in the host countries.



3        Taking the long view

It may be twenty years or more before the refugees can safely return home.


Ideally we want the refugees to return home fired up with a strong commitment to democracy and eager to help in rebuilding their home lands. They are most likely to do this if they can stay bonded together as communities while in exile. This suggests that instead of dispersing them, new settlements should be established that the refugees can identify as their temporary home. This is a delicate issue and requires sensitive planning.


When deciding on the locations for the settlements, the host countries should anticipate the eventual use of the land for say new towns, college campuses or industrial parks. This would justify the high costs of building access roads and paying for the installation of sewage, water, electricity and other services.


If Latent Power Turbines live up to their early promise, large remote, fossil fuel burning power stations will be replaced by smaller, community power stations, close to where people live. See for example Figure 16 on our Latent Power Turbine page.

This will free up the existing power station sites for redevelopment as new settlements. The sites are already fitted with services for use by the work force and are commonly serviced by a railway for delivering fuel.

The mindset of everyone involved in planning and administering these settlements should be focused on establishing new, open access communities in harmony with their neighbours. Not building refugee camps surrounded by barriers.

The aim should be to create vibrant new communities that are attractive to the indigenous local community. Any aspect of commerce that promotes integration such as restaurants, street cafes, bakeries, markets and cultural courses covering languages, cooking, dancing etc. would be encouraged. Indigenous people should also have entitlement to residence in the new settlements, provided that refugee accommodation needs are not compromised. Likewise, refugees should suffer no bars to living outside the settlements that are harsher than if the settlements did not exist.



4       The deal on offer to refugees


Initially, the accommodation would be extremely basic but materials, equipment, expertise and finance would be made available so that the refugees could help build their own settlements. The medium term aim would be to minimise the support costs for the host country and give the refugees a sense of pride and dignity to help heal their traumatised minds.

The long term aim is that the refugees will return home with an optimistic “can do” spirit and the host country is left with a valuable real estate asset that can be used as a new town, modern industrial estate or college campus.


As far as possible, each settlement would be self sufficient in terms of food production, policing, social services, foster care, basic health care, education etc.

Self sufficiency would reduce the spread of bad news stories about refugees such as the following:

(i) Members of the refugee community taking on teaching and other important public service roles may well be under-qualified. But this will be offset by their common language, culture and shared traumatic exile experiences.

(ii) We should see accommodating refugees as a learning opportunity for developing sustainable living technologies, not a mouths to be fed problem.
Many of the refugees will be resourceful people, bringing innovative ideas to Europe. - We can learn from them.

If we don't develop new technologies then the combined effect of increased world population and climate change will only exacerbate our refugee problems by the middle of the century.

(iii) Affluent refugees would be encouraged to invest funds in businesses linked to the settlements. Volunteers from the indigenous business community could provide local resource and regulatory advice.
An international sales portal website similar to the Amazon model would allow settlement based businesses to sell to customers worldwide. This would enable well wishers to purchase goods that supported the creation of jobs in the settlements. When peace comes and the business owners return home, their established online sales markets would allow the relocated businesses to get off to a flying start.

(iv) MOOCs ( and other remote learning courses could provide education without stressing local education facilities. Online courses, with access to a choice of learning languages, hyperlinked dictionaries and play-again facilities would deliver a far more efficient learning learning experience than conventional teaching. Skype will allow university academics and other experts from the home country to hold tutorials with students at settlements throughout the whole world. 

The development of new MOOCs relating to the rebuilding of broken communities in the aftermath of war and other major disasters would be a particularly cost effective investment for the host countries.

Ideally, each community would be inhabited by people from similar cultural/ethnic backgrounds so that they had the mental health benefits of being able to continue with their traditional cultures and customs. 

Illegal immigrants fleeing persecution who have already gone underground within Europe should be offered the chance to join a settlement under the same temporary residence conditions.

Some Eastern European countries have expressed a strong preference for only accepting refugees of Christian origin.

This goes against the non-discriminatory spirit of the EU. But at least they are offering to take their share of the burden.

Establishing new settlements in countries where there are existing ties of common religion, cultural or ethical origin would make life smoother and more productive for everybody.




5        Why these settlements need to be set up in Europe

(i)          The African and Asian transit countries have enormous political and economic problems of their own. Long term housing refugees there is not a practical solution because it will add to the instability of emerging economies.

