AS Suella Braverman was calling for criminalising refugees and ripping up the international Refugee Convention, in a speech at a right-wing US thinktank, I felt physically sick.

The Overton window on immigration - the spectrum of ideas that’s considered legitimate - is being shifted before our eyes, as the right-wing media outlets lap up Braverman’s rhetoric and stick it on front pages.

Braverman is explicitly stepping up the efforts to reshape the Tories as a party of the far right. And that’s not an exaggeration - her rhetoric that associates migrants with criminality, and her claims of migration being a fundamental threat to national identity, comes straight from the European far right playbook.

The idea that the Western civilisation is under threat from some foreign hordes is not far off from the Great Replacement nonsense. Bile that only years ago would be confined to the margins of far-right internet has now entered the UK mainstream.

For all the dramatic talk of Europe being in the grip of a terrible ‘asylum crisis’, the inescapable reality is that around 75% of all refugees globally are in low or middle income countries. The top countries hosting the most refugees are by far Turkey, Iran and Colombia.

While Braverman and the Tory right make a huge deal out of around 80,000 asylum seekers arriving, countries like Germany or France are taking in triple or quadruple of that. During the 2015 ‘migration crisis’, Germany has stepped up and taken in a million asylum seekers mostly fleeing Syria - many of whom are now working, integrating in society or even running for political office.

And while Braverman’s speech will not convince the international community to rip up the Refugee Convention, one of the international milestones of human rights, it’s still highly damaging. All it’s doing is inflaming anti-migrant sentiment for cheap, pathetic political gain, while doing precisely nothing to help the desperate people trying to reach safety in the UK with no safe and legal routes.

READ MORE: Suella Braverman claims multiculturalism has failed in EXTREME speech

In another key strand of her speech, Braverman said that ‘multiculturalism has failed’.

I find that really, really perplexing. On the most basic level, multiculturalism essentially means that you can have more than one identity at the same time. I always thought that is pretty fundamental for the UK, a country where you can be Jewish and British, or Muslim and British, or Scottish and British.

On a broader level, multiculturalism (and migration) make our society so much richer - by enriching our culture, food scene and the arts, by making our communities more vibrant, and in Scotland’s case, preventing our population from declining.

I’m glad that in Scotland, the party of government and the general public broadly agree that migration is a good thing. We wear our internationalism as a badge of honour, although of course we have more to do to eradicate racism and xenophobia in our society.

However, we also can’t pretend that the constant torrent of dehumanising migrants that comes from Westminster isn’t having an impact here.

I know this first-hand, through the large amounts of online xenophobic abuse I get almost every day. As bad as it is, I know that as a white European man, what I’m receiving isn’t anywhere near as toxic as what asylum seekers and people of colour experience. And let’s be clear here - what enables and normalises this is the UKIP-isation of the Tory party, embodied by Braverman’s speech.

The Tories’ (and sadly, though to a lesser extent, Labour’s) embrace of this rhetoric is poisoning our body politic. They’re trying to get us to swim in the cesspit of their xenophobia, and we must absolutely keep resisting this at every turn.

We need to take a fundamentally different path, and the sooner Scotland becomes an independent country, the better.

It’s the only way we can get rid of the toxic Home Office and build a truly welcoming nation that values everybody for simply being a fellow human being.

Let’s be a country that leads the way in Europe in showing that migration is a good thing.

We can, and we must, be the Scotland of Kenmure Street - not Downing Street.