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Scotland offers Cameron a solution to the EU asylum dispute

Jonathan Lindsell, 22 September 2015

Today Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, has said she is willing for Scotland to take up to 2,000 Syrian refugees. Building on her earlier willingness to accept 1,000 and to house some personally, Sturgeon met foreign secretary Philip Hammond on Monday, arguing that Britain must extend ‘immediate help to more people and look to assist those already here.’  She continued, ‘We cannot ignore those in need on our own doorstep and I believe the UK should opt in to the extended EU-wide relocation scheme announced by the EU President recently.’

The plan to which she referred was Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposal to redistribute 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece, Hungary and Italy into the rest of the EU. Britain has opted out of the scheme, which sets quotas based on a formula combining population, GDP, past asylum applications and unemployment rate.

Sturgeon argues that the UK joins this scheme as a whole, which is unlikely to happen: Britain’s position is to accept 20,000 refugees from the camps around Syria’s borders over the next five years. Scottish politics seems to support Sturgeon, as both Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson called on the UK government to do more.

This could be an opportunity for David Cameron to ruffle, if not kill, two birds with one stone. By allowing Scotland to participate in the EU measure, or at least to indicate willingness (assuming it will be defeated by the eastern European states), Cameron could at once demonstrate to the people of Scotland that he is serious about devolution and respecting Sturgeon’s wishes, whilst making concessions to the French and German governments which may prove vital for his wider EU negotiation.

EU leaders will meet in a summit tomorrow to debate Juncker’s plan. Cameron, having already opted out, will have little to contribute as matters stand. If Sturgeon agreed with this suggestion then Cameron can go some way to pleasing both sides. He will show he takes Scotland’s pro-European stance seriously and is willing to accommodate it, but can keep his government’s commitment to help the most vulnerable in the Syria region with the remaining 18,000 spaces. In the EU referendum the Scots could not then claim to have been ignored.

The 2,000 that Sturgeon says Scotland could accept would fit neatly into the EU’s proposed scheme. Scotland’s population is about 5.4 million. Finland, with a population of 5.49 million, is being asked to take 2,398 refugees while Croatia, with 4.29 million and a lower GDP, 1,046 refugees. Scotland would fall roughly between the two.

None of this would resolve the wider refugee crisis, but would help Cameron politically. A willingness to meet the European Commission halfway would present him as moderate compared to Hungary or Slovakia’s leaders. Cameron’s EU renegotiation has limited time. He needs goodwill from the likes of Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande if he is to get his proposals on the agenda above Greece and asylum, let alone accepted.

1 comment on “Scotland offers Cameron a solution to the EU asylum dispute”

  1. 2,000? Big deal. They would of course head south of the border to England at the first opportunity as the ghettos which house their compatriots and/or fellow religionists are there not in Scotland. Also, many would not want to have the authorities look too closely at their asylum claims and would have that incentive to get out of Scotland ASAP.

    Although there are good practical reasons such as overburdening public services, housing and so on for not accepting huge numbers of immigrants from anywhere, the fundamental objection to mass immigration is that it alters the nature of the society into which it goes. Bringing in huge numbers who are racially and/or ethnically set aside from the native population is, as Enoch Powell noted in 1968, “Mad, literally mad”.

    The elite view in Britain of mass immigration is beginning to become more realistic, but it is still confused. It really does not matter whether people are refugees or economic migrants, because (1) there is no ready way of sorting one from the other; (2) returning large numbers of people judged to be economic migrants to their home countries is not happening and (3) the numbers of genuine refugees is huge and whether the mass immigration is comprised just of refugees or a mixture of refugees and economic migrants they still have the same ill effect on the receiving countries. If 100,000 Muslim refugees come into Britain they will still be part of the Muslim fifth column in this sense: terrorism rest on a pyramid of support. At the top are those who devise strategy and control its general implementation. Below them are the bomb makers, armourers etc. Below them are those willing to carry out terrorist acts. Below them are those who will provide safe house for people and weapons. Below them will be those willing to come out and demonstrate violently at the drop of a hat. Below them is the great mass of the group which the terrorists purport to represent who will have a shared sense of victimhood. Below them is the entire group of those the terrorist purport to represent which is, in Mao’s words, the sea in which the terrorist will swim.

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