Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Vote Right

Scotland is a tiny, poor, meaningless appendage on the edge of Britain, whose tenement-born population are condemned to Tory rule for the rest of their lifetimes.

That's the depressing picture this morning.

Westminster now has the most right-wing government in a generation. Amber Rudd and Jeremy Hunt have made racism OK.  The mainstream media, controlled by a handful of right-wing barons, will take up this theme and soon we will have lynchings in the streets. Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere, who between them control 60% of UK print media, will (ironically, in Murdoch's case) bang the no-foreigners drum.

As the excellent Dr Tanja Bueltmann has pointed out, they - the barons and the Tories - are shining their Tory-blue spotlights on 'foreigners' and 'immigrants' in order to distract our attention from the bigger issues.

The bigger issues are much, much more important than the bash-the-migrants distractions of the Tories. They are as big as the millions of refugees fleeing wars created, in part, by Westminster governments. As big as the poverty that affects 220,0000 children in Scotland, or that means poor Scots cannot warm their homes this winter. As big as climate change.

The people of Scotland did not vote for this right-wing mess. Scotland's view will be ignored while Westminster plunges into the Dark Ages of a 21st century Fortress Britain.

Monday, 3 October 2016

No Hostage

I am one of those Britons in Europe, to whom David Davis, Brexit Secretary, referred yesterday:

"When it comes to the negotiations, we will protect the rights of EU citizens here, so long as Britons in Europe are treated the same way."

So now I am a bloody hostage to the Tory Party. 

One of a million people with a UK passport who have taken 'freedom of movement' at its face value and have moved across the waters to continental Europe or the Republic of Ireland.

And now we are hostages.

Hostages for the 134,910 non-UK EU citizens living in Scotland - the 'reverse diaspora' - who include Catalan students at Glasgow and Stirling Universities whom I know, and thousands of others.

I welcome EU citizens to Scotland in the same way as I was welcomed here in Catalonia. Scotland needs these bright, young, exploring, adventurous people for lots of reasons - to help business and the economy to grow, to keep Scotland thinking global, and because we have an ageing population. Migrants bring new ideas, new ways of working and a wider world view to the place.

I don't want to be a hostage to the fortune of Mr Davis' calamitous negotiations with Brussels. I don't want to be a one-for-one hostage exchange on some Bridge of Spies over the channel, my life in Catalonia for my friend's life in Scotland.

Count me out, Mr Davis.