Tag Archives: refugee crisis

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.

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Not in my name: British diplomats who joked about refugee quotas disgrace this country

There have been many reasons over the Summer to be thoroughly ashamed of our Government’s response to the growing humanitarian crisis on our doorsteps.

We’ve all seen the news reports. We all know that people just like us are enduring incredible suffering. The difference between them and us is that we live in a part of the world that has seen relative stability and security these last 70 years since the EU came into being. For all it’s many faults. at least none of us has been put in the position of having to flee our homes because it is simply not safe to be there, because our government was gassing us with chemical weapons, because a brutally murderous death cult was trying to wrest power from a brutally murderous government. Imagine the fear and desperation these people are going through as they leave their home nation for a very uncertain future.

When even a UKIP supporting family friend says we should be helping these people, it is very clear that David Cameron, with his “n’owt to do with us” approach, is very much out of step with the feeling in this country. Hell, even Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson gets it:

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Farron: Enough is enough. It’s time to help refugees in need in response to Independent’s heartbreaking photo of a little dead Syrian boy

As David Cameron goes on the news and tells us all that we can’t take any refugees, but we are doing all we can to make life ok in the countries they come from, Tim Farron has been telling the Independent that we need to take in more refugees.

Cameron knows perfectly well that Syria is far from ok. How can it be when you have a brutally murderous dictator fighting a brutally murderous death cult for control?

Had we still been in Government, Cameron’s comments would have chilled me to the bone. The truth is we haven’t done enough to offer sanctuary to people in need throughout the whole crisis, not just this Summer. Nick Clegg certainly managed to ensure that we did take some people from Syria who needed specialised support but nowhere near enough.

The Independent has published a heartbreaking photograph of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach. They know it’s going to upset people. This is their explanation for so doing:

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Roger Roberts calls for Parliamentary debate on refugee crisis

So, the Westminster Parliament resumes on Monday after its Summer recess. The Commons debates the EU Referendum Bill, the Lords the Energy Bill. With a growing humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, though, can it really be business as usual?

Liberal Democrat peer and passionate advocate for the fair treatment of those who seek sanctuary Roger Roberts thinks not. He wants the current agenda to be postponed in favour of debates in both Houses on the crisis. He said on Facebook:

Next Monday Parliament reconvenes. I plan to have discussions today to treat Monday as if it was for the recall of Parliament to have an emergency debate on the Refugee crisis. With many thousands of people involved in what appears to be one of the major humanitarian crises of our time.I would welcome as much support (facebook – messages to M.P.s and Peers etc) as possible.

I think it would be good to have Parliaments in Scotland and Wales debate the issue too, especially if they are able to say that they are happy to take refugees in their areas.

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Tim Farron in Scotland: Scotland’s parties can embarrass Tories into action on migrant crisis

Tim Farron was up in Scotland today, on his first visit since becoming leader.. He hosted a roundtable session in Edinburgh with the Scottish Refugee Council, Amnesty and the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group. Issues discussed included devolution and refugees, making asylum work for women and what political parties could do in the UK and Scotland to campaign for fairer treatment of vulnerable refugees.

Here they are having their discussions:

Amnesty’s Scottish Director welcomed the meeting:

After the meeting, Tim said:

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