Policy & Ideas

2007 - 2021

Look beyond the bigots to see a huge movement of practical solidarity

imagesThe refugee crisis seems to be bringing to the surface the xenophobia and bigotry too often heard on our streets and all across Europe. On BBC Radio Scotland yesterday morning Scots took to the airwaves.  “Our country is bursting at the seams”, ranted one man.  “If we take them in, there’ll be killers roaming around our shopping centres.  It’ll be like Lee Rigby”.

Another caller – Nora from Paisley – seemed to feel the major problem is these Syrians’ lack of patriotism. “I remember the war” she said piously. “We didn’t abandon wartime Britain – we stayed here, to fight for it”.  The obvious stupidity of comparing war-torn Syria with Britain during WWII aside, it was her callousness that really struck me.  Discussing Alyan Kurdi, the little boy washed up dead on a Turkish beach, Nora from Paisley asked “Where’s his mother? That’s what I want to know”.  “She died on the way”, said the presenter.  Nora was unfazed. “She should have stayed in Syria”.

A quick glance at the comments underneath news articles or on social media can show you equally callous and xenophobic remarks. Have a look at the Facebook page of ‘The Orcadian’ for a perhaps surprising source of bile against refugees.  It’s everywhere. Then there’s the actions of police and governments – as I write, an ITV journalist is tweeting pictures from Hungary, where police are dragging refugees off trains to send them to camps.  Similar scenes are coming from Czech Republic – huddled families being taken away; uniformed police writing numbers on the arms of little children with marker pens. This isn’t surprising.  Australia has long had internment camps for migrants, run by private security forces, which are sites of sexual abuse, torture and death.  The UK has its own network of Serco-run prisons for migrants.

Watching this, you can see the historical precedents standing out a mile.  Alongside the rise of genuinely neo-nazi movements across Europe – now becoming more visible as they attack refugees in ‘patrols’ – it can seem that history is repeating itself.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this tide of hatred and xenophobia. But that’s not the only story.

Look beyond those who shout the loudest and you can see a huge movement of solidarity and concern.  Not everyone buys into the Daily Mail version of events. Not by half.  Yes, there was Nora from Paisley and her ilk – and they’re the ones who stick in the mind.  But the Radio Scotland show was in fact dominated by calls from people desperately wanting to do something to help; deploring Cameron’s stance as immoral and disgusting; countering the xenophobic remarks with facts, figures and statements of solidarity.

People are acting in huge numbers to show their support for the refugees.  Facebook groups set up to coordinate aid and support have been inundated with offers and supporters.  Candlelit vigils to be held on Saturday in Glasgow and Edinburgh have thousands of attendees already, and donations of food and clothing are pouring in to collection points across the country, destined for Calais.  These are real grassroots efforts; the result of people who desperately want to do something useful.

This idea of practical solidarity is visible everywhere – and social media is crucial to it.  In Iceland, it was a Facebook group that was the catalyst for over 11,000 Icelanders offering to take Syrian refugees into their homes, forcing the Prime Minister to revise his initial limit of 50 refugees.  A similar group has been set up in Scotland, urging those with spare rooms to sign up. Called ‘We Have Room’, the introductory post reminds us that 80,000 Jewish refugees came to Scotland during WWII, and that that Scots and Irish refugees have settled all over the world in huge numbers.  You could add to that the fact that UK citizens enjoy freedom of movement all over the world; our baby-boomers in particular tending to enjoy the benefits of cheap Spanish property.

A bit of collective soul-searching is no bad thing at times like this. What kind of society are we, really?  The myths of warm, welcoming Scotland, with our ‘social democracy’ and the misty-eyed references to shipyards and solidarity, are put to the test now.  Shrugging our shoulders would not be good enough.  Asylum seekers are facing destitution on the streets of Glasgow and being housed in appalling conditions – do we wring our hands over the failures of the Smith Commission and turn away?

