A petition has been set up asking Brent Council to home 50 refugee families in Brent. The justification for the request states:
Why is this important?
Aylan, the toddler who drowned fleeing Syria, was just three years old. His town was under attack by Isis. His five year old brother and his mum also died trying to reach safety.The petition can be found HERE
Yet our prime minister has just said ‘we won't take any more refugees’. He thinks that most of us don't care. But 38 Degrees members do care. We don't want Britain to be the kind of country that turns its back as people drown in their desperation to flee places like Syria.
So let's stand up for Britain's long tradition of helping refugees fleeing war. Let's show the Prime Minister that we, the people of the UK, are proud to do our part and provide refuge to people in their hour of need.
50 families is a comparatively modest request compared with the thosands of Ugandan Asians admitted in 1972 as Iain Roxburgh reminded us in Friday's Guardian (and Ken Livingstone on BBCR4 'Any Questions?'):
We don’t have to look as far back as the kindertransport to find an example where we have done it before and welcomed large numbers of refugees in a short space of time and on a far greater scale. I was a councillor in the London borough of Brent and vice-chair of the housing committee when the borough received over 10,000 Ugandan Asian refugees in under six weeks in 1972. Similar numbers went to Leicester, also with a settled East African community. With the settled East African Asian community and local voluntary organisations, Brent council worked up a plan for coping with the influx, including a shopping list of demands, which we presented to the Heath government. After a meeting with ministers, chaired by the home secretary, all these demands were met, including houses in multiple occupation and immediate funding for new schools, local health, social services and local advice and community support services.
Perhaps most challenging, then and now, is handling the politics of migration and harnessing the generosity and human empathy of our settled communities. After consultation and with the cooperation of the local media, we took an openly welcoming approach to the borough’s new citizens, who have gone on to contribute so much to the economy, culture and vibrancy of the borough over the last four decades.