While the sacking of a Home Secretary whose stance on migrants was so appalling might be welcome, the re-emergence of a former Prime Minister as a newly created Life Peer to become Foreign Secretary shows how broken Tory Britain has become.
To see David Cameron, whose EU referendum loss to trigger Brexit crowned his damaging reign as the architect of austerity, waltz into his new cabinet post is somewhat chilling. Folk in Orkney will recall his ‘lead, don’t leave’ plea ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, which was quickly replaced by ‘English votes for English laws’ just hours after the No vote was secured. The Orkney businesses that have been hit hard by the EU exit know Cameron’s damaging legacy all too well.
However, it is the exit of Suella Braverman – which had been trailed over the weekend and was sealed after her criticism of the police emboldened right-wing rioters in London on Armistice Day – that I want to focus and reflect on.
For this was the woman who warned that Britain was facing a “hurricane” of migrants as she whipped up anti-immigration sentiment among the Tory faithful at a conference speech in early October.
It exemplifies the direction of the Tories at Westminster on migration, something that is completely at odds with what the SNP at Holyrood aspires for Scotland.
The latest ‘Building a New Scotland’ paper shows how differently an independent Scotland could approach this issue.
I had the pleasure of launching our ‘Migration to Scotland after Independence’ paper earlier this month along with Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville and Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Independence.
It shows how we can reject the appalling immigration policies that Suella Braverman so fervently championed, and which are currently forced upon us without our consent, and instead make these better and positive choices for the future of our country.
As a normal independent country, we would be able to welcome those who want to contribute to our communities and support rural and island areas to become more sustainable by attracting talent and increasing the working-age population.
Scotland could fulfil its international obligations by providing safety and security to refugees and take an approach to asylum policy based on dignity, fairness, and respect, in stark contrast to the current ‘hostile environment’ stance of the Tories.
It needs to be recognised that migrants contribute more through taxes than they receive in public services, keeping those public services going, whilst looking after our elderly and sick.
When we have staff shortages in so many areas then a new migration policy in an independent Scotland would be transformative in growing Scotland’s working population and our economy.
Alongside this positive migration policy, reversing the legacy of David Cameron by re-joining the EU would bring back the freedom of movement enjoyed for decades by so many Scots, whether for work or pleasure.
Compared to increasing Westminster insularity, these changes would be a welcome breath of fresh air for an independent Scotland.
This is a regular column by Emma Roddick SNP MSP. All Highlands and Islands Regional MSPs have been offered the same space to share their personal views in The Orkney News.