Readers' Letters: We need viable alternatives to the Rwanda option for refugees

If Brian Wilson was the Prime or First Minister, so much do I respect his commonsense analysis of issues and how he’d solve them I’d become a very pliant, obedient citizen.

But even he has no workable answer to the immigration problem, although he made two obvious points; we can't let them all in and the real problem is the crooks profiting from their misfortune (Scotsman, 16 April).

He also said the Rwanda solution is a non-starter. I had thought that there would be much more UK oversight of the conditions, rights and outcomes for the people sent there, but that isn't clear. Neither did I appreciate the likeliehood of the transportees just doing it again, or that the idea was the immigrants would be encouraged to start a new life in Rwanda.

Just what “humanitarian values which most of us, from John O'Groats to Land's End subscribe to in equal measure” mean in practice, when such basic provisions as accommodation are ludicrously expensive for the authorities providing it and a nightmare for these unfortunate people living in it, and good, low-cost accommodation for young British families is a pipe dream, just highlights the problem.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel yesterday

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I don't know the answer either, but perhaps the outrage and debate on Rwanda will force British people, politicians, media and campaigners to face up to the brutal realities of a problem that corrupt, criminal, third world governments – not us – have caused

Perhaps the fact that Denmark is considering such a scheme may broaden the debate and strenghten a solution.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Faux outrage

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With reference to the faux outrage over Home Office plans to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda for “processing”, all those protesting ignore three key realities:

1) UN rules for refugees fleeing their home countries, are required to seek asylum in the first foreign country of their arrival. 2) Is it not the case that the EC directives on “free movement” of all peoples in EU member states has considerably exacerbated the immigration problem? 3) From where are the “dispossessed refugees” finding the considerable amount of money required to be paid to people smugglers?

It appears to be the case that the great majority of "Channel Crossers" are actually single male economic migrants and as such do not qualify for refugee status and are simply seeking an easier life in UK, thanks to our generous benefits system that costs the UK Treasury billions every year.

Dare I say that the people of the UK are growing increasingly tired of the scale of immigration.

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Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Cat and mouse

I wouldn't do what the government are doing, but I understand the Prime Minister has challenged the critics of his madcap Rwanda scheme with the question: “Well what would you do instead?”

To engage in this debate is akin to mud wrestling but here goes. The idea might be improved marginally if the PM didn't involve Rwanda but remembered we have 16 dependencies around the globe, six in the Atlantic and three off the coast of Africa.

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I don't believe the government are serious about immigration anyway. Is it true they actually don't keep complete records of who leaves the UK, and therefore don't know entirely who is here and who isn't here at any given time?

The limited 100 places in the Rwandan assessment centre seem to be budgeted on the basis that those sent there will abscond upon arrival. Otherwise, won't they be full up on the first day? What would there be to stop these unfortunate people trying to be smuggled back into the UK, in a dangerous game of cat and mouse?

Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington, Co Durham

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Archbishop of Canterbury: Government's Rwanda asylum plan is ‘opposite of nature...

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Fairy story

No-one should be surprised that church leaders are against the plan designed to protect our country by deterring illegal immigrants from crossing the sea from France where they could easily claim asylum if they are indeed trying to escape tyrannical regimes such as Iran and Syria.

Opinions from fairy story believers should be ignored.

Stan Hogarth, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire

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The wrong track

I note that SNP councillors in Edinbugh have said they will press on with tram extensions if they are returned to power in the local elections (Scotsman, 13 April).

I left Edinburgh in January 1957 to do my National Service. I lived in Buchanan Street, a very short walk to Pilrig where I could get on a tram to the outskirts of the city, including Newhaven. There were some parts of the city that required changing trams, but Edinburgh was fully accessible by tram.

Two years later I returned to find that buses had replaced the trams and that the suburban railway that carried commuters in large numbers from the outskirts was also under severe threat. My fiancée was able to leave her office in St. Andrew Square, travel to Joppa for lunch and be back at work within the hour. Impossible nowadays! What nobody had foreseen was the huge increase in car ownership and the problems this created with bus timetables.

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Most of the factory chimneys that belched smoke over the city had gone, but was now replaced with fumes from buses, cars and lorries, causing the city to once again justify its Auld Reekie title.

Times have changed from when cars were very much the minority mode of transport and were rarely seen parked outside tenements. I will not be around to see the next method of transport for the masses, but I doubt that trams will feature highly in Edinburgh.

George Wilkie, Hemingford Grey, Cambs

Crisis mode

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Polls show that Gordon Bannatyne (Letters, 16 April) is out of touch with the majority of the electorate who want Boris Johnson to resign. Moreover, constitutional experts like Peter Hennessy claim that the constitution, the fabric of our society, is on the line given that the ministerial code has been broken. Mr Hennessy describes an egoistic Johnson as a rogue prime minister who is no longer worthy of office.

A parliament that was once revered and copied as the blueprint around the world is damaged as a result of the refusal of Conservatives with no backbone – like Douglas Ross – to call for a leadership election. They hide behind a war a no-longer “Great” Britain, isolated by Brexit, can do little to influence.

Johnson’s lame duck premiership will not be defined by his support for Ukraine, nor the vaccine rollout which was an NHS triumph, nor by his unconventional ability to communicate with the public, not even for Brexit. It will be remembered for an utter contempt for the sacrifice of the British people, characterised by his lies and blunders, while the vast majority following the rules suffered in isolation from loved ones, many of whom were dying from Covid.

Johnson again inferred that the party for which he was fined as a work “event”, an extension of government business. Indeed, a recent YouGov poll indicates only 12 per cent think Johnson knowingly told the truth, and he now looks much weaker than his predecessor Theresa May, who fell on her sword for attempting a compromise Brexit to unite the country and her party. He is arrogant and out of touch, creating a divided and angry nation.

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Johnson’s failure to resign, however, is a stroke of good fortune for opposition parties going into the May election. The very democracy he chooses to undermine will have the final say, potentially leading to his fall and averting a constitutional crisis.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

The mask slips

Boris Johnson breaks his own Covid rules and, appropriately, has faced the full force of the law. Nicola Sturgeon apparently has again broken her own Covid rules (Scotsman, 18 April) but, in Scotland, will she be prosecuted?

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Sturgeon repeatedly insists Johnson's behaviour means he must resign; so presumably Sturgeon will do the honourable thing and fall on her sword? Or – reality check – perhaps not?

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

No credibility

After the First Minister’s continued insistence that Boris Johnson should resign, no matter the triviality of his “Partygate” offence, it is difficult to see how she can stay in office with credibility herself, given the now notorious shots taken of her without a mask while apparently campaigning in a hairdressing shop.

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Her spinners’ line appears to be that it was a slip of a few seconds on her part. Be that as it may, she was the first to cast a stone at Boris Johnson and she is certainly not now without sin, in this respect at any rate.

The blatant hypocrisy and lack of any sense of self-awareness or irony or responsibility of so many in the SNP never fails to amaze me.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Local politics

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We all know, that sadly for local democracy, national issues (wrongly) play a large part in voting in council elections. I know from personal experience. At a Fife Council by-election in 2013, the SNP activists outside the polling station went on and on about Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq. Just what input the local Labour councilors had on this decision escapes me.

Boris Johnson is undoubtedly a dishonest, unpleasant and incompetent individual. However as responsibility for local government is totally devolved to Holyrood, (and therefore very little, if anything, to do with Westminister or Johnson), a more honest headline regarding the SNP campaign launch (Scotsman, 16 April) should surely have said the following: “Nicola Sturgeon says use your vote to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon”.

James McLeod, Glenrothes, Fife

Write to The Scotsman

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