The summit on Friday brought welcome news that the First Minister will commit to accept 1,000 refugees – as a “starting point”, not a cap.  We can welcome many more.  It is excellent to see that the meeting included detailed discussion of logistics and planning, rather than being a platform for soundbites.  

The SNP should be commended on their fast action here.  It’s a huge improvement on their previous statement on the asylum crisis in Glasgow two weeks ago; that was little more than blame-it-on-Westminster spin: “If we had control over immigration, we’d help failed asylum seekers”.  It’s hard to believe the Scottish government can’t provide some kind of shelter and food for desperate people, just because the Home Office determines their asylum status.  In Glasgow right now, it’s determined activists on shoestring budgets who are trying to house and feed people.  

This determination and solidarity can be seen across the world.  Images of football terraces sporting huge ‘Refugees Welcome’ banners; of hundreds of volunteers and passers-by welcoming and feeding new arrivals in Germany’s railway stations; of 20,000 marching through Vienna in solidarity – these images affirm our humanity and hope for the future.  And while the initiatives above, and the countless more being organised, are good news, I can’t help but wish I were in Germany.  To be welcoming large numbers of people to your country, to be able to pitch in and help as people finish their long, awful journey – I can imagine us doing that here with such enthusiasm.  One of the most appealing possibilities of independence was the prospect of shutting down that shameful prison Dungavel House, and making Scotland a safe haven for those fleeing persecution.

But we don’t have to deal with what-ifs – bear in mind that Glasgow is an official ‘dispersal’ zone to which those seeking asylum are sent by the UK government.  Through initiatives like Unity Centre, the Night Shelter #WeHaveRoom and other small organisations, these people are supported and welcomed to the country. Given the ‘reception’ they face from the Home Office, it’s essential these organisations can continue to support them. Do donate if you can.

We can all be useful in some way. We can stand up to a barbaric and racist system of border control, detention and deportation.  We can challenge the xenophobic narrative wherever it crops up.  The bigots might shout the loudest, but it’s the action of the thousands who want to help that will make the difference.

Jen Stout is an activist and writer from Fair Isle, Shetland. She lives in Glasgow and campaigns with @ScotLandAction @jm_stout



Comments (53)

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  1. Eddie Lamb says:

    This article is very much in line with my own thinking. Found myself really angry at Cameron and co. that they represent us on the world stage. utterly shameful.

  2. Saor Alba says:

    A great post Jen.

    Fortunately there are plenty of compassionate and supportive individuals in our sick society, who will gladly reach out to these poor unfortunate refugees. Then there are the bigots and xenophobes, the I’m all right Jack brigade, like the man interviewed on Radio Scotland or Nora from Paisley.

    Of course, it is not fair to generalise, but Unionism is at the core of this xenophobia and hatred of others in Britain. Remember Jim Murphy shouting the loudest? Remember the media spin during the referendum? British Nationalism is real Nationalism and founded on the principles of invasion and abuse of other societies to conform to the ‘British” Empire ideal. The Tories have become, with a very few exceptions, utterly repugnant and I believe that the leaders of the Conservative Party are soulless. UKIP, Labour and the Lib Dems are not much better. Britain is tied in to Neo-Liberalism, big Multi-Nationals, Casino banking and an economy based on household debt. Its leaders try to protect this at all costs, using a compliant media and spin, as we in Scotland have already seen. There is a better way.

    Fortunately, compassion still abounds and the Germans, Icelanders, Swedes, Austrians etc are demonstrating their compassion, to their eternal credit. They have sovereignty and can run their own affairs without deference to others. However, I believe that the Scottish Government will also do what they are able to, within the constraints in which they are forced to operate and indeed it is pleasing to see that Celtic Football Club have already quickly stated how they will give practical support for refugees, which is part of their fundamental raison d’etre.

    What we are witnessing in the solidarity you described, is a sea-change in how people all over the continent are beginning to realise that many of their political representatives are not doing what they were elected to do and so are calling out for change. There is a feeling of purpose amongst them, which is growing and will not go away and we are seeing support for refugees at grass-roots level (and Government Level in some cases). It is at Government level that we need to see increased efforts. The UK Government has not behaved well thus far and should be thoroughly ashamed. It has much to learn from Germany, Iceland etc.

