Our group Leader on Basingstoke & Dean Borough Council, Councillor Gavin James, had the opportunity to contribute a short piece to the Basingstoke Observer. He wrote about the refugee crisis, although it is important to note that this was before the tragic photos of Aylan appeared last week.
Gavin had a tight deadline and a limit of 250 words but he produced an excellent article. Not only is it a well argued piece on one of the most important issues facing us but it is also a great example of using every opportunity to communicate the values that the Liberal Democrats hold. It shows how we can use local government as a base from which to put our arguments on issues that go well beyond conventional local government issues. With our much reduced number of MPs we need to exploit every such opportunity.
A number of groups are now putting forward motions on the crisis in their councils.
His theme was the current situation on immigration. Our Government does discrimination. We must challenge it?
When one of our colleagues tells us they are moving away to take up an offer of work or promotion, we respect their courage and wish them well. When we hear of parents going to extraordinary lengths to secure their child treatment overseas, we are moved by their story and bravery. And when we hear of the unemployed who move to find work rather than live a life on benefits, we recognise and respect their values.
It is human nature to want the best for your children, family and self. We would do the same and wouldn’t be critical of those following natural instinct.
So let’s imagine that rather than a colleague, it was a farmer from an Africa who had his family killed and land taken by a corrupt government. What if it’s parents travelling overseas so their children can escape abusive treatment? And what if was a person tired of living off charity and wanting to earn enough to prevent his friends and relatives dying early of hunger and curable diseases?
Our government refer to these people as a ‘swarm’ and order a bigger fence to cage them in? No recognition of bravery or values, no respect and unmoved by their stories.
These are real people, following the same human nature of wanting a better life for their children, family and self. We would do the same and wouldn’t be critical of those following natural instinct. So why are they treated differently?