GoHome campaign reaches Scotland

UKBA Brand StreetSurprising it’s taken some weeks but the language of “Go Home” is now overtly being used at Glasgow’s Brand Street UK Borders Agency office.

Will it catch on in the media and in the right-wing, public psyche or will Scotland’s liberal conscience take on the roar it needs across our society to crush the inhuman, questionably lawful response of the Home Office to the complexities of immigration.

Media who have so far reported on this “going home is easy” phase of the campaign include The Scotsman,  The Herald, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and the BBC

The Government was probably hoping to contain this negative, publicly derided anti-immigrant policy within Brand Street, targeting asylum-seekers and refugees in Glasgow. But like in London, the toxic nature of the language reaches deep into minority communities and offends the broadest group of people.

Below is a public letter from Positive Action in Housing, a leading Glasgow voluntary organisation that advocates and supports new migrant, refugee and minority ethnic communities to achieve an equal chance to live in good quality, affordable and safe homes, free from discrimination and the fear of racial harrassment and violence.  It is hopefully the first of many actions to stir Scotland to make a loud case for a fairer society.

 

Dear Supporter,

Positive Action in Housing has been made aware of a new poster campaign begun by the UK Borders Agency in Glasgow’s Brand Street.

Giant posters depict a destitute refugee in the UKBA Brand Street offices in Glasgow. It says “Is life here hard? Going home is simple”. On every single chair in the large waiting room, there are large stickers saying “Ask about going home” to reinforce the hostile message to asylum seekers reporting daily or weekly there. A similar London based poster campaign is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

As we all should know, “Go Home” is a well-known racist taunt that has been used for decades in this country by fascists and racists against those of us from immigrant communities. That a government agency should decide to take up the same racist and xenophobic refrain while “processing” would-be refugees to this country, is shameful and deeply offensive. . If there was a parallel campaign telling patients in A&E hospitals not to turn up for treatment you can imagine the public outcry. The “Go Home” poster campaign exposes the UKBA’s attitude and gives us a small idea of what refugees in this country go through when they seek asylum.

Claiming refuge is a human right. The reality is that refugees coming into the UK are caught up in the incompetent bureaucratic mess that is the British asylum system – a system that in November 2012 failed to deal with its asylum backlog, and left more than 100,000 items of post relating to asylum cases unopened. The asylum seekers concerned have been left in limbo for an average of 7 years.[1]

Positive Action in housing believes that the UKBA’s “Go Home” poster campaign is nothing more than a racist and xenophobic “Hate Campaign” designed to harass and wear down those from refugee communities and undermine the excellent anti-racist work already being done in Scotland.
I would urge you to write to your MP and MSP to call for this Hate campaign to be stopped now and to raise this matter within Parliament. You can find out who your MP, MSP or Councillor is at http://www.writetothem.com/.
Please also add your condemnation by commenting at facebook.com/paihltd

With best wishes and kind regards,

Yours sincerely,
Robina Qureshi
DIRECTOR