Greenock Telegraph 10th March

Scotland has a history of welcoming immigrants, just as many Scots have emigrated all over the world. We understand that people may relocate to other countries and that can be driven by many factors and circumstances. From people fleeing from economic destitution, poverty and persecution to people seeking better employment, education and love. The Scottish diaspora is over 28 million. The British diaspora is over 200 million. We should never forget that we have been taken into many countries and become part of them. Today we find ourselves being whipped into a frenzy by the current Conservative and Unionist UK government and their punitive immigration policy. They justify turning people back in boats on the English Channel, forcibly repatriating people to war zones and detaining them in internment camps, by associating them with people trafficking and warning of the cost to the British taxpayer to host them. The truth is that if the U.K. had an immigration system that was fit for purpose, we could process asylum seekers quicker and then we wouldn’t have over 17,500 waiting on average over 540 days to complete the process. If we allowed them to seek gainful employment rather than saying they must be here for a year and then only work in a limited list of occupations, they would happily pay their own way and pay tax in the U.K.  But the U.K. government is using the plight of these people to whip up an anti immigration argument and that breeds fear in communities and that allows them to bring in legislation that contravenes the human rights act. This U.K. Government knows exactly what atmosphere it is creating and it will capitalise on that by changing the laws to give them more power and give you less freedom of speech and movement. That’s a dangerous road they are taking us on. It’s a road that leads to radicalism. We must learn from the past and work to remain a tolerant society. On Monday I shall be opposing the U.K. Government’s immigration bill.