Sir Menzies Campbell: “We will not allow Nigel Farage to set our moral compass”

On the Today programme this morning, Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife Sir Menzies Campbell debated the decision by the Government to give sanctuary to some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees with Conservative MP Brooks Newmark who was less enthusiastic, it’s fair to say, about the idea.

Of course it’s a question of humanity and we should not allow the argument about immigration to stand in the way of our responsibility and we should not allow Mr Nigel Farage to set our moral compass in this matter.

Newmark said that if Britain was giving more money than other EU countries, we shouldn’t feel obligated to take in refugees as well.  You could hear the exasperation with such an insular, uncompassionate attitude in Sir Menzies’ voice:

These are not mutually exclusive. The fact that Britain has given £600 million is something of which we can legitimately be proud. We’ve also been part of the political effort going on at the moment in Geneva to try and find a political settlement out of this terrible morass. But none of that, however praiseworthy it is, can be regarded as being inconsistent with exercising the kind of humanity which legitimately might be expected of a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations.

You can listen to the whole thing here:

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  • It seems a pretty odd quote, given that Farage has supported the taking of Syrian refuges.

  • Farage supported it for a day, till his members objected. Then he said only Christian refugees.

  • As Jack suggests, it shows Menzies as being woefully out touch, when a simple Google of [ nigel farage syrian refugees ], would have saved him the embarrassment of penning this article. If anything, Clegg and the Lib Dems, are late, to this call for help.
    @ Paul Barker
    It is still Ukip policy to help Syrian refugees, and ‘Christian refugees’ are still refugees, are they not? Or are you suggesting that Syrian Christian refugees suffer less trauma?

  • A Social Liberal 29th Jan '14 - 1:01pm

    If I got Camerons message right, he is basically saying that we will willingly pay £600 million in order to keep them in harms way over there, rather than have them safe over here . . . . apart from 600 that we can use to show we’re doing our bit.

    Indeed David, we are doing a bit – far too little a bit.

  • Melanie Harvey 29th Jan '14 - 1:23pm

    As one of Newmarks constituents and based on my dealings with him, I am somewhat concerned he wishes to only offer the least possible help in accommodating victims. Seems an empty gesture in order to not appear so harsh.

  • John Dunn The only reason Farage said “only Christians” was to avoid the Islamophobia, which is, of course, huge among UKIP supporters and similar thinkers. Syrian Christians, as I understand it, generally support Assad, so IF we took the (strange) decision to support Christians and not Muslims and others, we would logically be taking an approach similar to the Russians, and looking for ways to keep him in power.

  • Tim13
    If you follow your logic through, it suggests that :
    Syrian Christians are a protected minority under Assad. So to maintain that protection, do you suggest we keep Assad in power !!?)
    If Assad is to go ( as many want), then by definition Syrian Christians lose their protection, and are under greater threat to their lives in a post Assad country. Thus increasing!! their refugee status.
    You can’t have it both ways, and try to deny that Christians in Syria are not a threatened minority, deserving consideration as refugees.

  • John Dunn I didn’t say they were not a minority, levels of threat against them no doubt go up and down, and are at present high. But then clearly some Alawites are a threatened minority. And Sunnis are (currently) a threatened majority. By singling out Christians for special attention, we would be discriminating.

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