Wednesday 2 September 2015


Seriously: Do not read on unless you have a strong stomach.

I wanted to share this with you.

Not everyone who reads this will feel as strongly about this as I do. We've talked about it on here quite a few times, and I know there are some who at least to some extent, disagree with me.

That's fine. I have no problem with disagreement, but it won't make me feel any less wretched.

The refugee crisis is horrific. I'm not sure that horrific is quite strong enough a word, but it is the best I can do for just now. Maybe you can improve upon it.

My Twitter feed keeps throwing up pictures that I find seriously distressing. It would be easier to simply unfollow the people who are tweeting this, but that won't make it go away.

Just for example, here is Homs in Syria. A before and after pic. This is what people are fleeing. 

It used to be a nice place, busy, clean, greenish... and now it's not.

People used to live in these houses, work in the shops, go to the schools.

This is where some of these people are now. (Don't go any further unless you are prepared for a shock).

I don't know whether these dead people came from Homs or not. The chances are that they didn't. They may not even have come from Syria. They may be Libyan, or Iraqi, but Homs is typical of the kind of place they are leaving. And the conditions there aren't a hell of a lot different from those in Tripoli or so many other places in the Middle East or North Africa.

This has happened to too many people. Too many people desperately looking for a new life have found death at the hands of people traffickers who have charged them their life savings to get away from the bombing and killing.

Humza Yousaf, our minister for external relations, has said that Scotland and the Scottish government stands ready to do its part in the international effort to help the refugees, along with countries like Germany, Sweden, Austria and even little Iceland. Nicola Sturgeon has backed him on this.

London, it appears, does not share his humanitarian outlook. 

It seems the British Prime Minister, whilst busily reminding us that "we" are a Christian country, hasn't got past page 2 of his Bible and his boss, whose every action is  mindful of the teachings of Christ, must be on a day off.

These kids could be your kids, or my kids. How can we do so little?


  1. This article and the one below somehow seem 'right' sitting one after the other. Both are the result of British state 'thinking'.

    1. Thinking might be a slightly flattering description of it, Brian.

      Britain only seem prepared to play a major part in international affairs if it involved going to war and blowing bits out of people.

  2. "How can we do so little?"

    because we, in Scotland, are shackled politically to a right wing, anti Johnny Foreigner government that doesn't care for its own citizens in distress, never mind those of other countries. There are lots of good folk in England but they keep electing bastards. Immigration and asylum seeking is reserved so Humza and Scottish Government can think and say what they like, there is nothing they can do except lobby Westminster.

    STV today has a new poll, if referendum today then

    Yes 53%

    No 44%

    don't know 3%

    and Yes is 55% when don't knows are removed.

    I think more people have realised that the kind of country that turns its back on people fleeing destruction and whose PM calls them a "swarm" isn't one you'd want to be associated with!!

    Sorry if anyone is offended by my mentioning the poll but as Brian says the refugee crisis is symptomatic of British state/establishment thinking.

    1. Yes, I've already automatically started to refer to Britain as "them". Certainly I don't want to be associated with a country that one day can find half a billion pounds to do up a dock for weapons of mass destruction, considered too dangerous to have anywhere near Portsmouth's 200,000 population, but not too dangerous to have near Glasgow's 600,000 population, but fails dismally to take its fair share of the human fall out for Middle East chaos, for which, in part, it was responsible.

      The poll is excellent news.And I can't see why people would be offended by it being part of your response. As you so rightly say, at present we can only carp form the sidelines about the lack of action because we don;t control our own borders. There's not much point in looking to Home Secretary Terrible Tessy for any kind of compassion. She has water in her veins, and I'm not sure there's anything in Foreign Minister Yawn Philip Yawn Hammond's the most boring man in the word's veins.

    2. I don't disagree with your comments, Panda.

      But, how many people can we take in? You cannot open the doors to all, as this would simply open the floodgates. Every country needs to be involved, and by that I mean Europe.

    3. As I've said before Anon, we need a multi track solution to this.

      We need to take some people. I know we are desperately poor, and owe more money than we could ever pay off, but we need to take it on the nose and accept that if we can afford to be a big cheese in the world with the 4th largest military spend, then we can do something to help refugees.

      All I'm asking is that we play a role in that. German is taking the lead, as well it might . It is a rich country and a big one too.

      Small countires are taking far more than we are.

      We need to be looking at how we can help alleviate the suffering in other ways too. And that doesn';t include bombing more people and we need to stop the traffickers.

      We need bigger and better brains than mine on the job. It seems we don't have too many.

      Maybe Westminster should ask the Scottish government for ideas.

