My column for Scottish Sun on Sunday 1st June 2014
WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR COMPASSION FOR IMMIGRANTS?
Following the electoral successes of the far-right across Europe, the French riot police marched into Calais to tear down the tents and shanty homes of illegal immigrants desperate to make their way to the UK.
Most people watching the TV reports will be have been entirely unsympathetic. We never invited them, why should we care, we are too much of a soft touch, we’re far too overcrowded- these will have been the standard responses to their plight? Any compassion for immigrants or even concern for these wretched men was eliminated a long time ago.
I’m not sure why people were still in Shock at UKIP picking up a seat in Scotland, after all it was reported that 1 in 4 Scots admit to racist attitudes. That’s not to say that that all their voters are racist, but they are certainly susceptible to the racist propaganda churned out by UKIP and the media.
I’m not so sure that UKIP vote was necessarily a protest vote. With a non-existent left, Nigel Farage has jumped into the vacuum as a ‘straight talking’, ‘cheeky chappie’, ‘champion of the people’.
The Unionist parties response to UKIP’s win in Scotland was one of unedifying self-satisfaction just because the SNP failed to get a third seat.
But I’m confused, the SNP actually won the largest share of the vote, whilst Labour lost the Euro elections to UKIP, a party who doesn’t even have an MP.
As for the Lib Dems, you don’t need an opinion poll to work out that these ‘mini-me Tories’ face a wipe out come General election.
There’s no point in blaming the people or Farage, it was Westminster that for decades has portrayed the UK as a tiny island threatened by alien hordes, whilst each successive party in power ratcheted up the inhumane policies which fed ignorance and hostility towards immigrants.
Just turn the clock back to when your own grandfathers first came here. Whether they were Irish or Pakistani, many of them would have been penniless, seeking a better life. Some locals and politicians would have treated them as scum, scapegoating them for all of society’s problems. But they persevered to become Jock Tamson’s Bairns yet they were no different to the new communities arriving on our shores today.
COMPASSION FOR IMMIGRANTS AT CALAIS WHY NOT?
It’s not popular to display sympathy for the men at Calais who crossed several seas to get to the ‘promised land’, many dying on their way. Even if these victims of war, famine or poverty make it to the ‘promised land’ they face hunger and homelessness combined with society’s contempt and fear. What is it we are so scared of? Are they really any different to our ancestors?
As for Nigel Farage that ‘ordinary bloke in the pub’, he’s nothing of the sort, he’s a privately educated, ex stock broker and Tory, who in 2009 was revealed as having received £2 million in taxpayers money for expenses at the European Parliament, so much for being a champion of the people.
Even if we put the idea of compassion for immigrants on a back burner, just consider the most worrying prospect for the people of Scotland is now possibility of a UKIP/Tory coalition. ‘Better Together’? Definitely not bring on the referendum.