THE Prime Minister may be under fire for parties in Downing Street, but the damage that his government is doing extends far beyond the UK.

“Exorbitant, ill-defined and unconstitutional” is how a new report from the Good Law Project has described the disgraceful Nationality and Borders Bill, which is due to be discussed in the House of Lords next week.

The bill, which has already been passed overwhelmingly by the House of Commons, allows the Home Secretary to strip an individual of their British citizenship without notification. It is a disgraceful and authoritarian step that undermines the rights of more than six million people across the UK.

The bill also includes measures that callously attack and criminalise refugees who are unable to travel directly from their country of persecution. It threatens them with four years in prison and would allow them to be deported without even hearing their asylum claims.

The cruelty of the bill is no accident. It is being promoted as part of a misleading populist narrative that Downing Street, egged on by much of the tabloid media, has helped to whip up against migrants.

We are constantly being told that we face a “migration crisis”, but the real crises are the ones that people are fleeing from. They are crises of war, poverty, oppression and abuse. People do not risk their lives and those of loved ones on a deadly crossing by choice. They are driven to it out of desperation and a lack of humanitarian routes.

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Unfortunately, not everyone arrives safely. It is impossible to know how many lives have been lost in making perilous journeys across the Channel. But refugee charities warn that at least 150 people have drowned over the last five years alone. Every single one of them was a real person, with real hopes, dreams and feelings. They were people with loved ones and friends and families who they cared about, and who will be mourning them. Their lives matter just as much as yours, mine, or anyone else’s. And yet their last moments were spent in flimsy dinghies in cold and unforgiving waters. Nobody should have to suffer that.

There is nothing in this shameful and racist bill to stop these devastating deaths. On the contrary, by failing to offer safer alternatives for people that are forced to make journeys, the UK Government is further contributing to the terrible conditions and circumstances that have already put so many lives at risk. As shocking as this bill is, it should perhaps come as little surprise. It has been introduced by a Tory government that has presided over the Windrush scandal, tripled chartered flights for deportations during a pandemic and sent vans into our communities to remove residents in dawn raids.

The “hostile environment” is not just a slogan. It is a central part of their worldview. It is a worldview that all too often treats people’s wellbeing as an afterthought and their rights as disposable. Unfortunately, this worldview is not unique to this government, and is one that goes right to the heart of UK foreign policy. This was underlined by the garish and grotesque spectacle of Tony Blair receiving a knighthood. Despite the many sycophantic accolades he received, Blair’s enduring legacy will be for as one of the architects of the failed war in Afghanistan and the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq. More than 500,000 lives were lost as a result of these military campaigns, which created brutal humanitarian catastrophes, further destabilised a war-hit region and exacerbated the threat of terrorism in the UK as well as the Middle East.

Like his successors, Blair claimed to be motivated by a commitment to human rights and democracy. Yet, throughout his premiership, Blair promoted arms sales around the world and cozied up to many of the same despots, dictators and human rights abusing regimes as his successors. These decisions have helped to contribute to the conditions that people are doing all they can to escape from.

According to Brown University, more than 9.2 million Iraqis were displaced by the war, while 70% of Iraqis lack access to clean water and 80% lack sanitation. Yet those responsible for the chaos are still living charmed existences and being honoured and rewarded despite the role they played. Scotland can do so much better than this. We can take a different path. We can build an independent Scotland that extends a hand of friendship and stands in solidarity with those living under oppression, rather than detaining the victims and arming their oppressors.

We can build a fairer and greener Scotland that ends the moral abomination of nuclear weapons on the Clyde. It is a year since the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force, yet Westminster is planning to increase its number of nuclear warheads by 40%. The polling shows that Scots don’t want nuclear weapons to be based here, and nor do parliamentarians. But the reality is that unless we have independence we won’t have any say on it.

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As long as we remain in the UK we will be tied to an aggressive and immoral foreign policy that puts nuclear proliferation, military aggression and anti-refugee sentiments ahead of public services and human rights. It’s not just nuclear stockpiling or the Nationality and Borders Bill that needs to be stopped, it is the warped priorities and political mindset that have allowed them in the first place. It is the commitment to military power and the lack of empathy and humanitarianism in decisions that will impact millions of lives.

Things have got to change. As an independent country, we could act with honesty and humility to acknowledge our complicity in the injustices of the past and act to redress those wrongs and build a better future.