A Response to the Daily Mail Bile

scotland-frontpageIt’s hard to continue to be shocked by the moral sewer that is British tabloid journalism. But as a sheer act of pre-Christmas bile and bigotry, it’s hard to get past Sue Reid’s Daily Mail article on refugees coming to Bute. Reid, who specialises almost exclusively in stories stirring racial hatred, purposely ignores the wave of support and generosity that has been provoked by the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Scotland is the new home of about one-third of the Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK so far, and the movement has been coordinated not just by the Scottish Government’s Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf and our First Minister, but supported also by the National, local authorities, churches and civic groups such as the “we have room” hashtag Refuweegee, Rooms for Refugees and other groups.

At the Renfrewshire Refugee Summit, Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley said: “The people coming here are refugees. Perhaps another way of thinking about them is to understand that they are individuals who have faced extraordinary circumstances and hardship. They have lost their homes, their community, and their country. Many of them will have lost loved ones in the conflict. Imagine how we would feel if that happened to us or our families.”

Post-Paris Nicola Sturgeon said: “These people are fleeing their homes in the search for protection and security, and we are their refuge, following Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris. “We cannot let the actions of the few destroy the safety of the many.”

The article, which we won’t link to, is riddled with factual errors, and, in the opinion of the Guardian Scotland correspondent, Libby Brooks, is ripe for complaints to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

The Mail has decided to break the carefully protected anonymity of the tiny group of people we are talking about, their journalist highlights in mock outrage “15 families have arrived on the tiny island of Bute, off the West of Scotland”. Fifteen. The place will be overrun.

JS71280459Getting into her stride Reid writes: “The families have been given free accommodation and, at a church hall in the town of Rothesay, can pray five times a day, if they wish.” Imagine, allowing people to actually pray. What kind of commie hell hole are we running here?

Desperately trying to stoke discontent she explains how: “Home Secretary Theresa May tried to reassure locals by saying all arrivals would be screened to ensure they did not pose a security threat, amid fears that some would-be terrorists who have travelled to Britain posing as refugees.”

Not only does this wilfully ignore the reality that the evidence for ‘terrorists as refugees’ has been completely discredited and the Paris attackers were homegrown French and Belgian nationals, it suggests a state of fear and demand for reassurance from locals that is a fabrication of this journalists disgraceful agenda.

Now tumbling into a tirade of meaningless bigotry, Reid continues: “Although this is one of the most impoverished parts of the UK, the Home Office says each adult migrant is eligible for £200 emergency cash to tide them over until they are given National Insurance numbers which will entitle them to claim state benefits. Under a settlement programme funded by Whitehall, the families also get free heating, lighting and their council tax bills are being paid.”

So, we have the magnificent combination of this being subsidised by Whitehall and yet a drain on local resources. Note the subtext: feckless work-shy Scots being subsidised to look after similarly work-shy Syrians. Of course Reid is desperately confused, are these bastards over here to steal our jobs/women AND take our wonderful benefits?

Blustering she writes: “A charity musical evening has raised funds to buy new mobile phones for the migrants …” – wait a minute, I thought the community was up in arms? Now they seem to be hosting charity evenings in support of the refugees. Half of the outrageous facts she cites seem based on a communities spontaneous reaction to people in trouble being welcomed onto their island.

She goes on: “Meanwhile, eyebrows are being raised over the fact that Roman Catholic St Andrew’s church hall, in Rothesay town centre, is being used as a day centre for migrants. Here, children park their sparkling new bikes, play with donated toys, while their parents often linger outside smoking.”

refuweegeeFor all its faults and failings the Catholic Church has a proud record of support and solidarity for people in need (including SCIAF). The only eyebrows being raised are from the spiteful racists at the Daily Mail. No-one would raise eyebrows about a church in Scotland doing charitable work. And people smoking? What you’ve been displaced from your war-ravaged country and had to flee across borders and live with small children in a refugee camp, and you’re smoking!