(ii)         Subsistence refugee camps outside Europe will provide ideal breeding grounds for anti-European terrorists.

(iii)      The refugees who reach Europe are not representative of the refugee population as a whole. They tend to be younger, fitter and more affluent. But they are also courageous risk takers who value western standards and education.
They are just the sort of people that Europe should be investing in if we want to use them as a human resource, to help rebuild their homelands at a future date.

Ideally, after our proposed European model for dealing with refugees has been in operation for a few years, it can be exported to countries closer to the conflict zones. With Europe supplying expertise and financial support to these local host countries, rather than taking in refugees.


6        Urgent actions required


(i) Agree on a common EU policy and quotas for each EU country.

(ii) Price the traffickers out of the market by offering fleeing refugees a better deal.

(iii) Set up assessment centres and short term refuges in in  embarkation countries adjacent to Europe.

(iv) Use social media to publicise the terms and conditions of the EU refugee policy in departure countries. In particular, the complete rejection of refugees entering Europe via smuggling routes and purely for economic gain should be emphasised.

(v) We need to identify European settlement sites where the facilities can be reused, post the refugee crisis.

(vi) The planned life of the settlements should be relatively short, and the regulatory planning application processes speeded up accordingly.



7        Democracy in exile

Most refugees are fleeing from countries where democracy is weak.

Their time in Europe should be used to educate them in Western democratic ways so that they can return home as champions of the democratic system.


(i) The settlements should not be completely autonomous. They should be administered in the same manner as any new estate established by an existing local authority.

(ii) Opportunities for aspiring politicians in the settlements to shadow local and national politicians should be made available.

(iii) Universities could work with the communities providing homeland economic data and other planning resources. This would enable aspiring leaders in exile to develop policies and manifestos, for when they return home.

(iv) War games are a standard military learning aid. We propose a peaceful equivalent.
A virtual parliament in exile could be established with “parliamentary debates” taking place via video links between different settlements. In many cases this would allow previously hostile tribes or religious groups to engage in constructive debate with each other for the first time.

(v) University business schools and other experts in the host countries could work with interested people in the refugee communities, producing mock trade agreements with the EU and other trading blocks. These would be used as the first drafts for real trade agreements for implementation in post conflict times.

(vi) Mock nation rebuilding investment plans, with detailed strategies for combating corruption and fraud could also be developed. These plans would encourage real financial investment in post conflict times.





8     Lessons from history

ISIS was born in a political vacuum partly created by the West.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq resulted in civil unrest because there was no advanced planning to get the disparate opponents of Saddam Hussein talking to each other while they were in exile.

A similar level of chaos ensued following European support for the downfall of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

If we take a long term view, the cost of sheltering refugees and nurturing democratic cooperative values could be offset by the benefits to Europe of avoiding similar fiascos in the future.

[A personal experience: In the 1990's, Bill Courtney taught business studies to Somali refugees in Manchester. Several openly admitted to being deadly enemies back home. But they became the best of pals once they were away from the civil war and saw the practical advantages of working together.]



Voters will be more inclined to accept larger quotas of refugees if:

1                    There is a legally binding assurance that they will return home when peace returns.

2                    Their time in Europe is spent constructively helping to prepare for peace.

3                    The impact on the everyday lives of the voters is minimal.

           This article was written primarily with Europe in mind.

The strategy would be far more effective if implemented at a wider level, with Middle Eastern and other countries involved.




9     Additional mearues

In an ideal world there would be no refugees and no large scale movement of migrants from impoverished countries.

This is unrealistic but on the following web pages we make  proposals for moving towards it.

(i) Football lesson

(ii) People smuggling is an important driver of economic activity. Our proposed Latent Power Turbines could deliver low cost clean energy and provide a more sustainable economic model.

(iii) Thinking outside the box on how to defeat terrorism.

10 Greening the deserts to to create more living space

Here are two links that may be of interest:

(i) In Section 11 on this linked web page, we explain how Latent Power Turbines could make the deserts bloom.

(ii) Proposals for cooling hot desert settlements are made on this linked page.


11  The second migrant problem that clouds our judgment

Proposals for reducing the problems caused by the legal movement of EU citizens from poorer to richer EU states are presented on this linked web page.