Column: UK Gov Approach to Rwanda ‘Gross Spectacle’


Categories: News

Values-based decision making must remain at the forefront of how we take political decisions. That’s why I’m proud to stand four-square behind SNP calls for an enduring ceasefire and peace in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and completely oppose the gross spectacle of the UK Government’s immigration and asylum policy.

Millions of pounds in taxpayers money have been wasted on the Prime Minister’s flagship ‘Rwanda’ scheme, whereby the UK Government would ship asylum seekers half-way around the world to have their asylum claims processed. Undeterred with small obstacles such as court rulings and international human rights law, the PM continues to press ahead and rest his entire credibility on a doomed scheme. Now we see otherwise sensible figures contemplate the ‘disapplication’ of human rights law. Chilling doesn’t cover it.

Why not instead properly fund existing Home Office processing capacity, and restore safe and legal routes? I sadly suspect the real answer is rather simple – he has gambled on a sideshow as a means of ‘deterrence’ for some of the most vulnerable souls in the world and his own MPs. It’s the final throw of the dice for a Prime Minister out of road and out of time.

As red meat to their base, the new Home Secretary announced sweeping increases to salary thresholds for visas – a sledgehammer to demonstrate resolve at reducing net migration to the UK. Not only does this belie the fact that migrants more often than not pay more into the system, they help grow the economy and deliver the critical skills and knowledge we lack. The entire trajectory of countless lives, and future plans, have been dashed overnight.

Our health and social care system alone would collapse overnight without migration. Scotland faces an ageing and shrinking population. And yet, the UK Government pushes ahead, stopping workers from bringing their families with them as they arrive at care homes to look after ours. It’s disgusting politics, economic illiteracy and the last gasp of a fading Tory party facing electoral oblivion.

In this age of polycrisis, our only hope is to find mutual ground and values as we attempt to navigate choppy seas. The Stirling Council Budget process is ongoing, and I’m in close contact with residents, businesses and communities over the impact mooted options may have. Whilst I question the Big Conversation’s lack of options – respondents couldn’t quite register opposition to options as clearly as I’d have expected – there’s no denying the pressure on public sector budgets both in Old Viewforth and Holyrood. Any budget cuts must take into account rural connectivity and accessibility, disproportionate impacts on the poorest in our society, and the folly of saving money now to spend more in future. I’ll work with anyone to best serve Stirling.