Why refugees are a gift, not a burden, to society: Alexander Betts

Refugees, via the cruel world of popularist politics, red top tabloid newspapers and social media, have become a problem and many of the underlying issues of Brexit have a foundation in racism and fear of those who are different. I was therefore pleased to see this modern-day ‘norm’ being challenged by Alexander Betts. Have a look at this video via Mark Pack’s web site, it’s an eye-opener:-

www.markpack.org.uk/136124/alexander-betts-refugee-talk/

And to think that not so many years ago the UK was very much at the forefront of helping refugees. Oh, what has become of my country?…………….

Syria, having helped to cause the mess we turn our back on it

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-35150037

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

Seems the Syrian people are reaping the harvest that we helped to sow last century. At the same time our Government turns its back on those with nothing who are fleeing the war that we clearly had a big hand in starting. Makes you proud (not) to be British.

Syria – Jen Robertson writes a guest posting – So the main issue is Jeremy’s ratings!

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/labour-moderates-syria-vote-party-politics?CMP=fb_gu

This struck me as an interesting article – see link above to The Guardian web site. The man’s clearly got his own (Anti-Corbyn) agenda, but he points out very well how disgusting it is that people are making political hay over a decision like this.

Throughout this debate I kept hearing again and again ‘what will Syria do to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership?’ a hell of a lot more than I heard anything about what might happen to Syria itself or even the UK’s own security. Maybe if everyone spent more time on actual politics and less on internal Labour party politics everyone might have a better idea of what the hell’s going on in the world. Certainly it might at the very least help Labour look a bit better, as at present it simply no longer matters who amongst them is in the right because the conduct of both sides condemns them all.

The vile responses to those who voted in favour of bombing Syria are a good example of how whether you’re right or not rather ceases to matter when you behave in a reprehensible manner. People using terms like ‘final solution’ and using tactics involving intimidation and sexism are very much forfeiting any moral high ground they think they have.

There was a horribly telling tweet from Stella Creasy in which she wrote, in response to a tweet that appears to have since been deleted, ‘Am not sure what my fertility has to do with this debate but if you are Walthamstow resident come on Sunday?’. Unfortunately Stella I can you exactly what your fertility has to do with it (though I’m sure she already knows) you’re a woman, which means you will find that when you upset people they will hurl misogynistic abuse at you, especially a woman in your position who has dared to enter the political world dominated by men.

For the record I absolutely don’t like the way Stella, Tim, and far too many others voted but I’m afraid I find it hard to believe that people who hurl abuse are genuine proponents of peace. These issues seem sadly indicative of a politics that has forgotten what it’s there for, these are not supposed to be rival gangs simply craving power, these are the men and women who should be working to better all of our lives. Shall we talk about the impact the vote will have on Syria, on international security, on the refugee crisis? Nah, Jeremy Corbyn’s career is clearly more interesting and if we’re lucky there’ll be an MP out there we can criticise for wearing the wrong skirt or not being a mother. And we wonder why people seem disaffected.

Syria – Lord Tony Greaves has his say

Below are the views of Lib Dem Lord Tony Greaves – I agree with him entirely.

Tony Greaves

My Lords, if we had the Motion in front of us to vote on tonight I would vote against it. In doing so, I would be voting for the views of the majority of members of my party. Last night, when the Liberal Democrat MPs said they were going to support the Government, with various caveats, a ripple of surprise and shock went through the party. Some of us spent a great deal of time last night talking to people who were angry and felt they had been let down by our MPs.

British bombing will have little effect in practice. On its own it will not make any real difference. In that and many other respects I associate myself with the remarks that have just been made by the noble Lord, Lord Judd. The danger of ‘mission creep’ is a real problem.

The main impact of the Government’s Motion, this debate and the debate in the past few days has not been on international politics but on British politics. I have tried to understand why the Government have brought this forward at this time but I find it difficult to do so. My noble friend Lord Taverne may have some ideas.

Last week, the Liberal Democrats and Tim Farron, as leader, stated five conditions for supporting the Government today. He wrote to members of the party and said:

“We are writing to outline the criteria against which we will judge our response”.

He referred to five conditions. I emphasise the word “conditions”. The first was legal and I do not want to say anything more than my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford has said because he is an expert on these matters and I am not. The second was a wider diplomatic framework,

“including efforts towards a no-bomb zone to protect civilians.”

I see no evidence that there has been any progress on that.

The third was the United Kingdom to lead—I underline the word “lead”—a concerted international effort to put pressure on Gulf states, specifically Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, to stop the funding of jihadi groups and to do much more to assist in the effort to defeat ISIL, establish peace in Syria and help with the refugee situation. It was added:

“They are currently doing very little”.

I think that was a reference to the Government. I see no progress whatever on that or any commitments given. The fifth was domestic. Among other things he said:

“We call on the Government to step up its acceptance of Syrian refugees, and opt in to Save the Children’s proposal to re-home 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from within Europe”.

The chances of this Government agreeing to that are close to zero. If I am wrong, I will hold my hand up and praise them to the heavens.

We are also told that things have changed because the Vienna talks are taking place and that this means there will be co-ordinated international action, a plan for the future, plans for the regeneration of Syria, rebuilding and so on. That seems to be an argument for waiting until that is in place before taking the kind of action now being proposed.

I do not believe that what is being put forward by the Government will work. In three or four or six months’ time we will be debating this issue again and people will want to do more. There is an old maxim: if you are in doubt about things and not completely convinced, first do no harm. Bombing at this time in Syria and Raqqa will do more harm than good.

With thanks to Tony Dawson for the lead to this posting