The refugee resettlement is being carried out on an entirely voluntary basis by local authorities who have offered their help, and is being coordinated in a considered way by the Scottish and UK governments. All of the funding for these families that Reid is attacking comes from central government rather than out of the council’s pocket. So any suggestion that somehow other local provision is being undermined is wrong.

The Daily Mail’s article stands in sharp contrast with the island’s own Craig Borland, editor of the weekly ‘Buteman’ who penned an editorial arguing:

“I want Bute to be a place where people who come here with little more than the clothes they are standing in can feel safe and at home. I want Bute to be a place known not for narrow-minded bigotry, but for its warmth, and humanity, and willingness to help people with nothing in whatever way it can. The families coming to Bute have been through things we can’t begin to imagine. Surely as human beings we have a duty to help. But more than that, we have an opportunity to show them, and the world, that Bute is a wonderful place to call your home. There is space in our schools and there is spare social housing, and many, many people want to help our new neighbours to settle here. I would love it if some of them wanted to stay in our community and put down roots here.”

 The families coming to Bute have been through things we can’t begin to imagine. Surely as human beings we have a duty to help. But more than that, we have an opportunity to show them, and the world, that Bute is a wonderful place to call your home.

Sue Reid and her newspaper little more than a contaminant on public life. We shouldn’t let her newspaper undermine the practical solidarity that is being offered to people in dire need. As well as boycotting this paper you can also:

Support the Scottish Refugee Council crisis appeal here.

Or you can Host a Refugee with Positive Action in Housing here. So far in 2015, Room for Refugees has given 2,489 nights of shelter to refugee, migrant and asylum communities in Scotland and the UK.

Or you can support SCIAF’s crisis appeal here.




Comments (45)

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  1. Erlend Clouston says:

    Well said, sir!

  2. sheila says:

    Thanks to your telling us about this Daily Mail ‘story’, I have just made a donation to the Scottish Refugee Council. Hoping many others will do the same and to hell with the DM.

    1. Tariq says:

      Tha ks Sheila

  3. Mike says:

    The entire UK mainstream media needs to be boycotted not just the Daily Heil. A fully organised continuous ongoing public protest should be made highlighting the total corruption of media in the UK. Every corrupt piece of misinformation highlighted and publically demolished. The authors continually named and publically shamed.
    I am absolutely sure that the vast majority of people in the UK are sick to their back teeth with being systematically lied to deliberately misinformed deliberately kept in the dark on so many issues and agendas.
    Ive stopped watching the so called news on TV I haven’t bought a single so called newspaper for years and as a result I actually feel better informed and more aware.
    Media corruption is in itself an act of despotism. Anything that helps promote and sustain despotism is an act of oppression.
    We are continually fed the line that we live in the free West but our freedoms only extend as far as they don’t interfere with the concept of 2 tier justice served on a basis of power wealth and influence.
    Don’t tell me our public officials are not above the law or the full scrutiny of the public when we are still waiting to read or hear or see progress on the so called investigations into the accusations of State approved paedophilia and the murder of children in care.
    So called investigations because I’m not sure if they are still ongoing or ever started for that matter as the UK media seems to have a blanket censorship in place on the subject.

    1. John Dalzell says:

      You should try The National and The Sunday Herald. They’ll keep you up to date with what is actually happening.

    2. Alex says:

      Completely agree, and I recently started a facebook page specifically calling for a boycott of a local newspaper that also draws attention to the agenda bias of the nationals. http://www.facebook.com/events/1664675463816346/

  4. David McCann says:

    Well said Mike.
    Hate Mail is hate mail.
    Ill be sharing this and hope others copy.

  5. John B Dick says:

    Mostly it is muck stirring of course, but some of it is just ingnorance.

    Someone who has not previously been to Bute may not know that the ferry crossing from Gourock takes twice as long as the normal one when Wemyss pier is in operation, nor that the alternative crossing from Colintraive is only three or four times the length of the boat. In the warmer Adriatic I’ve swum twice as far in the open sea.

    Argyll does have islands that can legitimately be described as ‘remote’. Bute is not one of them.

