Independence can offer migration with a human face - Lorna Slater

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna SlaterMinister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
​We’re a’ Jock Tamson‘s Bairns is a phrase that both intrigued and bamboozled me in equal measure when I first heard it. As a Canadian making her home here in Scotland though, it felt warm and welcoming.

For those who may need a quick explainer, it's an old Scottish phrase that basically means we’re all the same, and that we're part of the same humanity.

It's a key part of our country's character, one deep set in lending a helping hand to people in need or stepping up to the plate and even, as we have seen most recently with people from Ukraine, opening our hearts and the doors to our homes.

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I was one of those lucky enough to not only be able to choose to call Scotland my home, but for it to adopt me too.

Now, as a Minister in the Scottish Government, I feel a huge pride in Scotland, both the country we are and the one we can be.

Not everyone has that choice though, which is why my Scottish Green colleagues and I are working to ensure a positive and progressive migration policy is a fundamental part of our vision for Scottish independence.

On Friday the Scottish Government presented its white paper for how migration could look if we were an independent country.

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With plans for inclusive new visas to make it easier to move and stay here, it offers a stark contrast from the punishment and pain that is so central to the hostile environment that both the Tories and Labour have been responsible for inflicting.

It outlines how an independent Scotland would extend an embrace to people in need and open ourselves to the world around us.

There are lots of huge and clear social and economic benefits that come from immigration, not only for cities like Edinburgh but also for the many rural communities across Scotland who desperately need to boost their working age populations.

Since we were removed from the EU against our will by a Brexit Scotland opposed, we have seen our public services stretched, our economy hammered and new curbs on all of our rights to live, travel and study across Europe.

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The longer this calamity continues the more entrenched it will become and the harder it will be to undo the damage.

We need a system that works for Scotland. It is only with the powers of an independence that we can do things differently and ensure all the building blocks are in place to encourage people to bring their skills and experiences to Scotland.

No matter where we are from, we all have a part to play in building a fairer, greener and better future. As the time honoured phrase goes, in this country, we are a' Jock Tamson’s bairns.

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