In the summer of 2015, UK public attitudes towards refugees shifted significantly in the
face of a substantial and sustained increase in the number of people entering Europe
from the Middle East and North Africa in search of refugee protection. Contrary to what
might have been expected, given that the prevailing public mood on refugees had up
to this point been, at best, guarded and wary, this change in attitudes was not only overwhelmingly
positive, but it also forced the UK government into a dramatic and significant
policy change. This article considers whether this shift in opinion represented a real
sea change in public attitudes, or was a fleeting and unsustainable compassion spasm.