In full: Willie Rennie’s piece for the National on refugees: “We cannot stand by and leave this to others”

Willie Rennie has been writing for The National, Scotland’s daily independence supporting newspaper, about what he thinks should be our response to the refugee crisis. Nicola Sturgeon and Labour’s new leader Kezia Dugdale also wrote articles. Below is Willie’s piece in full. The parts in italics are those which ended up on the National’s cutting room floor.

As a country we have a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those facing persecution.

As far back as 1572, we provided safe haven to French Huguenots forced from their homes. During the Second World War, Nicholas Winton exemplified this spirit when he rescued 669 children from Nazi death camps.

The picture of a young child, drowned as he made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean with his familu, shames those who would say that we have no responsibility to help those fleeing conflict and war.

The situation facing refugees from Syria and elsewhere is desperate. They know the risks they face in making the journey to Europe. Thousands have died in the process. But still they come.

Last month, the new leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and I met with Amnesty International and the Scottish Refugee Council to discuss the crisis. They set out the scale of the challenge that we are facing clearly.

To those who would say that we cannot afford to take more refugees, I would say that you are wrong. We cannot afford not to. Failing to act would be a betrayal of our history and our international obligations.

Politics is a business rarely conducted in black and white. It is not often that a course of action can be said to be unambiguously the right thing to do. This is one of those occasions.

Taking more refugees and meeting our humanitarian responsibilities is the right thing to do.

We cannot stand by and leave this to others. We must not allow those who would close our borders to win this argument. I am pleased that Nicola Sturgeon will lead a summit today to look at what we can do in Scotland to help those fleeing conflict. I stand with her and all those calling on the UK government to work with our EU partners to address this crisis.

The response we have seen from David Cameron and the UK government to the humanitarian catastrophe we are facing has been inadequate. The time for action is now.

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

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4 Comments

  • Powerful piece!

    Italics don’t come up on my screen though. Could you repost highlighting the bits the National cut?

    Oh OK here is the Nationals text….

    ” THE picture of a young child, drowned as he made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean with his family, shames those who would say that we have no responsibility to help those fleeing conflict and war.

    The situation facing refugees from Syria and elsewhere is desperate. They know the risks, but still they come. Last month, the new leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Tim Farron and I met with Amnesty International and the Scottish Refugee Council to discuss the crisis. They set out the scale of the challenge that we are facing clearly.

    We cannot stand by and leave this to others. We must not allow those who would close our borders to win this argument. I am pleased Nicola Sturgeon will lead a summit today to look at what we can do in Scotland to help. I stand with her and all those calling on the UK Government to work with our EU partners on this crisis.

    The response from the UK Government to the catastrophe has been inadequate. The time for action is now. “

  • To those who can’t see the italics, the newspaper effectively removed all the sections that made reference to the fact that the UK (as opposed to just Scotland) has a proud history of accepting immigrants. ‘The National’ was set up after last year’s referendum, and though it pretends to be a newspaper it is in fact a shamelessly pro-SNP propaganda tool. OK they’ve accepted an article by a ‘Unionist’, but notice how they have removed all the bits that say nice things about the UK. Still, well done Willie for saying what needs to be said.

  • It doesn’t read like that to me TonyJ. It seems a perfectly reasonable article. Not detecting much pro-SNP in this :/

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