Cumbria County Council have determined to resettle 285 Syrian refugees, as announced on the ITV news on Friday 16th December – without a mandate from the Cumbrian people to do so.
This county has no resources and no infrastructure to take them. Cumbria is suffering from hospital cuts, council service cuts and closures, bus service cuts, people using foodbanks, homeless people in temporary accommodation and people with years on council housing waiting lists. Yet Cumbria County Council sees fit to take additional refugees and house them without asking the people of Cumbria if they agree to this – presumably because they suspect the response will be that we should look after the people who are already here.
Why are the refugees not going to prosperous areas where there are the jobs and infrastructure to support them? Presumably because they are leafy, well-to-do Conservative shires.
The question is being raised with the council over how much they are being paid by the government per head to do this under the Freedom Of Information Act.
The main insult to the people of Cumbria – of all political persuasions – is that we did not elect the leaders or the councillors to Cumbria County Council on a mandate to admit refugees, nor did they ask our permission. There is nothing on the County Council’s website. They have absolutely no right or mandate to make this decision and we need to let them know that loud and clear.
If they had asked our permission first maybe they would have got the answer they wanted, or maybe not. But at least they would have given the people the option to vote on it. There is no argument per se on helping genuine refugees, but politicians that we elect need to ensure that:
- the people of the county and localities where the refugees are to be placed have the opportunity to have their voice heard before such decisions are made
- the refugees are properly vetted for safety and security reasons and the authorities know exactly who they are, so as not to put any of our existing citizens in harms way
- there is a fully established repatriation or exit plan in place within the council before these decisions are made so that they can be returned to Syria once things are stable and safe again
This is not democracy and is symptomatic of the total disregard for ordinary people that politicians are demonstrating all over the world, at local and national levels.
Added to which there was a cease fire only 2 days ago, therefore efforts should now be directed towards helping the Syrian people in their own country.