    Your words are welcome and demonstrate that there is some hope.

    “This determination and solidarity can be seen across the world. Images of football terraces sporting huge ‘Refugees Welcome’ banners; of hundreds of volunteers and passers-by welcoming and feeding new arrivals in Germany’s railway stations; of 20,000 marching through Vienna in solidarity – these images affirm our humanity and hope for the future. And while the initiatives above, and the countless more being organised, are good news, I can’t help but wish I were in Germany. To be welcoming large numbers of people to your country, to be able to pitch in and help as people finish their long, awful journey – I can imagine us doing that here with such enthusiasm.”

    Many thanks for your post.

    Saor Alba.

  3. Walter Hamilton says:

    If the Scottish people were in favour of refugees coming to Scotland and the majority in the Scottish parliament voted in favour, why not simply send a chartered plane over to Europe fill it with refugee families and fly them direct into Scotland. What could Cameron do, send a gun boat up the Clyde?

    1. katherine hamilton says:

      Totally agree. I said as much on WGD yesterday. Phone Germany, ask “what do you want us to do?” and tell Cameron to F off. This is a horror. We don’t need anyones permission to help.

  4. Bugsbunny says:

    If the Daily Record pushes it’s agenda onto it’s readers, then the readers of the Daily Mail pushes their agenda onto that fascist rag. Even if no right wing rags existed Daily Mail readers would still be bitter and twisted. Life has made them that way and they see threats to their lifestyle and wallet everywhere. The other is always a threat. Scottish Nationalists, Socialists, Liberals, Democrats of all persuasions, Pro Europeans, Anti Nuclear/War demonstrators, Anti Racists etc.

    Of course Women’s/Gay Liners also are high on their hate list. In fact anyone that could shed a tear for a dead child from foreign shores are despised from these people. They have no heart and they have no soul. They gave no sympathy for the other. Their hearts are hardened and they hate those that don’t tick their boxes. They will never change. Hopefully they will eventually die in good time and take their bile with them.

    Stephen Roney.

  5. Saor Alba says:

    Further evidence of sick Unionist xenophobia and blame.


  6. leavergirl says:

    It ticks me off when people knee-jerk brand the other side blithely as bigots. Refugees from Eastern Europe in the days of the iron curtain were nearly always put in camps… and in fact appreciated it, as a way station to something better. But now, camps are branded as bigotry personified. What bull.

    1. Lawrence says:

      These words put it better than I ever could and what is wrong with these ‘camps’ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Socialist.
      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.
      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. Martin Niemöller

      1. leavergirl says:

        Say huh?!

        1. John Mooney says:

          Leavergirl are you really as thick as your post seems to imply or just an offensive troll?As for the BBC broadcast yesterday the who clown who presented the broadcast should be sacked,he was a complete incompetent who totally lost control of the phone in,as for the rancid bigots spouting there uneducated merde they epitomized the sad nature of the bitter together acolytes!

    2. douglas clark says:

      It ticks me off that your reaction to a drowned child on a beach is to be in favour of what were / are no more than detention camps.

      The world is split in two. Those that care and those that don’t. Which side are you on?

      1. leavergirl says:

        Bizarre replies. Douglas, I care. I also don’t think anything wrong with detention camps. I am myself a refugee from another era. We were happy that camps like Treiskirchen in Austria existed and took us in, and helped.

        Why the F does everything have to be divided into “us” and “the bigots”?!

        1. Niels Bohr says:

          “Why the F does everything have to be divided into “us” and “the bigots”?!”

          Unfortunately, the use of false dichotomies is the discussion tactic of many a “progressive”, where any disagreement to an emotive position on a given subject is met with insults, labels and character smears in an attempt to shame the other party. As opposed than actually debating the point rationally. It’s ironically a similar approach as George Bush’s infamous “you’re either with us, or your with the terrorists” speech.