      Right now we need to remind ourselves that these are people. There are someone's kids. And it's not just kids. One lad form Afghanistan has pushed his grandmother in a wheel chair, and come all the way to Europe. (I'm not saying he pushed her all the way on foot, but he came overland. That's some job! I know lads around here that wouldn't nip to the corner shop for their elderly relatives.

      These are people and we are people. We must do something.

    4. What do you think we can actually do about it, import more barking mad islamic religious lunatics ?

    5. You'll find that they [the barking mad islamic religious lunatics] are trying to get to Daesh, not run away from it.

  3. As you know, I'm no believer in a God, but the old proverb of, there but for the grace of God go I; springs to mind. Mans inhumanity to man, seems to know no bounds, it goes beyond horrific; it is abhorrent and obscene; it is inhumane.

    1. Yes exactly. There but for the grace of god, or fate or call it what you will.

      I would hope that if it ever happened to us that we'd find better friends than the UK

  4. I'm glad you posted this, Tris.
    Horrible, horrible horrible.
    I only wish the bastards that run this so called Great Britain would allow images like above to be shown on national TV.
    I'm away for a wee greet.

    1. Cheers Jutie. I seriously didn't know whether to or not.

      No we won't get to see images like this on tv here. Not of the refugees nor of the things that are being done in Israel and Palestine.

      If anyone sees this kind of thing without tears in their eyes, then I think there's something missing about them.

  5. Shocking images Tris, but thanks for showing them.

    I'm surprised that few people ask the question "What are these people fleeing, and who is doing it?"

    1. I think it's something we haven't probed too much. It's certainly complex.

      I suspect that when Cameron does take some action, it will be to go to war.

      I hope he knows who he is going to war for, and against.

  6. God forgive the utter, utter scum, "our" UK leaders who have directly caused this by reducing the Middle East to Hell on Earth country by country.

    Other than pure Wickedness we can only speculate - as much as we are allowed to - on why this is really being done.

    And shame on anybody who gives even a shred of credence to the UK and US's lies that this is about promoting "Democracy" and the results are an unfortunate consequence.

    1. The Middle East is such a mess.. I suspect mainly to the interference in earlier days of the French and the Brits.

      When they carved things up so selfishly, they never thought about the consequences of what they did.

      Of course the Iraq war left the whole massive Iraq territories open to Al-Qa'ida and IS adn the uprising against the Syrian government opened it up further.

      The defeat of dictatorial but strong leaders in Egypt and Libya have left North Africa in a totally unstable state with no one strong enough to contain the various factions that were forced to live together in one falsely constructed country.

      Let's be honest ...would you want to stay there?

      And who would you blame for the mess.

      People like Saddam or Qadaffi may not have been "nice" leaders, but they did what they had to to keep the peace, and as far as I could make out life in either of these countires was not incredibly awful.

      Until we poked our stupid noses in.

      Democracy doesn't work everywhere.

      In any case, the UK should be the last country in the West to be promoting it, given that there is so little of it at home.

    2. But Tris we again come up against the idea that somehow this horror story - from Afghanistan to Syria - is somehow just a big "Accident" caused by selfish, incompetent but generally well meaning attempts to promote democracy and get rid of nasty dictators,

      However what is happening is more or less what was meant to happen - the reduction of the entire region to debilitating chaos - for as I said reasons we can only speculate about.

      And directing ire against "ISIS" and "people traffickers" is futile - they are just "Bit players" in this game.

      And just who exactly are "ISIS/IS" anyway with their rows of shiny new 4x4s and state of the art weapons just off the American and Japanese assembly lines?

    3. I know. These are good quesions Kyle. What is ISIS? where did it come from? What are its aims?

      And of course you are right in that dealing with the traffickers won't stop the misery of bombed out homes. It will just leave these people nowhere to go. Is that better than leaking boats?

      It will take greater brains than mine to find a solution.

      I wonder if the reason for the reduction into debilitating chaos has anything t do with the Saudi royals.

    4. See "Lawrence of Arabia" for the truth , more or less, behind that story, or can I recommend "A Century of War" by F.William Engdahl (google him)

  7. Och Tris. That wee boy looked so much like my youngest grandson...

    Rage. Rage!

    1. Conan I'm truly sorry if that caused you pain. I bet he gets an extra hug when you see him. Thank god it's not him.

      But he's some loving grandad's wee lad.

      Rage is right.

      Let's get these traffickers who sell passage on overladen rust buckets. Let's make them pay.

  8. Well done posting these pics.

    Gerry, you're absolutely right - these people are genuine refugees. But what makes them so desperate to try crossing the Med in a flimsy inflatable?

    Perhaps it is time to get the gloves off, and deal with those causing misery, be it people traffickers, ISIS or whoever. Use the resources for humanitarian reasons, not political.

    1. Thanks Anon. Let's get the traffickers first.

      I heard that the Chinese were incredibly good at dealing with the pirates that operated off the East African coast.

