Pollokshields – These are our neighbours

It was impossible not to be moved by people standing around an immigration enforcement van in Pollokshields yesterday chanting “These are our neighbours, let them go”. Many people today are proud of those in this city who stopped this enforcement action.

Every country needs to have an immigration system and every immigration system needs to be enforced in some way. Every such system needs to be fair and just. However the immigration system in this country has ceased to be fair and has ceased to be just. Any government that actively seeks to be hostile to those seeking asylum has already failed the test of being fair and just. The immigration system in this country has not only become hostile to refugees but the government has recently announced plans to make it even more hostile and to limit the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court in asylum cases.

Every asylum seeker needs access to justice in order that the system itself can be seen to be fair.

Yesterday, the people of Pollokshields came out onto the streets because they believed that what was being done in their name was not fair. With an aggresively hostile system in place as a policy, it is impossible to be sure that any asylum decision is fair.

The police made a wise call yesterday not to try to clear the street and the two men detailed were set free into the community.

We need a fair asylum system.  Without a fair asylum system, there will increasingly be successful protests by citizens who will prevent the authorities from being able to act.

If the government believes it can appeal to voters by making an already hostile asylum system even more hostile, the people in the streets of Pollokshields showed yesterday that at least in some places, that policy will fail.


  1. Marjorie Wilson says

    Local people foiled yesterday’s attempt by immigration enforcers; next time they will come at night in an unmarked van. We have no chance of improving the immigration system in what you call “this country”, meaning the UK. When Scotland becomes independent, we will be able to have our own immigration policy, which will be fair, just and compassionate, in line with Christian values, and with the views of most Scottish people. Don’t you agree?

    • No, I don’t agree. I think that the current policy is unjust and unfair and is just as unjust if it is applied in Carlisle as in Glasgow. The whole country needs a better system, not just Scotland.

      I find the idea of a country set up on “Christian” values quite chilling.

      If we do have a new country, it needs to have a secular constitution not a Christian one.

      • Revd Kenny Macaulay says

        However, the people south of Carlisle have already indicated what sort of government they want and it is very different to what the majority of Scottish people consistently vote for. The only way we will get a fairer system is in an independent Scotland with your secular constitution.

        • We have no idea what the immigration policy of a Tory government would be in an independent Scotland.

        • Keith Barber says

          On the contrary, us folk south of Carlisle have been saddled with a government the majority of us don’t like by the defects of our electoral system and the machinations of a far-right anti-EU obsessive so-called politician.

  2. thank you Kelvin for your comments. The scenes were heartening, that a community valued the men and were determined that they should be treated fairly and heard from. Gave me a little glimmer of hope, but then thats Scotland, here in Blue heaven, may not go that way, I am 84 now and have never felt so despondent, maybe the lockdown, I am not confident so a real ray of light from Pollockshields

  3. Catherine says

    Hurrah for Pollokshields. We need more of that sort of thing- all over the UK.

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