THERE’S a tall Scots Pine outside my window in the middle of Scotland’s biggest city. It looks ideal for scattering ashes in the decades yet to come but for now, it stands sentinel over a neighbourhood that reflects well on the current turbulence around immigration.

Last week, Robert Jenrick resigned as ­immigration minister, saying the government’s emergency Rwanda legislation “does not go far enough”, claiming that “stronger protections” were needed to end “the ­merry-go-round of legal challenges which risk paralysing the scheme”.

The Rwanda Scheme has become a ­touchstone for the Conservative right, a ­bizarre hill on which a considerable queue of party members wishes to die on.

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Such is the swamp of Jenrick’s (below) attitude to asylum seekers, he once infamously ­insisted that kid’s cartoons be painted out because they appeared too welcoming and ­jolly. ­Imagine this being one of your ­stand-out achievements in high office and how you might represent it in your curriculum vitae?

The National: File photo dated 16/05/23 of Robert Jenrick who has said in a letter to the Prime Minister that he had to resign as immigration minister because he has "such strong disagreements with the direction of the Government's policy on

To date, the Government has spent an additional £100 million on the Rwanda strategy without informing Parliament or the public. It is so locked into their dark soul, they cannot imagine life without it.

When James Cleverly, the third ­Rwanda Home Secretary went to Africa on a day trip, he escalated the cost of the so-called treaty to £240m – that’s roughly £80m per Home Secretary.

All in the same week of Boris Johnson’s humiliating appearance before the ­ Covid tribunal.

Jenrick’s resignation, and Suella Braverman’s barely concealed ­manoeuvring with the Rwanda plan are ultimately ­being used to force the radical right into ­Downing Street by unseating the weak Rishi Sunak.

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No amount of parody could get close to satirising how awful this failed ­Government has become.

Jenrick’s departure is welcome in one respect, he’s gone. But in a more ­profound way, it underlines the spiritual vacuum and political leadership at the high end of the governing Conservatives, a party that Scotland has not voted for since Bill Haley & His Comets were in the hit ­parade.

Enoch Powell’s (below) caustic “Rivers of Blood” speech, which was delivered to a Conservative Association ­meeting in ­Birmingham in April 1968 made ­immigration an election issue in part to scare voters into turning their backs on what was considered to be a soft Labour Party.

The National:

Scotland saw through the rhetoric and marginalised the Conservatives to their old rural staging posts. Edward Heath became prime minister – the first in a long line of Tory leaders who were rebuffed in Scotland.

Although everyone will have their own experiences of immigration, I can only speak for my own, and it is so markedly different from the fearful, embattled and Islamophobic anxieties that seem to have strangled the terrified Tory heartlands of England, particularly in those areas where there is no significant history of immigration.

The square outside my house is a ­global melting pot. There is an Asian ­family ­opposite with two giant Ganesha at their doorway, I struggle to see how their ­presence undermines “our way of life” ­unless the postie breaks his ankle ­delivering the council tax reminders.

Around the square, there are four ­Muslim families, three English families, a house that is temporarily hosting four Ukrainian doctors, and an old Italian family of four generations. Most homes are made up of Scottish or Scottish-Irish families.

My own home has its own exotica – a woman from Vaddukoddai in the Tamil heartlands of Northern Sri Lanka who has ended up betrothed to a schemie from Perth. Not everyone is lucky in love, but it makes for a fascinating mix.

Each day as the local schools decant, I watch a charming love affair ­unfolding, a girl from a Muslim family walks the square dressed in a gauze-thin hijab with diamante trims. Her boyfriend is a Scot with a shock of puffed-up ginger hair which I can only describe as being like the Celtic coiffure of the Scottish ­footballer Stuart Armstrong.

I have huge faith in the future of our teenagers, and I suspect they are ­already distancing themselves from the ­poisonous politics that currently grip the UK ­Government. They look to be a happy couple untroubled by the tangled journies that brought them here.

I concede that the view from my ­window is one of enormous privilege and settled attitudes to multiculturalism. It is not everyone’s experience and there is voluminous evidence it was not the mood on the night of November 4, 1998 when Surjit Singh Chhokar was stabbed to death in Overtown, ­North Lanarkshire.

Nor was the experience of the relatives of the trainee gas engineer Sheku Bayoh (below) who died being restrained by officers of Police Scotland on a street corner in ­Kirkcaldy.

The National: Sheku Bayoh

Scotland has enough stories of lethal racism not to be self-congratulatory or to be overly smug about attitudes south of the Border.

Racism is a strange beast. Although many generalise about its ugly outercoat, in vile language and violent incidents, it can be a much more subtle and poisonous chameleon capable of changing its look in different circumstances.

When racism insinuates its way into our customs and institutions, it can be at its most hurtful and demeaning when it takes the form of put-downs, social slights and opportunities denied.

Even the most intensive and sensitive census will never fully record racism in Scotland. We simply know it’s out there ingrained in our society.

But even as we self-reflect, we should be careful about listening to ­ Conservative zealots. Racism and increased ­immigration are not the same thing, nor are they inevitable partners.

That is what is genuinely frustrating about the Rwanda debate – it deliberately confuses asylum, economic migrancy and immigration and forces them on the same leaky boat – which, as you must be sick of hearing, is managed by Albanian criminal gangs – in the face of indifferent and lazy French coastguards.

Even their storytelling is wrapped up in a casual and supercilious racism.

The money that has been so flagrantly wasted on the Rwanda Plan might have been better spent on a phased ­migration strategy bold enough to address ­Scotland’s ageing and declining populations, it might even have been nuanced enough to ­focus on the care sectors, farming and the ­education sectors.

It might still work but it would need so many mindset changes that it remains an unlikely scenario. It would need the ­ruling Conservative Party to soften its ­attitudes to immigration policy and to think ­beyond their own choleric ­right-wing. It would need them to think of the ­ United Kingdom as a union of equals and a land of diversity and devolved ­responsibilities.

Most of all it would need a self-confident majority to see through ­ sophisticated ­legislation and changed spending allocations.

None of these things are even ­remotely likely soon and so mad masterplans like Rwanda seem easier to contemplate than the calculated intelligence needed to ­address the complicated challenges of asylum.