      Maybe they could do the same again.

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks CH.

      It would be helpful if everyone who has Twitter or Google accounts, could pass that on.

      Munguin will do his bit.

  10. Sorry for posting anonymously but I don't know how to use the other options.

    If seeing such pictures gives folk a spur to put pressure on governments (who will be well aware of them and undoubtedly others which are not in the public domain) to help then they should be widely published.

    I saw a recent (not UK) new report on the Irish Navy still doing their bit rescuing boat loads of refugees. No mention of the RN since all the hype of sending a ship loaded with camera crews and reporters for a week. Having said that, there could be a Trident submarine in the area for all we know.

    Also - when did refugees suddenly become migrants? Is the UNHCR going to bow to pressure from Mr Top Table Cameron and become the UNHCM?


    1. Finn: it's fine to post as Anon, and it is really helpful if you can put, as you have, a name at the bottom of the post. :)

      Immigration has become a huge political hot potato for the London parties.

      Cameron came to power saying that he would stop all these people coming to Britland, where of course, most of the world wants to live because it is so perfect. He has failed dismally because he fails at most things, and the Home Office is so incredibly inept that it fails at most things.

      Mrs May is however going to be telling immigrants from outside the EU that unless they earn over £30,000 a year they will have to go home. Bang, of course, will go the NHS, especially in England.

      The Irish have always done their bit , b ut they do it quietly without bragging about it. According to an interview I heard this morning on radio with Andrew 'Pleb' Mitchell and Mrs Varsi, Britain is giving shed loads out of its overseas aid budget (the one it has to keep up, or lose it's G8 seat) to the area... in addition to bombing Syria. So they were feeling quite smug about how well it was doing.

      I dunno about the Trident submarines, though... Probably neither does the MoD!!!

  11. I have seen the pictures of Cologne and Berlin after the war. That's what happens in modern wars. The civilian population is attacked and the infrastructure is destroyed. Man's inhumanity to man. I remember siren voices begging for the RAF to bomb Syria ( and Libya ) not so long ago. So I suppose I am inoculated against those images. When its over - as it will be eventually - it will be rebuilt.

    And those of dead children? The overwhelming majority of refugees from Syria are in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Some however have elected to move to the EU. They are selective in some cases, wishing to live in Sweden or Germany. I suspect the pull - as it probably is of London - is relatives already there. So they choose to spend thousands paying smugglers to put them on floating death traps in pursuit of what? Asylum? That is available in neighbouring states. If a Scottish mother took her weans on a boat trip in a rickety boat we would expect her to be prosecuted if the weans were drowned. Cry for the lost child, but we really have to protect our own children. Our future social structure. Our "rich" way of life. We must not be influenced by selected photographs. We will be finding excuses to invade before long, and that's why we are here in the first place. Children die in all sorts of scenarios all over the world every day. We could all spend every hour weeping.

    I really am sympathetic to their reasoning in looking for better things, but we need to man up. I cannot be responsible for every child drowned by the stupidity of its parents and the greed of people smugglers. However harrowing the images, this issue has to be resolved rationally.

    I agonise over comments like this. I do feel the pain of the parents. I know it is not what people here want to hear. But I speak to people every day who think the British closed door policy is correct.

    And I would caution against media reports. We know from Indyref that papers and the BBC pedal their own agenda. Impartial, reasoned fact is not on their agenda.

    1. "I speak to people every day who think the British closed door policy is correct."

      British closed door policy, seems to be an open door to the wealthy; with no regard to how that wealth was created.

      Thankfully, no Scots mother, or a Welsh, Irish or English one, needs to bundle their family on to a rickety boat, trying to flee from war, persecution or famine.

      I think readers of this blog are media savvy enough, to see through media manipulation; people are in danger, starving and fleeing destroyed countries. Britain is in part to blame for the situation and therefore should play it's full part in helping these people.

    2. Well said, Jim..

    3. You can't rebuild dead three year olds Anon.

  12. Tris

    The UK's stance on this is beyond disgusting. The largest selling paper in Scotland goes with a story about f Rangers, who cares. Too many are more worried about spending hundreds of millions on football players than dead children washed up on European beaches.

    This whole crisis is a nightmare, most of these people are fleeing the result of UK, American, French, Australian and Canadian foreign policy but mostly UK and American policy starting with Iraq. America should be providing financial aid to Europe and the UK should be doing more to take in those most in need. You know what, Putin is a bit of a nutter but on his rants in the last 20 years he said all of this would happen, honest decent people in parliament said this would happen but f them British PM's must have their wars and screw anyone that gets in their way. We are a tiny little small horid little delusional country living in some nightmarish past Victorian Age where the Windsor's children are worth thousands of our own and millions of anyone not British or white.

