FACTS versus fear. Statistics versus suspicion. Objective evidence-based research versus xenophobic subjective tabloid journalism.

This is the difference between the Scottish Government and the UK Government’s approach to immigration. Looking at the evidence, New Scots provide a vital role in our economic and cultural life, now and into the future. That is the Scottish Government’s progressive stance on immigration, but it is also echoed by the people of Scotland, with a recent ICM poll showing 64% of Scots backing the devolution of immigration to Scotland. Only one in 10 Scots feel the UK Government has managed immigration fairly and competently. Not surprising really when the Tories have based their hostile environment on dog-whistle politics and knee-jerk responses to the hysteria whipped up by the likes of Farage and the Daily Mail, rather than factual evidence. The “nasty party” as Theresa May once described her party before she went on, as Home Secretary, to put into practice some of the nastiest policies ever implemented by the Tories.

The UK Government ignored the general findings of Westminster’s Migration Advisory Committee, which has found that migrants contribute more to the economy than they take out. However curiously they did pay attention to that small section which recommended that Scotland’s migration policy should not differ from the rest of the UK. This kind of pick-and-mix approach is why Scots have no faith in Westminster’s ability to address our nation’s unique needs. There’s no room in Scotland for “Go Home” vans or “Control Immigration” slogans on mugs – we want and need a migration policy that is inclusive, welcoming, open and international.

It’s not just their own commissioned report that the UK Government are choosing to ignore. The business community across the UK is united in its criticism of their draconian stance on new workers coming to Britain, from not just the EU but across the world. The CBI has recommended that, post Brexit, blunt immigration limits must be scrapped, with Britain desperately needing both low and highly skilled migrants to support our dwindling workforce and under-funded public services.

Business requests fall on deaf ears when it comes to the Tories and Brexit. They’ve turned their backs on empirical research in order to appease a racially motivated underbelly of prejudice that has growing traction in British politics.

Mind you, Tories should be careful of turning up their noses at “low-skilled” workers when some of their own parliamentarians are more than deserving of that very classification.

Scotland must continue to argue robustly for control of our immigration. Decisions from Westminster on the matter will do catastrophic damage to our economy and do not reflect our progressive values and vision for the future.

In the middle of the Tory party conference circus last week, an illuminating piece of news came out on the UK Government’s handling of child refugees.

On the day of publication it was virtually buried by Boris antics and Maybot’s dance moves. But it demonstrates the polar opposite nature of the Scottish Government and the UK Government’s attitudes to migration and human rights.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the UK Government broke the law in their treatment of child refugees rejected under the Dubs scheme, allowing them no opportunity to appeal decisions made to refuse their entry to the UK.

This is not the first time the Tories have failed to meet their legal obligations, never mind moral, to vulnerable migrants. The UN has already criticised the Tory Government for their “gross human rights violations and indignities” as a result of their hostile environment policy and the Windrush scandal. However, it provides an illustration that age provides no barrier to Tory Party nastiness.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a very different take on refugees and migration is evolving, one that has been endorsed by the UN, who have recommended it as a blueprint for use UK-wide and across the globe. The Scottish Government, in conjunction with Cosla and the Scottish Refugee Council, have devised a New Scots Strategy for successful integration and support to help refugees to rebuild their lives and gain equal access to housing, education and health and opportunities afforded to all Scottish citizens. One of the most important aspects of this strategy was that it was partly developed by refugees themselves. Their input and experiences were invaluable in devising a plan tailored to their specific needs and their hopes for the future.

This is just one example of how we in Scotland are forging our own path on welcoming new Scots to our country. We are, as Willie McIlvanney proudly described us, a mongrel nation; we judge people by their contribution, not their skin colour, by their potential not their background. As the late, great, Bashir Ahmed, our first Asian Scot MSP put it: “It’s not where we come from that’s important, it’s where we’re going together.”

It’s this kind of tolerant and positive attitude to migration, based on dignity and human rights and the belief in the benefits migration can bring, that symbolises our vision for a modern and progressive Scotland. We can’t develop this vision while shackled to a UK Government which is going backwards rather than forwards in terms of not just migration, but, well, on most human values which Scots hold dear.

We can’t let Scotland suffer from the isolationist consequences of a Brexit that we neither voted for nor can find acceptable. In order to prosper and grow we need control not just of immigration policy but of the whole kit and caboodle. We need independence.