Yesterday, I had lunch in a little cafe in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh; it was clean, hospitable and offered an affordable menu. I had vegetable soup and bread with a coffee; it was delicious; without asking, I was brought a little jug of water, laced with a mint leaf by the waitress; I finished with a coffee and some excellent carrot cake. As I paid, the owners, a very pleasant couple, engaged in friendly conversation and I learned that they were from Turkey and enjoyed living in Edinburgh.
You may recall an incendiary, totally false and designed to stoke prejudice claim, ,made during the 2016 EU Referendum Campaign by Michael Gove that Turkey was about to be given membership of the Single Market and that large numbers of Turks, many of them criminals, would migrate to the UK. He was supported by Penny Morduant MP, now Leader of the Commons. They claimed that there was an excessive birth rate among Turks which would swamp public services in the UK, alongside the potentially increased levels of criminality which could pose a security threat. Each of these statements was maliciously fabricated by the Leave Campaign to provoke anti-immigration fears in the electorate.
This week, the Home Secretary, Suella Bravermann, reprised the anti-immigration tone in even cruder language when she spoke in the Commons of an ‘invasion of migrants’ to the UK. She was addressing MPs on the day after a right-wing extremist had fire-bombed a refugee centre in Kent. Observers and commentators have described her language as grotesque, inflammatory and similar in tone to the rhetoric of the extremist organisations. Many Conservative politicians have distanced themselves from her tirade; Robert Braverman, MP, an Immigration Minister in her Department, said that her words were not the ones that he would have chosen. Bravermann, a former Attorney General, has been accused of failing to accept the legal advice of her officials on the prolonged processing of refugees and the detention of migrants in unsuitable centres. The Prime Minister, of course, remains under pressure to justify the appointment to his Cabinet of this erratic and unpredictable Minister, a week after she was forced to resign for serious security breaches.
The Seven Cafe in Home Street is a delight, welcoming and caring.
Qualities that should be shown by all nations to refugees and asylum-seekers.