          It’s an authoritarian approach designed to silence opposing viewpoints which should be challenged at every opportunity, as it’s deeply illiberal.

  7. Sandy says:

    ‘We have room’ link goes to christian adoption site. Please fix.

  8. Shaunoftheundead says:

    I heard the caller with her WWII remarks and turned off in disgust.
    Daesh are not like an invading army, they are more like the barbarians at the gates of Rome, killing everything in their path, civilians or soldiers.

    On Radio 4 earlier I heard a moving interview with a Syrian English teacher saying why she had to leave and how she worried about her brothers and other relatives that were left behind. All she wanted was somewhere safe to bring her children up and to get a home and a job to pay her way.

    If the same was happening here everyone would be leaving and trying to find a safe haven.

    Ignorant people like Nora makes me sad to think people can be so selfish.

    Its bliar, broon and Camerons fault that this has happened, the UK foreign invasions and wars over the last 20 years have caused this mess and wrecked the countries that the refugees have had to leave.
    We should be taking above our fair share of refugees to atone for this.

  9. Fiona Morag Grahame says:

    excellent article

  10. Legerwood says:

    Agree with the article. Just one point though, where it states: “It’s true that immigration is reserved to the SNP,…”

    I thought immigration was a reserved matter to the UK Government.

  11. bringiton says:

    I hope our SNP MPs ask Cameron next week how much money he intends spending on his proposed bomb Syria campaign.
    Westminster’s solution to all problems……violence.

  12. My Cocaine says:

    “What kind of society are we, really?”

    We are a society that drives people to commit suicide when we force people back to work, when it’s clear they are not fit to work.

    We are a society that sends a work assessment form to a man with severe Down’s Syndrome, even though he cannot read, speak, or write.

    We are a society where one in four children are living in poverty. A society with a housing crisis, a society that is spending billions on nuclear weapons…

    I could go on. These are real problems affecting Scotland, and to call people bigots for raising legitimate concerns about refugees arriving in the UK, is typical of the left, it has long been their tactic of shutting down debate. Scotland does not have its troubles to seek.

    Personally, I’m quite happy to welcome refugees into the UK, but we have to look at the bigger picture.

    The Tories are hammering the poor and the disabled. Rightly or wrongly, if people think that refugees are getting preferential treatment, I can foresee nothing but disaster and resentment.

    As always, it is the poor who shoulder the burden when migrants and refugees turn up in large numbers. It is the poor who have to compete with these people for scarce low paid jobs, and long waiting lists for council houses.

    It’s all very well for the chattering classes to roll out the red carpet, but let’s look at the longer term view.

    1. bringiton says:

      As long as the London establishment continue to spend our tax money inflicting violence on others and the means to do so,we are going to have these sort of consequences.
      In all of my lifetime,I have heard Westminster bleating about how the country cannot afford to support our poorest citizens but can find money at the drop of a hat to fund military adventures.
      That is the sort of society we live in.

      1. My Cocaine says:

        Agreed. I have long argued that Britain should keep its nose out of the Middle East.

        1. Sam Mitchell says:

          I agree with the article & your comment My Cocaine… to quote one tim farron…. any “decent” person would feel this way…..

    2. GUNN says:

      no one seems to realise that theese refugees are not the poor of thier relevant countries theese are the people who have the money to pay for thier transport to europe they are not to be confused whith the real poor people who are left behind to die but no one wants to talk about that cause its not P/C

      1. Daroztoky says:

        I think you’ll find that being bombed out of their homes, being raped, tortured and murdered gives the refugees a pretty good reason to flee. I think it’s fair to assume that if you were in that situation you’d flee too.

  13. Golfnut says:

    ” immigration is reserved to the SNP ”

    I am sure you meant to write, immigration is reserved to Westminster.

    We as a country would not need to ask Diddy Cameron’s permission if immigration was reserved to the “Scottish Government.”

