Lord Dubs

dubs1Last week, I wrote to Lord Dubs to express my concerns that his amendment had been defeated to take into Britain 3000 Syrian children who have already made it to mainland Europe. The Government is prepared to take children directly from Syrian refugee camps by 2020, but I think this rather misses the moral issue and the urgency involved. This is not really a numbers’ game. We cannot- or should not- pick and choose how we do our charity and how we respond to those in need. When someone turns up on the doorstep asking for help, I think this is a God-sent opportunity, and it is also of course a political hot-potato. We can take it or leave it- that is about us, and that aspect of charity has always seemed a bit self-centred. Instead, we should ask- how about the Refugee child? How many parents can really imagine what it would be like to know their own children are stumbling across a foreign continent without much hope? I think, very few. We cannot expect others to suffer what we would not.

The 3000 Syrian children are our moral responsibility whether we help them now or not- indeed, more so now Labour is increasingly emerging as a party riddled with anti-semitism. We have to take a stand for what is right. We have to learn from the mistakes of the past.

I also wrote last week to Humza Yousaf. If Westminster will not take the lead on this issue, maybe Scotland will! Lord Dubs was instrumental in Necati’s fight for justice 15 years’ ago and his kind words and support are something I will not forget. While other MPs and Lords wrote to us, Lord Dubs picked up the telephone and called us.

Dubs was also a kindertransport child. When twits in the BBC and senior positions in our society like Livingston, are prepared to misrepresent the details of the rise of Nazi Germany, it is all the more vital that we learn the harsh lessons that history should be teaching us, and we should always listen to a man who has personal experience of that time. Bottom line- we did something but we could have done much more to help Jews in Germany. We cannot change the past but we can certainly do something about the future and our current mealy-mouthed numbers’ game is beneath contempt.

And a small point about self-preservation: if we really want to breed further resentment across the muslim world, then rejecting these children can only help to make things worse and here, instead, is an opportunity to send a message of goodwill. We should be building bridges, not erecting barriers.

 

 

26th April 2016

Dear Lord Dubs,

I am writing to express my deep regret that the support for refugee children failed in the Commons last night. I am writing as a current Tory candidate in local elections in Daventry, but also as the partner of Necati Zontul, a man who you kindly helped when our back was against the wall in Greece in 2003. Your amendment yesterday went beyond party politics and was a call to moral responsibility that has been misread by the Home Office and ignored by too many people in my own party. I am afraid History will judge this decision very harshly. If there is anything I can do in the meantime to support the wider campaign to give aid to refugees in need, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Tim Wilson

Dear Humza,

I am afraid some time has passed, and I am also standing in local elections next week: the outcome is not a certainty and the former incumbent is a labour councillor I much admire: she has set a standard for local politics that would be very hard to follow.

However, I have been following the amendment of Lord Dubs in the Westminster Parliament, and I have just written to him to express my great regret that this failed last night. You may not be aware of the story of my partner Necati Zontul, who was a torture victim in Greece in 2001. We owe a great debt of gratitude to many MPs and members of the Lords who wrote letters of support at the time. Lord Dubs very much led the way.

I know that you are very supportive of the refugee cause and I wonder if there is any progress that can be made on this issue after the election through the Scottish parliament?

4 thoughts on “Lord Dubs

  1. it is the principle we should support- we still need to set up safeguards and so on, but the principle of support must be set in stone and we cannot pick and choose who we help.

  2. About 2 months ago I read that most of them are not really refugees.
    They were people who were taking advantage of the situation and barged into Europe without actually wanting to adapt to a western lifestyle. This ruins it for tge ones really in need.

  3. I am sure some of the refugees are not authentic, but that should not stop our general response. We must be prudent in the way we process people who come to the UK, but the principle of acceptance must be paramount. That is a duty and an opportunity: we have a history of offering shelter to refugees and now is not the time to change the way we do things: if anything, we should do things better! that is the point. We can learn alot also from the response of Lesbos’ citizens to the huge number of migrants who poured on to their shores: overwhelming but also a demonstration of how local people showed how much they cared -of the little they had, they gave to those who had nothing. Don’t misunderstand, I think for years, Europe has overlooked the migrant problem in Greece and has not supported the efforts of Greek authorities to process migrants properly. To say that there was corruption in the Greek systems, again, is to overlook the fact that the basic help was too little – Europe was well aware this problem was too big for any single country but nevertheless it bullied and cajoled Greece into penury while the migration problem was allowed to get out of control. Any forward-thinking and prudent organisation would never have allowed this mess to develop over what has been a matter of years- But the people of Lesbos and the islands have demonstrated a level of humanity that is lacking in both Brussels and Westminster. Rufugees are not a numbers’ game, they are people in need, and children should overwhelmingly command our protection .

    It is not about behaving stupidly, or blindly, but about doing the right thing and doing it fast.

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