    I despise our current political set up and those on the right across the whole country who just don't give a shit and there are many in Scotland too who vote for these scumbags, I work with some. Surely now is the time to concentrate on the crisis at hand, provide some protection and safety for these people and then try and get other countries in the middle east to take a role, you know our friends like Saudi Arabia, Israel etc. This is their back yard and they cannot turn a blind eye on their own people, they can do more to bring about some solution's as they are a part of the problem too, we all have a responsibility to try and do something. Normally I would never consider the military as being a part of any solution but those IS bastards need to be dealt with in the short term and I think the whole world better get that sorted before we are plunged into an even bigger nightmare. Someone is funding them, someone is arming them, find them or is it what many in the USA suspect that we secretly funded them and armed them. What a f mess and it really pisses me off that wankers like Cameron do this in our name, that Labour and the Liberals are shouting when they know they can't do anything and if they were in power their record shows they wouldn't do anything anyway.

    Is there a more morally corrupt and vacuous country than the parts that run the UK, I think not. I f hate them I really do. We starve our own and we turn away from a refugee crisis we partly caused , I'm ashamed.


    1. Good rant there Bruce lad.

      Britain clearly rates lives by importance, dependant on nationality, birth, position, colour, creed. I've never quite understood that, and as it seems I never tire of saying, in a country we are told by its leaders, is a Christian country!

      I suspect that to them Christianity, like charity, begins at home, adn most specifically, with the Windsors, lords, MPs bankers, and top businessmen.

      Can you imagine it it were George Windsor washed up on a beach... By heaven's there'd be no end of wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth.

      I don't know what we do about IS. Britain helped create that monster, and they certainly afforded it room to grow, but running riot through law and order in Iraq, and Lybia, and we mustn't forget that a lot of these refugees are fleeing Afghanistan, where Britian contributed so massively to the mess. I see that there is a appeal made by a senior army officer who fought in Afghanistan, and used interpreters, for the UK to allow them to be accepted for political asylum.

      These guys are in danger of their lives for aiding and abetting the enemy, and Britain stands back and says NO, can't help, would damage the immigration figures.

      Still it's comforting to know that the Windsor and Cameron children will sit down to a good meal tonight, and sleep in a comfortable bed in the Cameron's case, in tartan pyjamas... (Or was that only for the night of the referendum?)

    2. Bruce: Just read your piece on Carmichael.

      I'm inclined to agree. It's almost impossible that Mundell didn't know. Certainly, when it started to be big, both Clegg and Cameron must have been involved, given particularly, that it involved the French Ambassador. it is quite possible that the French government made it clear they wanted a solution sharpish, and someone as junior as Carmichael would have been well under the level that they would have dealt with.

      I'm not expecting Carmichael to be removed, despite the fact that clearly he was involved in leaking a report which he now admits was untrue, and then lying to the public about it.

      As a member of the Privy Council, that is despicable.

      Did his lie have any effect... Well, I doubt it. Nicola might be relatively new at being First Minister, but she had been deputy for a long time. No matter what her personal thoughts about Cameron or Miliband, she wouldn't have been so daft as to say anything in front of the French or their Scotland Office minders. So I doubt anyone believed it.

      The result of the General Election seems to confirm that.

      The report by the Cabinet Secretary should have been completed relatively quickly. He should have sent for Carmichael that afternoon and asked him ,under oath as a PC (or Rt Hon), for an explanation. Confirmation with the French surely shouldn't have taken more than a couple of days, at her Excellency's pleasure.

      It could have been solved by the next day. But that would have hurt the government in the run up to the election. And would almost certainly have meant that Carmichael but the dust.

      I doubt they cared about him. But they would care about the possible investigations into who else knew.

      I'm guessing the PM and Deputy PM (at the time) knew. So I agree with your conclusion that he will be allowed to stay on.

  13. The UK acting in concert with the USA inflicts violence on people in the Middle East and else where and sticks two fingers up to the EU when they advise caution.
    Now that the consequences of their actions are washing up on Europe's shores,the Westminster establishment is demanding EU action and trying to deflect blame by siting global warming as the reason for the problem.
    I am beyond anger with my fellow Scots who voted to allow this situation to continue.

    1. That's not an unreasonable summation Bringiton.

      Maybe if Britain attended to matters like decaying infrastructure and undemocratic government at home, and spent less time and efoort on poking its stupid nose into other people's affairs, we would be in the happy situation where things would work here, and the rest of the world wouldn't be in such a chaotic mess.

      But who's interested in trains and roads; hospitals and schools, when they can be conference calling with the Prersident and the Chancellor?

  14. Credit to the request of Kezia Dugdale at FMQs today.

    Touched by the FM response.

    Proud of Scotland.