  6. Lucy says:

    The Mail is really just like a troll. They do and say what they know will be the most outrageous. They try to tap into prejudice and fan it. Why? TO SELL NEWSPAPERS. They ran a really supportive story about refugees who had settled in Canada. To think there is moral logic to the agenda is completely off the mark. It’s all best ignored.

    1. Lynsey says:

      Ignoring it might be an option if everybody else was but while they publish dangerous nonsense like this and people buy/read it, there will be a need to debunk it.

  7. johnp45 says:

    It really worries me that so many people still buy the obnoxious Daily Mail, if they are reflecting the views of that rag how do they sleep at night?

    I will never understand my fellow human beings.

  8. mark says:

    The Press Complaints Commission was replaced by IPSO… https://www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/index.html

  9. James Coleman says:

    It is really very simple. The Heil has a deep seated anti-Scottish agenda. If their news sites are examined you will find that nothing is written about Scotland except in a derogatory manner. Good news about Scotland is not reported.

    And it still persists with the myth that Scotland is a land of subsidy junkies in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary during the Indy Ref and after that Scotland contributes more than its fair share to the UK finances and is in fact the the rhird richest UK area after London and SE England

  10. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    Andrew Pierce editor of the Daily Fail, check him out on the SKY news paper review, a loathsome character.

  11. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    Slimeball Andrew Pierce rubbishes Scotland, we’re all ”subsidy junkies” apparently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4k_GsIRpaU

  12. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    Creep Andrew Pierce on Andy Murray, guess what ? he doesn’t like him https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSJlBuRVCkU

  13. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    Smugfest Andrew Pierce insults Scots again, I think there’s a pattern developing here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl_0p6zlQQQ

  14. Bob Archell says:

    Good response to the Daily Fail, but their readers don’t have the attention span to read any critique. I expect they were in the Vanguard of gutter press to call for WAR, but then rubbish and ridicule the humanitarian efforts to alleviate its logical consequences.

    My mother was a nurse in Coventry 14th November during the blitz, she lost two nurse colleagues both killed in the raid. She died at the grand old age of 87 convinced that their was no such thing as a “smart” bomb! I agree with her, collateral damage is a sanitised way of saying innocent men women and children are blown apart, dismembered, wounded, traumatised for life, and displaced.

    The Daily Fail and all the other warmongers should spend a day in these conflict zones, then they wouldn’t be so sadistically offensive in their comments. I do not use the term “reporting” because they are not news papers, and frankly I wouldn’t use it to wipe my bum even if I was in dire need…

  15. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    That’s how London sees Scotland, a far away country they know little of and care even less for, they probably still think we’ve got steam trains, cobbled streets and gas lit streets , dismissive laced with contempt, that’s the attitude.

    1. James Coleman says:

      Don’t you believe it. There is a purpose to the Heil’s anti-Scottish agenda. It is to try to dissuade the less economically bright uncommitted voters from switching to YES, and eventually leading to another Indy Ref which we will win. The London commentariat and politicians are also jealous of the success of Scotland since the SNP took over and they are well aware that without Scotland, England would be in Bananaland territory so they want to hold onto us at all costs. We know this, they know this, and they know that we know this, and they are infuriated that their agenda is having no effect.

  16. Nialler says:

    This article was sent to me by a Scottish friend.

    It is a wonderfully succinct and elegant corrective to the DM article.

    Consider your site to have been book-linked.

  17. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Fail, worth £ 1 Billion pounds, guess what ? He doesn’t pay any tax, what a surprise. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Harmsworth,_4th_Viscount_Rothermere http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24396430

  18. ceebee says:

    yes it never ceases to amaze me how human beings of all of this world are suddenly marginalised when they become refugees . the word implies that they are have somehow become a lesser species to be treated with comtempt and suspicion . there for the grace of god go all of us .
    displaced people would be a nicer expression .displace from there mother country through no fault of there own .STAND UP SCOTS ENGLISH IRISH AND WELSH AND COLLECTIVELY DO YOUR PART FOR YOUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS .STOP BEING BIGGOTED …

  19. john young says:

    Why did they steal billions from this “subsidy junkie” country?They are not the real enemy the real enemy are the unionists in this country,they have no shame no bravery nothing they wallow in being treated like s–te at being laughed at,we should take in as many refugees as is humanly possible whereby in a few years we will have an absolute majority.The refugees have shown so much of the better side of human nature than any of these apologists for being Scots.

