Thursday, March 02, 2017

Letters from my postbag - 1

It's a metaphorical postbag. Usually, it's emails, to which this blog post is a response. I will ask my office to email it out to all those who have written to me about the issue. I simply do not have enough time to respond to all the emails individually. I hope this form of responding will be ok. What I want to cover in this post is the position of refugee children in fellow EU countries.
I first took a close interest in the refugee crisis in Syria several years ago, when being recalled in summer recess to sanction a military strike against the brutal Bashar al-Assad. I could not see how a military strike would help, and needed clarity about what our forces would do. In the event no attack was agreed. But the controversy about the votes that Sept evening caused me to become much concerned about the appalling conditions being faced by several million displaced people in Syria, being subjected to poison gas, mass murder and deliberate starvation. At the time, I supported the UK taking in Syrian refugees, and am pleased we are taking in 20,000 by 2020. My personal view is that we could take even more - not easy because of security considerations. I attended meetings with refugees, and an important meeting arranged by Andrew Mitchell MP and Clare Short, who had both visited the camps in and around Syria. Some time later, I began receiving emails about the plight of refugee children in France, asking for priority to be given to them. I discussed the issue with Lord Dubs, who had been himself a refugee, and who became the focus for a campaign. I met Lord Dubs, whom I greatly respect, but told him I could not agree with him. My view then, and remains my view now is that that every penny the UK can commit to helping with the refugee crisis must be committed to helping on the ground in Syria and in the camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. I did agree to vote for what became known as the Dubs Amendment, after a long Sunday morning phone conversation with the Immigration Minister, making it clear I still thought it was wrong. Refugees in France were the responsibility of the French Government, a stat e as caring and humanitarian as the UK.
My views have only become firmer over time. And I was particularly moved when watching an hour long film of conditions in Libya a few days ago, created by Ross Kemp of Eastenders fame. It's a deeply shocking and moving film. Human traffickers are taking the money of hundreds of thousands of people in and around Libya, promising them transfer to the UK, as well as other EU countries - and then sending them all to sea in unseaworthy boats. The occupants of those captured in Libyan waters are dumped without food or water on the Libyan border. Many of the poor souls who reach Med waters are simply drowned. It's a devastating film.
Two further points. The Home Secretary informs us that the French authorities are now opposed to our taking refugees from France, because it's being used by traffickers as a 'sales pitch' to refugees looking for a better life. It's making the problem in France worse. And secondly. There is a real fear that the Libyan refugee crisis is spreading to nearby Nigeria, where millions live in fear of Boko Haram, a brutal terrorist organisation. Bringing refugees into the UK from EU countries not only makes the refugee problem worse, but takes our attention away from the 10 million displaced refugees in and around Syria.
I can support calls that the UK should take in more refugees. Even though the UK has contributed more aid than any other country to bringing relief to the refugee disaster in the Middle East. But every ounce and penny of British effort must go to where the humanitarian need is greatest, and not be driven by where the media are free to capture heartbreaking pictures and stories. I have not any doubt where my duty lies. I am driven only by a commitment to ensure the UK work and investment acheives maximum humanitarian impact.


Lucy Jones said...

I was directed here from someone sharing your facebook post "Getting lots of emails about issues. Just haven't time to answer all individually. And not satisfied sending replies prepared by others. So I'm going to write a personal considered reply on my blog for anyone interested, and will ask James in my office to send it to those who have emailed me. That way, at least I actually wrote it!! I'll try and do one per day for next few days. Today it's the calls for the UK to take in refugee children from France. On A View from Rural Wales."

Sorry Glyn, I am a bit miffed.
I don't want a history lesson, I want to learn of your solutions going forward and what you are going to do. I realise this involves a hard working ethic, but that's your job. I don't want to hear you complaining that you have no time to reply to emails when you spend hours a day on facebook talking to non constituents and ignoring us that live here. You earn a good wage for being an MP and letters and staff costs are covered by expenses, of which you are not shy on claiming. Lets see that money being put to good use for the benefit of Montgomeryshire for once.

Can I suggest where you receive large volumes of letters on certain issues, it should be your job to instigate a public meeting and invite those people to attend. Actions speak louder than words, plus it gets your photo in the paper and actually shows you doing something meaningful rather than just attending yet another bloody coffee morning!

I am not a fan of the way you use social media and blogs. Your facebook posts are hijacked by non constituents and by people who do not understand issues. Then there are the ones commenting several times a day clearly showing signs of mental health issues. These keyboard warriors shout down anyone with a differing opinion and are a turn off then drop in a song title to make it lighthearted! Loopy nutters! It winds me up even further when I see you moan that you have no time to reply to letters, yet spend hours a day commenting on facebook, trivialising non issues and pandering to non constituents.
Your website is dormant since the 2015 election and this should be updated daily with news of your work in Montgomeryshire and Westminster. If you must use social media, the Montgomeryshire conservatives have a dormant facebook page "Montgomeryshire voice" Your staff can link articles from your website to here.

Having done a straw poll in my office, there is no one there that thinks this blog is credible due to the low volume of replies and the fact that replies are not published.

I would love to have a professional, hard working MP represent me, but until that day, I must accept that I am stuck with you. Bring back Lembit. At least he never complained that he received too many letters!

Glyn Davies said...

I publish all replies that are not gratuitously offensive. Did you actually read my blog post before commenting? I put a lot of consideration and thought into writing it. Must admit I don't understand why anyone who finds what I write and how I think as disagreeable as you do actually bothers to read it!!

Glyn Davies said...

And I'd be willing to match my workload and commitment to my job against yours or anyone else's.