GRIEF is raw again, publicly, in the City of Glasgow. It’s only just over a month since the last death, and that was only a month since the death before that one.

Adnan Olbeh, Badreddin Abadlla Adam and now Mercy Baguma. Each had their own story, and each now also has stories which never belonged near them, spun with the words others wrap around them in what is a fraught ideological terrain.

There is a litany of names of those we have lost to the broken immigration system. And a litany of excuses and broken promises from a Home Office that the city and Scotland can no longer trust with the lives of those who live here.

No child should ever have to be found by police, malnourished and next to the body of his mother who died.

As we await the investigation into the latest tragedy, we would all do well to hold back from declaring what is and is not true concerning the particulars, before those entrusted with this legal task have undertaken their difficult and morbid task.

Most importantly, grieving family and friends need to be given time and space to mourn and work out how to live now this tragedy has visited them. And to speak of life. And to tell the stories which are not of victimhood. Dignity is vital.

What we know, however, is that food and care deliveries have been made to those left destitute through lack of employment across the city – in the asylum system and for those who suffer the sanctions of the DWP.

Having served as a poverty truth commissioner I have heard and given my own testimony as to what the evil of poverty does to people’s lives in the immigration system. And I have heard and seen the goodness at the heart of humanity in the many individuals and organisations who work to mitigate and be practically kind.

The list is endless in Glasgow. It is a beautiful thing, but it is so sad it has to be the reality because of the failure of the Home Office and the timidity of the Scottish Government within the devolution settlement

of 2016.

Report after report has been filed by hard-working organisations on the deathly consequences of destitution. For years. We don’t need more research.

It’s easy to rush to solutions. Crowdfunders proliferate, protests and cries are heard – some shrill and angry, some soft of tongue, some behind closed doors. Fingers of blame are pointing in all directions. It’s classic, fractious, heart-broken, liminal stuff.

Hurt people hurt other people and in the burnout that is rife in those trying to mitigate the pernicious effects of the Home Office policies, it’s reaching epidemic proportions. “I dread opening my emails”, “I am so, so, so sad”, “We did everything we could be it wasn’t enough”, “We told them how many times that this would happen – but what can we do.”

What is perfectly clear is that the immigration system needs, to quote the First Minister “root-and-branch reform”. On my worst days I am known to say “close it down and salt the earth”.

The New Scots Refugee Integration Policy is based on and inspired by the legal framework of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At present the enactment of this policy largely depends on niceness. It depends on voluntary efforts, kindness and goodwill.

When we say we need justice we also mean we need laws which ensure injustices such as destitution are undone. We do not need Home Office videos using mendacious collocations of “activist lawyers”, attacking the very people who uphold the rule of law. I’m not a lawyer but I know lawyers and lawmakers in Scotland who could make laws on welfare, in line with international law, which would at least alleviate the worst of destitution for all.

I want to live in an independent Scotland very badly, but not if to get there means we have to wait for more people to die in a system built for death; not if we keep making excuses and laying the blame elsewhere when we too can act.

At First Minister’s Questions Nicola Sturgeon, responding to the latest tragedy, said that Scotland shouldn’t have to plead to implement a humane asylum system. Indeed. And it doesn’t have to plead to implement a humane asylum system. Care is a devolved matter. It has the powers and needs to use them now, more. This is urgent. When independence comes, as come it surely will, it will be too late for too many if we don’t.

If I thought it would help, right now, I would gladly beg those with power, on my knees, and plead, plead for mercy.

For Mercy.

For All.