  20. Ghillie Mackay says:

    I have absolutely no reason to believe a single word or thought from this Sue Reid. Her dire remarks are outwith my ken.

    I have every reason to believe in the people of Scotland! I believe in their compassion, generosity, capacity for love, and too top it all, our grand ability to welcome!

    Thank you for this timely and excellent article = )

  21. Fuad Alakbarov says:

    Great piece.

  22. Broadbield says:

    You’ve excelled yourself. But other than not buying or reading this hate mail or going to their website what is to be done? This is not what a Free Press is supposed to be about.

    1. Well I think we can try and publish and create a different agenda, and I think – as many people have already done – we can support the charities and projects that are showing solidarity to those who are feeling their war-torn country, lie Positive Action in Housing and the Scottish Refugee Council.

  23. Drew Campbell says:

    Well done, Mike. The Mail is probably the most consistently insidious hate sheet in these isles, but it faces such stiff competition their owners and editors know there’s no room for complacency.

    Best wishes to you and all at Bella for 2016. Hope you all have a good break over the festive period – you’ve certainly earned it.

  24. Anton says:

    The Daily Mail piece is unquestionably vile. But, as always, I like to look at the facts.

    Let’s start with Mike’s assertion that “Scotland is the new home of about one-third of the Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK so far”. Well, no, it’s not. About 5,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the UK since 2011. I’m not aware of either the Scottish Government or the Catholic Church, both of whom Mike cites approvingly, as having ever made any special arrangements to welcome them to Scotland. Maybe he can correct me.

    What’s happened recently is that in addition to these immigrants, another category of Syrian immigration has been defined – the “Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme”. Here, the numbers are much smaller, about two hundred and sixteen people by last September, which is the most recent figure I can easily lay my hands on. Subsequently the Westminster Government announced an extension of this scheme to accept a maximum of 20,000 Syrian immigrants over the next five years, although this will exclude refugees already in Europe and any participation in the refugee participation schemes being developed by the EU.

    As I understand it, the Scottish Government’s pledge to accept one third of Syrian refugees is specifically limited to Cameron’s pledge to accept 1,000 Syrian immigrants in the immediate future. But over the five year period promised by Cameron, the Scottish Government have made it clear that ten per cent of his figure is the maximum that Scotland will accept.

    So on every basis Mike figure is wrong. And before we congratulate ourselves on Scotland’s greater tolerance of immigrants, let’s also remind ourselves that 58% of the population of Scotland think that immigration should be decreased (source: YouGov).

  25. John B Dick says:

    The 10% was the FM’s instant acknowledgment of Scotland’s share by population. Actually it’s a bit less than that, but Nicola is a clever girl who learned to divide by ten at school and hasn’t forgotten how. It wasn’t a minimum or a maximum, just roughly our share of 10,000, near enough.

    The 10,000 is now 20,000, so we are due more over five years. Bute can take Argyll’s share, and Argyll Scotland’s. ‘Nae bother’ is the catchphrase on Bute.

    Charities and public sector professionals were well prepared to cope with a far greater number long before any refugees arrived on the island.

  26. BenInsular says:

    Among the untold errors, or perhaps studied lies, in that Mail hack piece, the venomous Sue Reid amusingly claims twice that Argyll & Bute Council is run by the SNP.

    Independent Group and Council Leader Dick Walsh probably choked on his cereal when he read that.

