It occurs to me that while we’ve been drawing attention to the democratic crisis in our local government, we haven’t yet commented on the Conservative opposition in East Renfrewshire council. Tory councillor Gordon McCaskill’s recent poorly considered joke about Nicola Sturgeon’s offer to personally house Syrian refugees provides an opportunity to do just that:
Mr McCaskill is an elected member for the Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood ward, and while he has been suspended from the Conservative party for this now-deleted tweet, we are still waiting to see if there will be any further action.
The tweet itself a fumbled witticism that insults vulnerable people in the hopes of scoring a cheap laugh against a political opponent. More than that, it echoes the nonsense paranoia of some of the UK’s more openly racist political organisations. Still, even writing this off as a rogue effort, it’s hard not to ignore the way its callous attitudes are reinforced by the actions of Mr McCaskill’s party. Under David Cameron’s proposals, we will take in a mere six Syrian refugees per constituency each year between now and 2020. When questioned on the link between the UK’s arms sales and the ongoing refugee crisis by Green MP Caroline Lucas, Cameron was blithely dismissive of the human cost of this massive industry.
Mr McCaskill’s tweet is more blatant in its disdain for the refugees, but these responses from the highest level of his party are not just inhumane but totally inadequate to the situation at hand.
The East Renfrewshire Greens will be standing candidates in every ward in the 2017 council elections in the hope of providing local residents a fresh alternative to our current council that is also free from the contempt that underlies Conservative politics.