  14. Niels Bohr says:

    The entire #Refugeeswelcome and #wehaveroom positions as they apply to Scotland & U.K. are entirely emotive arguments that have little consideration of reality.

    Scotland is in the grip of a housing crisis – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-33065383 – as is the UK – http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/28/uk-housing-crisis-in-breach-of-human-rights – yet we still have politicians in this country taking a default position of opening our doors to thousands of refugees/migrants/asylum seekers.

    Why? because it is a popular, emotive position that plays to the gallery of virtue & morality signallers, rather than a practical, logistical and long term view that may be unpopular – despite being in the best interests of the populous – to consider alternative aid arrangements.

    Furthermore, the refugee crisis is one that has been orchestrated by ISIS, they are fully aware that forcing millions of civilians into Europe will weaken our economies as well as provide a cover for their operatives entry into enemy territory.

    1. leavergirl says:

      Well said, Niels. I would like to add that the responsibility must also be laid at the feet of those who went in to destabilize, occupy, ruin, and generally turn into failed states much of the near east and north Africa.

      1. Scott says:

        The UK being chief amongst those have created this situation.

    2. bringiton says:

      ISIS/ISIL was a creation of the AngloAmerican security apparatus and it’s friends in Saudi.
      It has now turned into a monster which they can no longer control.

    3. GUNN says:

      Niels i could stop most of it over night :- all you have to do is put every single male of age in to an army train them up and send them back to fight the people they are fleeing and before anyone says thats immoral the polish did it during ww2

      1. leavergirl says:

        Didn’t the Brits do it too? Lots of fleeing continental Europeans ended up in the British armed forces. And gladly.

  15. Broadbield says:

    Niels Bohr, perhaps you can answer this problem that has troubled me about your interpretation: A group of asylum seekers are locked in a container lorry with flask of poison and a radioactive source. A monitoring device detects whether or not some European country will give them a safe haven. If the forces of darkness, racism and self-interest prevail then the the flask is shattered and the people fleeing their war-torn country die. However, if compassion and human fellow-feeling come out on top then the flask of poison remains intact. Now, who will open the doors, and what will they find?

    1. Niels Bohr says:

      Your entire “problem” is putting forth a false dichotomy.

      You hold up “compassion and human fellow-feeling”, which would represent your position (presumably open door immigration) VS “the forces of darkness, racism and self-interest”, which represent anything other than your position. No other alternatives are put forth, your way, or the high way to hell.

      The parameters of your analogy are entirely self-serving, and are designed to do nothing more than to label and smear the character of anyone who has a differing point of view than yourself (see forces of darkness/racist/self-interest). It’s the same tactics of one G W Bush, who stated “You’re either with us or your with the terrorists”, entirely authoritarian in nature.

      Before you posted this question, I had already told another contributer (Leavergirl) who faced such tactics what to expect when debating with “progressives”. Scroll up to find it posted 4 hours ago.

      Unfortunately, the use of false dichotomies is the discussion tactic of many a “progressive”, where any disagreement to an emotive position on a given subject is met with insults, labels and character smears in an attempt to shame the other party. As opposed than actually debating the point rationally. It’s ironically a similar approach as George Bush’s infamous “you’re either with us, or your with the terrorists” speech.

      It’s an authoritarian approach designed to silence opposing viewpoints which should be challenged at every opportunity, as it’s deeply illiberal.

      Imagine my surprise, when just a few hours later you follow up with just this very same debating ‘tactic’ as other “progressives”.

      You contacted me in bad faith, you, and your attempted logic trap are nowhere near as clever as you seem to think.

      1. bringiton says:

        I thought this was a conversation about refugees,the causes and what needs to be done to prevent it happening in future?
        Perhaps not.

        1. Niels Bohr says:

          You were the one that brought flasks of poison and radioactive sources into the debate…

          Yet you suggest that i’m the one derailing the conversation?

