24 Nov 2015

No place for bigots

It would take a heart of stone not to be moved by the plight of refugees fleeing from the brutality in Syria. I can only think how I would feel if it was my children or grandchildren. The response from ordinary men, women and yes, children in Scotland has been overwhelming and moving. Despite their own difficulties, they have been donating money, clothes, toys and household items. I fully back the offer to bring some families here from the refugee camps on the Syrian border. Obviously thorough checks will have to be done and I know that’s happening. The support from local councils, churches, voluntary organisations and charities has been fantastic and a few families have now arrived here in Renfrewshire. The welcome has been kind and warm as you would expect from civilised people in a civilised country. What has not been so welcome is the sickening and despicable response from a bigoted minority. This handful of bigots has taken to social media with vile and inhumane comments which bring shame to our community. Yes, we have a duty to help those in our own community who are in need and the donations to local foodbanks have been extremely generous. But if we can’t find it in our hearts to help a few families with children who have been forced out of their own country, then I do fear for the type of country we would become. Thankfully the decent majority will welcome these poor refugees and I hope, isolate the bigots. I also expect Police Scotland to take action against anyone who posts implied or inferred threats or hateful comments.