I have often felt British audiences have been too mollycoddled for their own good, with excessive care about what horrors can or can’t be shown before an arbitrary “watershed” hour. I remember too clearly the pompous posturing of people who, at the end of the first Iraq war, maintained that the Western alliance should have kept on going to the streets of Baghdad. All the easier to say because most were denied the shocking images of the road to Basra, with mile after mile of burned-out vehicles and rotting corpses.

J’accuse …!

A picture of a child’s body face down in the surf is distressing, but it is a powerful symbol of the failure of the West to come up with a coherent and well-thought out strategy for our interventions in other countries. Need to placate the Daily Mail? Bomb Iraq. Express being bothersome? Destroy Libya. Both of them ruled by despicable dictators, who had one thing in common – they understood their countries and knew how to keep in check the immense forces threatening to rift them. Blair and Bush may have sauntered into the sunset (the former with a little more dignity than the latter) but having opened Pandora’s box their general attitude is “nothing to do with us, mate, they should try being democratic like us (who go to war without a mandate)”.

I read with growing nausea the comments added to various newspaper sites (credit to  The Independent among others who had the courage to point out this toddler lying dead in the surf was not a creation of some tyrant, but ours).

No, you xenophobic troglodytes, the child did not die because the parents wanted to steal your benefits, or rob “our NHS”, or cause more housing estates to be built on the green belt. The little boy and thousands of others died because of the chaos we have unleashed.

Learn some shame. Discover a backbone. Find some balls. Deal with it.

Oh… and stop reading the Daily Mail.