        2. leavergirl says:

          LOL. Actually, it was Broadbield. Bringiton demands prevention. Sorry, dude, but as long as psychopaths run things, it’s bound to get worse.

        3. Niels Bohr says:

          Whoops, my mistake, apologies bringiton got you mixed up with broadbield

  16. Big Jock says:

    I always find it sad and ironic. That the I fought in the war brigade to beat the Nazis. Are often the most bigoted people when it comes to immigrants.

    The old Brits are riddled with xenophobia. I wouldn’t worry about Call Kaye. Good Scots don’t listen to her jingoistic patronising Lickspittle.

  17. Calum McLean says:

    the tories no surrender attitude on refugees had to change, but they were dragged kicking and screaming to make the change.

    The thrust of tory policy now appears to be that they want to bomb Syria. Bombing Syria is a cure all, panacea and silver bullet for the world’s ills and the antidote for IS, according to PM in waiting, osborne. It’s terrifying that the uk is reduced to this level in order to appear to be doing something, but this will appeal to nationalists, british nationalists!

    In Scotland we have our share of selfish nuts, but they are not in government, unlike in the uk. the uk is looking isolated from EU on the refugee crisis, freedom of movement, Middle East policy and social policies. All the conditions are in place for ukip to drag the tories further to the right with a possible EU exit on the cards.

    Contrast the uk with Germany, i.e. peoples estimation regards decency, morals and compassion, there is none. While Germany takes nearly a million refugees this year alone, the clowns in westminster propose spending 0ne hundred billion pounds on nuclear weapons.

    This crisis is an opportunity for Scotland to help desperate people, let’s not let the uk get in the way!

    1. My Cocaine says:

      On the contrary, I think the Tories are being sensible about their aims, and it is the Germans who are behaving irresponsibly.

      If the Germans want to take refugees in from Syria by plane, that’s their business, but by encouraging these refugees to cross numerous borders on their way to Germany, causing social problems along the way, the Germans have shown nothing but disrespect to their neighbours, as well as unilaterally tear up the Dublin agreement and Schengen.

      Cameron in contrast, wants to take refugees from the actual camps, not encourage a free for all, which the Germans have done by declaring open season for migrants.

      I do call them migrants, not refugees, because once they start passing through Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary et al, countries where they are not being murdered, persecuted or bombed, then they are clearly economic migrants, and we have enough of those in the UK.

      Given that the Tories are hammering the poor and the disabled, where do we house these people? Get them jobs?

      Rightly or wrongly, I foresee nothing but trouble if people think Syrian refugees are getting preferential treatment…

  18. james cormack says:

    The NHS in Scotland is desperately short of doctors and other medical staff.

    Surely we can have some professional people amongst the refugees to come to Scotland
    from the war zone in Syria, though you may accuse me of cherry picking.

    NB we should take the refugees fleeing war, not the economic refugees fleeing poverty.

    1. Anton says:

      “We should take the refugees fleeing war, not the economic refugees fleeing poverty.” But how would you tell the difference?

  19. leavergirl says:

    I am baffled. Look at the pics. It’s a wave of young black African men. I don’t see Syrians, for the most part… I don’t see families, for the most part… endless young men with just the clothes on their back. Not rags, either. What is going on?

  20. johnny come lately says:

    Whern I read some of the comments in respons to this this article it makes me a little embarrassed that I actually belong to the same species as some of these knuckle dragging bone heads. They must be trolls, I mean surely nobody can be that thick, that ignorant, and that cold without already having been sectioned under the mental health act.
    It might be a good idea that we send the boneheads like Niels Bhors and leavegirl to these war torn regions. In that way they can learn first hand why people are risking the lives of their children by fleeing and it will also create extra housing for the refugees.
    One thing is certain, society will be better off without them.

    1. Niels Bohr says:

      Oh look, another individual on BC that refuses to discuss an issue rationally, preferring to throw insults, character judgements and suggestions of mental illness at those who do not share their view on a particular topic. I guess mental illness is such a throw-away subject for you, that you can feel comfortable using it as a pejorative?