  27. James Dow OZ calling says:

    It is interesting to consider that after the Irish, Scots’ are the worlds second most displaced people, predominately financial and social refugees seeking security for their families.
    I am one such Scot having been removed as a boy. Everywhere we have settled we have been welcomed and mostly prospered, contributing mightily to our new homelands.
    I see no reason why the current immigrant refugees with the same aspirations as we set out with will not replicate in Scotland what we have achieved abroad. from afar I wish them all well in my land, for it still remains my home as well.
    They are fortunate to end up in Scotland where a strong sense of social justice is intrinsic in the Scottish psyche.

    1. Gordon McShean says:

      Scots themselves have been subject to prejudices promoted by their own countrymen, affecting their exclusion. I don’t know what caused your need to escape, James Dow, but you are doubtless aware that allegations of Scottish qualities (even “Heilander”!) have been used to trigger prejudicial responses -causing some of us to run. Back in the days when “Jerry!” or “Communist!” or even “Homo!” could compromise a person’s right to exist, another inflammatory label, “Terrorist,” was used against me, despite a lack of justification. I’d been involved with other nationalists in attempting to remove and destroy guns that had the potential to be used against demonstrators (you can read about it in my memoir RETIRED TERRORIST). Might I not rather have been entitled to the label “Pacifist”?

      I escaped from Scotland to American Occupied Germany, where the Jerries and the Yanks eased the pain of being an exile from my country and my people. Later, in America, I saw inflammatory nomenclature being over-used; I finally took refuge in New Zealand, feeling slightly safer as they exercised that other communicative sin: holding their tongues.

      You and I can doubtless feel resentment (and some fear) when we see journalists bad-mouthing everyone and everything. But isn’t the real culprit in all political debate the fact that we bestow validity on certain words without acknowledging that many of them have incendiary powers? Couldn’t honest debate profit from the establishment of a continuously reviewed internationally-recognized list of “explosive” terms in order to deny debaters the use 0f vituperative functions? And shouldn’t “Scottish” be one of the first items on that list?

  28. Grace Ferguson says:


  29. James Gourlay says:

    Excellent article. The Daily Mail is a Cancer on Scotland. The Daily Record is another.

  30. Marlow says:

    Thank you for this response to the vile article written by Sue Reid. I live on Bute and I was shocked that anyone could write such lies.

    1. John B Dick says:

      I live on Bute too, and I think we should make a formal complaint perhaps supported by a petition. The article is quite comprehensively bad. Not just the attitude to refugees, but the logical inconsistencies pointed out in Bella, but also fails on geography, the meaning of peninsula and spelling.

      Even if you are not supportive of the refugees, the tourist businesses will not be helped by the description of a wet, multiply deprived and remote Island.

      Can you get in touch through the Syrian Families Support Group?

  31. David says:

    You’re more than welcome to the other two thirds if you like them so much.

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      Yes David, we’ll take them in. I’d hate to think they might end up in close proximity to such a vile creature as yourself.

      1. Anton says:

        That’s fine and commendable. Unfortunately the majority of Scots disagree with you.

        1. John B Dick says:

          I’d be interested for the evidence for that. Did you read that in the Daily Mail?

          1. Anton says:

            No, my information came not from the Daily Mail but from a YouGov poll, as I noted in my previous post.

            The poll, which took place between 4 and 6 March 2015, found that that 64% of people in Scotland wanted immigration reduced or stopped completely.

            Other interesting findings were that women in Scotland were more likely to want immigration cut (69%) than men (60%); that older people were much more likely to be against immigration, with 76% of over 60s in favour of a reduction; and that higher income Scots were more likely to welcome immigration. Full details of the poll are available online – check it out for yourself.

            Whichever way you look at it, there’s a dislocation between the views of the people of Scotland and their elected representatives. Make of that what you will.

          2. John B Dick says:

            Thanks for that. Yougov is more reliable than the Daily Mail. I’ll look it up.

            I see a large and diverse support here in Rothesay involving all the churches, many charities and support organisations and the Bute Community Band which unanimously voted to fund mobile phones from the Christmas concert proceeds. I guess between 4% and 8% of the adult population are in (mostly existing) organisations which are activly supporting the refugees and making them welcome.

            Bute was a very YES area, which might have someething to do with it.

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