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We can turn the tide on the scapegoating of migrants

This article is over 8 years, 2 months old
Issue 2490
Protesting against racism
Protesting against racism (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Much of the media eagerly publicised the news that professor Angus Dalgleish was due to make a speech attacking migrants.

He was to claim that migrants are putting the health service under intolerable pressure and could cause it to collapse.

An instant warning note is that Dalgleish was due to speak at a conference alongside a band of right wing politicians.

Speakers included former Tory ministers Liam Fox, David Davis and John Redwood, Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr—and Labour’s Graham Stringer MP.

And, although neither the Mail nor Express newspapers mentioned it, Dalgleish was a Ukip candidate at the last general election.

Far from being a threat to the health service, migrants are essential to its survival. Some 11 percent of NHS staff are not British. The proportion increases for professionally qualified clinical staff (14 percent) and even more so for doctors (26 percent).

Dalgleish’s tirade was seized upon because there is now a daily effort to blame migrants for problems in society. From lack of school places, to low pay, to lack of decent and affordable housing, to cuts in the NHS.

It is a systematic strategy to divert attention from the real culprits in society, the rich and the powerful. Cameron’s description of refugees in Calais as a “bunch of migrants” came after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn questioned him about Google’s tax avoidance.

Cameron wants to stop us uniting against him.

But tens of thousands of ordinary people will not go along with Cameron’s attacks.

They refuse to ignore the horror of mass drownings and the suffering of refugees in Calais.

This issue is the great question that faces everyone today.

Thousands of people are prepared to risk their lives to flee poverty, war and climate change.

Either the walls will grow taller and the death lists longer, or there will be a political victory for those who say open the borders.

On Saturday 19 March there are demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff called by Stand Up to Racism.

Thousands will take part to say refugees are welcome here, and to oppose racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism.

A major turnout will make the continuing struggle against state racism, the Prevent agenda and the mobilisations of the far right easier.

There are five weeks left to ensure that as many people as possible take to the streets.

Everyone has a part to play. You can raise the issue at work or college, or bring your union banner. Help organise transport, raise money to make sure refugees can come, and spread the message on social media.

We need to go all out for 19 March.


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