Monday, 17 October 2016

Say No to xenophobic Tory rhetoric

A letter I've had published in this week's Largs and Millport Weekly...

Dear Editor,

I don't think I have ever been as shocked by a newspaper headline as that presented in The Times on the morning of October 5th : “Firms must list foreign workers".

Now we're getting an idea of what Brexit really means. Theresa May is planning to impose some of the most right-wing policies on the UK that a Conservative government has ever sought to implement. It does not matter that businesses and organisations such as the NHS rely on immigrant workers to help provide the services we need, because it would seem that now we apparently intend to demonise them, make them register as migrants, and attack the NHS for hiring them in the first place, along with anyone else offering jobs to those not from Britain. Theresa May also stated elsewhere to the BBC that she will 'allow' foreign doctors to stay until indigenous doctors can be trained up – I am sure they are truly grateful for her magnanimous offer.

I have been ideologically opposed to the Conservatives my whole life, ever since the days of Thatcher. Despite our political differences, I always thought at least we had some core ambitions in common – a desire to achieve the best for our respective communities and our families, no matter how we differed utterly in our attempts to realise those ambitions. But now I am reading headlines advocating registration schemes for those deemed to be the 'other'. What next? No blacks? No Irish? Yellow stars on our sleeves? Are we really heading towards all of this as British national policy?

Do the Scottish Conservatives really support this new xenophobic right-wing direction that Theresa May is taking us down? Instead of asking them to check their rhetoric, Ruth Davidson, a former EU Remain campaigner, spent the conference in England cosying up to this new regime, even belittling Scots in one of her speeches to gain a cheap laugh: “Usually they put the Scots in a place where nothing can be broken. Or stolen for that matter”. Really Ruth? Really?

On October 4th our local MSP Kenneth Gibson led a debate in Holyrood condemning hate attacks against Poles. It received cross-party support, with the exception of the Tories. They abdicated their responsibility at a time when the national rhetoric their London bosses are sewing needs firmly to be challenged. So are the Scottish Conservatives truly Conservative any more? Or like their southern colleagues, have they simply abandoned their principles for the darker, inward looking, backward facing, narrow-minded, Brexit-ready British nationalism of UKIP? Increasingly by the day, it would seem to be the case.

Chris Paton, Largs

UPDATE: A Tory councillor down south has just been suspended for starting a petition calling for opposition to Brexit to be made a treasonable offence. You can't write this stuff - see