Comment: Generosity will make a real difference

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once upon a time the human tragedy unfolding on the other side of Europe might have seemed more distant than it does today.

But the constant flow of sometimes harrowing images of unfolding events – not to mention the fact many thousands of us have holidayed on the beaches where much of this tragedy is taking place – has made it feel very close to home.

Faced with such heartbreaking images it is impossible not to feel compassion for all those desperate individuals – the mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents – who are willing to risk their lives for a better life.

The generosity of thousands of people across the Capital has been overwhelming, as it has proved to be so often in the past. That generosity will certainly make a real difference to the lives of those who find themselves in wretched circumstances, living in refugee camps or sleeping in railway stations.

Of course, in days gone by the response may well have been no less generous than it was today. Scotland has always been a welcoming and outward looking nation.

These are virtues of which Prime Minister David Cameron showed little until forced by public pressure. His suggestion that the answer to the current crisis lies in solving the wider problems in the region from which these refugees are fleeing is only partially true. Of course attempting to tackle those root causes is an essential part of a thorough response.

But that does nothing to stop the daily surge of desperate people – and nothing to help those who have fled war and violence only to find themselves shunned by the relatively rich and comfortable West.

All the commonly heard fears about immigration have done nothing to stop the compassionate response of the people of 
Edinburgh. And fears about setting a precedent for future immigration should not stop our political leaders from responding in the same way.