Go home posters still up in Glasgow…

We know that Liberal Democrats within the Government have said that there will be no repetition of the Go Home poster vans which were sent to drive round certain boroughs in London.

We also know that there will be no repetition of the Go home posters displayed in the Glasgow UKBA office, again thanks to Liberal Democrats within the coalition. Sadly, though, these posters have not been taken down as some asylum seekers I met earlier this week at the Liberal Democrat Seekers of Sanctuary fringe meeting on Monday were able to verify on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Nico, from Zimbabwe, told us that when he saw the posters he felt like he wasn’t welcome in this country.

How good would it be if these posters could be taken down early? They only have two weeks to go, but that’s two weeks too long in my opinion.

We know that Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland, wrote a strongly worded letter to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for the posters to be taken down. I believe the word “distasteful” was used. A measure of the strength of feeling is that Scottish leader Willie Rennie has, unusually, signed an SNP MSP’s motion on the subject. Lord Greaves has also made known his feelings on the subject to the Home Office.

Setting the Record StraightThe Liberal Democrats for seekers of sanctuary fringe was very well attended. We enjoyed a delicious Indian buffet in the India Quay restaurant. We heard from several people who have fled persecution to come to this country.  Nico, mentioned above, came here from Zimbabwe at the age of 25 in 2000. His case has been going on for so long that the Zimbabweans can’t trace him on their identity database which was set up after he left. This has led the Home Office to refuse his application for asylum. Currently, he’s waiting to be evicted from his flat as he isn’t entitled to live there even though he’s appealing the decision. Imagine not knowing from one day to the next if you are going to have a roof over your head. Nico has no income, is not allowed to work and has to rely on charity for food.

I also spoke to Khalil who was granted leave to remain. He’s been in the UK for two years and was destitute and homeless to begin with. He was a human rights journalist in Kurdistan and told me how, after 10 people were killed and over 400 injured at a pro Tunisia/Egypt rally during the Arab Spring, he fled. Initially his application for asylum was refused because he was told that he could go and live in Basra or Baghdad.

The meeting also heard from Roger Roberts who compelled us to speak up for those people. He had also produced a leaflet which he asked us to distribute. Called Setting the Record Straight,it takes down some of the most popular misconceptions and myths surrounding migration. There is an accompanying Facebook page and Twitter account.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Jonathan Featonby 20th Sep '13 - 7:15pm

    Despite a delayed reaction to the “go homes vans”, the Lib Dem leadership has continually said that it opposed these type of policies. This is welcomed, but until the policies are actually stopped, it doesn’t do any good. Jeremy Browne said again at conference that, as Home Office Minister, he did not give the ok to these policies – we actually need to stop them though. It is a horrible message to send to individuals who have suffered persecution and should not be allowed to continue a minute longer.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '13 - 7:39pm

    You won’t get any argument from me on that .

  • Two things strike me here.

    1. It is ironic that the Government is using a font it obtained and used without permission to tell people apparently here without permission to go home. It’s always helpful when demanding people follow rules to make the example and follow them yourselves.

    2. These were put in place by a coalition Government in which Nick has said the Lib Dems have put the brake on Tory excess. What was planned by the Tories prior to the brake being applied, snatch squads? I think he needs a better brake at the Home Office.

  • Tony Greaves 20th Sep '13 - 8:18pm

    Suzanne Fletcher established on Tuesday, from someone who had to report that morning, that the posters were still there. I spent Tuesday afternoon trying to speak to someone in authority in the HO in Glasgow about what was happening and finally got a voicemail at 6pm telling me that “they will be removed on 4th October as we always intended”.

    By Wednesday it seemed too late to do anything in Glasgow such as picketing the reporting office so we decided to try to get some action through our relevant ministers (Nick Clegg and MIchael Moore) which Suzanne and colleagues have been doing. There is no doubt that the impression w as given at the weekend that due to LD pressure the posters had gone. It seems that the Glasgow HO officials have the same attitude to the rest of the world as the HO as a whole.

    More communications have been taking place today but I am not sure what the effect may have been.


  • Tony Greaves 20th Sep '13 - 8:31pm

    It turns out that the DPM’s office was told by the HO that the posters would be removed on 4th September but that some official made a mistake and should have said “4th October”. (But why should anyone expect the most inept department in the world to get anything right?)

    Advice has been given (not from the HO) that as part of the evaluation of the “pilot”, “everyone who attends the UKBA centre and is offended by the posters should make those complaints known, by writing to the Home Office and copying these letters to Jeremy Browne MP.”

    The fact that anyone can write this shows how little understanding they have of the real world of asylum and immigration. The idea that people think that the individuals concerned will make complaints to anyone in authority is breath-taking.

    Roger Roberts (Lord R of Llandudno) has now asked appropriate LD ministers to try to get them moved immediately.


  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '13 - 8:46pm


    Thanks so much for this. The efforts of you, Suzanne & Roger are very much appreciated.

  • Martin Caffrey 21st Sep '13 - 7:27am

    The Libdems are in coalition. Therefore you allowed these posters and vans to be used. Stop trying to distance yourselves from them as it isn’t working!

    And as for Jeremy Brown saying he didn’t give the ok for this, then what is he a minister for if he couldn’t do anything to stop their use?

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 22nd Sep '13 - 9:34pm

    “The efforts of you, Suzanne & Roger are very much appreciated”

    Totally agree with you Caron on this. Shame our LibDem MP’s have remain noticeably silent on this matter, one could even start to believe that they were complicate in the misbehaviour, especially after JB’s ridiculous recent comments about Islam.

    As the saying goes “all that is required for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing” and boy do we have a lot of nothing happening within our Party over this matter!

  • Tony Greaves 23rd Sep '13 - 12:02am

    “We” are not trying to “distance ourselves” from the posters in a vague sort of way, we are condemning them and actively trying to get them taken down. “We” being a number of LDs who are not members of the Government. A political party is not a monolithic body. At least, a democratic party is not.

    Tony Greaves

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