THE Conservatives like to boast that the UK is “world beating” and a “global leader”. As they continually bang the drum of Anglo-British exceptionalism, they tell us that the world looks to Britain – and in terms of the British Government’s response to the millions of refugees pouring out of Ukraine in the worst humanitarian crisis Europe has faced since the Second World War, this would be true.

The UK is world beating and a global leader in terms of its callous and heartless selfishness in the face of millions of frightened and desperate innocent people fleeing a war that is destroying their homes, their livelihoods, and killing and maiming thousands of their fellow citizens. The world is indeed looking to Britain, but only as a shameful example of what not to do when people who have lost everything are in need of immediate shelter, help, and assistance.

Right now, if I did identify as British, the actions of the British government in the face of this appalling tragedy would make me thoroughly ashamed to be British, as the stony-hearted indifference of Priti Patel, the Home Office and the self-serving Boris Johnson merely make me more determined to ensure that Scotland escapes Westminster rule and becomes an independent nation so that never again will the world associate Scotland with the cruelty and lack of compassion of a Westminster Government which cannot even be roused from its selfish British nationalist complacency by the biggest refugee crisis and largest forced movement of desperate people that Europe has had to deal with since 1945.

The Tories want us to believe that Britain is unique – that alone among the states of Europe, the UK is uniquely unable to open its doors and to suspend visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees, whose number now exceeds two million after just two weeks of this war. Britain is supposed to be uniquely overcrowded, yet Belgium, the Netherlands, and Malta, all of which have a greater population density than the UK, have suspended visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees and are complying without complaint with the EU decision to use emergency regulations allowing Ukrainians to live and work in the EU for three years.

Meanwhile, non-EU member Moldova, which is the poorest country in Europe and which is less than half the size of Scotland, has already taken in almost a quarter of a million Ukrainian refugees. Yet the UK, which as the Tories like to remind us has one of the largest economies in the world, has as of now only given visas to a few hundred refugees, with thousands of other applicants being caught in the Kafkaesque nightmare of Home Office bureaucracy.

However, at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Johnson’s response to being accused by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford of overseeing one of the “slowest, most bureaucratic and incompetent refugee responses in the whole of Europe” was, dare I say it, worthy of Vladimir Putin in its misleading disregard for the truth. Johnson insisted that the UK has a “proud record” on dealing with refugees, and claimed that the UK “has done more to resettle vulnerable people than any other European country”.

Johnson was referring to a scheme under which over the past seven years the UK has resettled more people than many other European countries. He lied by saying something technically true in a narrowly defined way, stripping it of all context, and asserting it as a general truth which is applicable to the current situation. Putin does the exact same thing.

But it’s a safe bet that those Ukrainian refugees being sent from pillar to post in Calais as they desperately try to jump through the bureaucratic hoops demanded of them by the Home Office have a very different opinion of the UK’s “proud record” on assisting refugees.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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