      When personal attacks is all you have, perhaps your position on a given topic isn’t as strong as you like to think.

      Let me guess, you consider yourself to be a “progressive”, right?

    2. Broadbield says:

      Yes, indeed, JCL. I’m thinking of going elsewhere for intelligent discussion, as quite a bit recently has been anything but, and some of it by the original authors.

      By the way, talking of false dichotomies, the existential crisis is anything but. My parody of Schrodinger’s eponymous cat (Google it, Niels) argues that we either help those refugees on the move or we leave them to die. Simple dichotomy. The long-term solution is a separate issue and has nothing to do with helping/not helping those on the move.

      As for the argument that it will only encourage others that is nonsense. Few people will move home, leave behind their belongings, their house, their jobs, their friends and relatives and everything that they know and own for a dangerous and uncertain trek to Europe and an uncertain future.

      Furthermore, most refugees eventually go home once conditions return to some form of normality. Those that stay generally make a positive contribution to their adopted country.

      1. Niels Bohr says:

        Thanks for confirming my position Broadbield.

        The binary choice you put forward was, as I described, a false dichotomy. In your own words, “argues that we either help those refugees on the move or we leave them to die. Simple dichotomy.”

        If you had actually read the post of mine that you responded to, you would have seen this “a practical, logistical and long term view that may be unpopular – despite being in the best interests of the populous – to consider alternative aid arrangements.”.

        For those that dare to examine or question the METHODS of HOW exactly we should assist those enduring the crisis, you have attempted to conflate/reframe their position, to one of “leave them to die”.

        This is why your argument is one of bad faith.

        1. leavergirl says:

          I guess a lot of the regular commenters on Bella are still on holiday. So we get the black&white thinkers who smear all who don’t goose step behind them.

          I am just starting to look into this “refugee crisis”. And something smells, and smells bad. About the story we are being told. Dig deeper, thinking friends, dig deeper….

          1. leavergirl says:

            Niels, I have a distinct feeling that the whole “progressive” contingent is self-destructing before our very eyes. Joining the Labour Party in their shooting self in foot efforts. Well, perhaps it’s high time. House cleaning, as it were… 🙂

  21. dunderheid says:

    There are 4.9 million refugees from the Syrian Civil War. What about those displaced during the not so sexy civil war in South Sudan or the thousands still living in camps 20 years after the various conflicts in Rwanda and DRC or the millions living in the gangster state of Somalia or what about the 100’s of millions living in abject poverty (a poverty that is far more deadly than any war) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Spouting self-righteous outrage about why the UK is not taking 10000, 100000 or 1000000 refugees is not showing compassion. It is self serving virtue signalling that makes you feel good about yourself at little cost.

    How to help the poor people I mentioned above…I honestly don’t know and that pains me. But I’d rather try and have a grown up discussion about it than think I can resolve it in 140 characters or less.

    1. leavergirl says:

      Dunderheid, here are some interesting thoughts from the always provocative Mr Kunstler of the Clusterfuck Nation blog.


  22. Peter Clive says:

    Thanks for this post, Jen … I was, like everyone else, deeply moved by the unendurable situation …

    I responded like this (I felt a response was needed)


    And wrote this wee poem


  23. Banksbroo says:

    Nice one, thanks Jen. I think the apparent xenophobia of some people is a symtom of the deeper “divide and rule” poison many people have internalised. It’s like people in poverty blaming other poor people for their problems.

    Solidarity – and practical support – for refugees also means solidarity with other groups of people in need too.

    Like with housing, we can see that “the market” and political policy at all levels created the housing crisis – not refugees. Less refugees doesn’t solve the housing crisis. More housing and a fundamental reform of the housing market will solve the housing crisis.

    There are so many (paid?) trolls on here that the posts of real BC readers get buried under a lot of dirt. I won’t be replying on any comments on this, as the old grice adage goes, “Don’t wrestle with a pig, you will both get covered in shit, but the pig enjoys it”.

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