Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here

refugees welcome

So on Saturday I and a couple of hundred other Liberal Democrats made an appearance in London to take part in the refugee solidarity march taking place there, as well as countless other cities around the UK and Europe. Credit should go to Zack Polanski for organising the event and for Kelly-Marie Blundell for doing the hard task of organising a couple of hundred Lib-Dems throughout the event. In fact credit to all those who helped out whose names I’ve either forgotten or never learnt that helped keep us all together and organised; I once heard it said that herding cats was easier than organising Lib Dems, so full credit to them.

After a brilliant speech from party leader Tim Farron atop a wall we joined the main march and waited for the moving to begin. The march was very well attended, with a “conservative” estimate from police that upon reaching Trafalgar Square the crowd numbered 50,000. The good weather definitely helped keep the numbers up, and I was to prove grateful for the diamond I was carrying as it provided me with some shade!

Lib Dems of all ages and backgrounds joined the march, and some of the older members could easily match the volume of chanting my fellow LY members managed. On that note well done to whoever it was who created the chant “Say it loud, Say it clear, refugees are welcome here” and especially to the two lads who kept it going throughout the march. My throat may only have just recovered but it spread nicely through the crowd. It turns out that Lib Dems are very good at “football chants” as one fellow marcher described us on his megaphone whilst deciding to mock us instead of using his voice for the cause. It was rather fun to see dozens of Lib Dems start the chant in unison to drown him out.

It was wonderful to see so many Lib Dems present, especially fellow Liberal Youth members many of whom I hadn’t met before. It was good to see several big Lib Dem figures appearing in the march, but equally nice to meet new members who had joined since the election, several of whom stated this was their first activity with the party since joining. All were equally enthusiastic, although one fellow who stands out in my mind is the guy who ran all the way from the back of the march to catch up with us after arriving late; I hope someone brought him a cold drink afterwards. Were we all so dedicated…

I consider the march a fantastic success and we definitely got the message across that the Liberal Democrats support compassion. I unfortunately missed Tim’s speech, but I’m told some old bearded fellow rather stole the show. Probably no one of significance I’m sure.

I ended the day in the traditional “Lib-Dem Pint” chatting to members young and old about everything, although of course the conservation mainly focused on what that bearded fellow would mean for our party in the future.


Photo by Avril Coelho

* Will Wilshere is a member of Watford Liberal Democrats. He blogs here.

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  • Welcome where though? Where will they be housed? Where will they be educated? Where will they receive healthcare? Where will they work? Unless infrastructure is in place are you going to build camps instead? We already have poor and homeless, the NHS and svhools under strain with more of that to come under this government. Will they have less chance of help? All very well waving a placard, I’ve been there, done that. Makes you feel good but actually rarely achieves anything. I have not heard any practical solutions. However with 50000 on the March, taking into account some may live together that is a lot of refugee families that the protestors can house and support?

  • Will Wilshere 14th Sep '15 - 6:37pm

    Germany has followed their rights as part of the agreement to temporarily halt it. ALL traffic has been going to them because no other country is offering assistance. They’re in their rights to do it.

  • Feel-good-politics.

    As Anne mentions above – housing, healthcare, support. How will this be paid for? How long will they stay for? At what point does someone stop being a ‘refugee’ and becomes a ‘migrant’? All these potential problems, and more, just glossed over.

    Cheering people to risk their lives with the sort of character who we’d normally associate with trafficking women, too. Nonsensical grandstanding.

  • I despair at some of the comments.

  • Tim Hill then please come up with the answers!

  • Well done, Tim!

    Did you mean the ones entering the EU via the Balkans, or the ones arriving in Greece, or all of them?

    By the way, you forgot to give your home address and bank details.

  • Sorry, I should have addressed my comment to Will.

    Will and Tim, I think the comments are making the point that dealing with a refugee problem on this scale requires carefully considered planning, not rather stupid gestures.

    But don’t take it too badly, even the EU has got it spectacularly wrong.

  • So let me try and understand, we can take 100,000’s of people every year from eastern european countries and our schools, welfare and health services can cope and LibDems are happy with that. However, taking in 50,000 or so Syrian refugees – many highly educated and with their own money – running away from a dreadful war, is just too big a problem. I think Clegg and his mates may have damaged this party beyond repair.

  • Shaun Cunningham 15th Sep '15 - 8:57pm

    This country spent I billion within the refugee camps bordering Syria, Turkey and the Lebanon.. So please don’t say this country is doing very little. This huge financial commitment funds shelter, medical and educational facilities, provides a place of reasonable safety.

    This country will be taking refugees from the camps who have been properly documented, we have some idea who they are which is more than can be said about those tracking through Europe. Who are they? Do we have a right to know?

    We shouldn’t be making decisions while surrounded in an emotional haze because it makes bad decision-making. My final point, those who say open the doors do not have the sole right to the moral high ground. This issue is very complex and many issues remain unanswered. The imagery the media projects can be found in Africa every single day, where are tears for those children? Of course this issue needs rational debate but not an emotional one.

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