Bute refugees suffer from inadequately considered placement

Today’s, 25th July, edition of the Scottish Daily Mail reports that some Syrian families in the cluster brought to the Isle of Bute for sanctuary are feeling depressed and isolated there.

They describe their unhappiness as received by officials as ingratitude; persisting in telling them how much it has cost to bring them here; and make it difficult for any relocation to be considered, leaving them feeling subject to a form of imprisonment.

One woman, a mother, sees Bute as a place people come to die – referring to the preponderance of elderly residents shared by Argyll and by Scotland at large.

The refugees in question – whose experience is not necessarily shared by their peers on the island – are bored and depressed, finding nothing to do and alienated by their inability to speak English.

It is clear from what they are reported as saying that they had anticipated being located in a metropolis – citing London or Manchester – where they had imagined merging into local communities of their cultural peers and possibly picking up a smattering of English over time.

From Bute, access to  the metropolis of Glasgow involves a 5 minute ferry and an almost two hour drive or a 35 minute ferry and an almost hour long train journey.

This situation is no one’s fault but evidences failures of comprehension and realism on all sides – and highlights some very tricky political and social policy decisions.

If you are a refugee you cannot expect another country to be just like home only better in all degrees; and you ought to expect to adopt the laws and customs of that country.

If you are a host country, what do you do with incoming refugees? Where do you initially place them?

If you place them into existing cultural enclaves in some of the major cities, they may fit into those more seamlessly and easily – but you are creating and strengthening the sort of socially problematic divisions that defeat an integrated multiculturalism and can succour most easily the factional radicalisation of which western civilisation is rightly terrified.

You may choose to locate small groups in relative proximity to each other within large local populations where y0u hope that their minority status may accelerate integration and a least a basic competence in the host language. But in a free country, you cannot make those so located stay where you place them; nor, alternatively, can you prevent them progressively being joined there by their cultural peers. Either way, you can create the enclaves you had hoped to avoid.

It happens everywhere. You can’t keep Brit emigres out of  Tuscany, the Dordogne, the Algarve and the Costas. Many of them too don’t bother to learn the language and take solace in retaining the habits and mores of their homeland, equally forgetful that that homeland could not meet their complex of needs.

The decision to house Syrian refugee families on a underpopulated island in the Clyde, with a struggling local economy, a population indeed skewed towards the far end of the age spectrum and with few and not widely varied employment opportunities, was always a conundrum.

This situation was also bound to be affected by the narrow cultural spectrum of the island’s traditional and existing residents; and by the fact that although Bute is an inshore island, it is effectively a remote place.

The broader good of avoiding ghettoisation is not best served by creating a physically obvious tiny minority in a place with as narrowly specific a cultural base as their own. How many people are there in the lives of these families in Bute today who can actually converse normally with them on an incidental regular basis?

This sort of situation can only make an enclave of your own kind seem a positive and irresistible paradise – which, in a way, is a form of the dangerous myth that characterises nationalism.

There is no easy answer to any of this but sensitive and informed strategies will have to be found. Migration and refugees are both – and differently – here to stay.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Please disregard anything that the daily mail print. The comments purported to be from the refugees have been massively misquoted and taken out of context according to a friend of mine who knows them well. All this article intends to do is stir up hatred and racism. Who buys this crap any more? I hope this doesn’t lead to a backlash against the refugees on Butr or anywhere else. Unfortunately the Mail has no sense of moral responsibility and I’m sure it has plenty of blood on its hands already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Mrs Mac July 26, 2016 12:51 am Reply
    • We can disregard it but the damage is done. I was just at lunch there when a young French Engineer pulled out her phone/tablet to show me the story which she found hilarious.
      It was on the Express site, so I imagine they have all been given the story as a double strike against these unfortunate people and against Scotland.
      I’m quite sure that the refugees that found homes in Rothesay will make many friends there and many will probably want to make it their home once they settle in.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie July 26, 2016 1:40 pm Reply
  • I can’t help thinking that the weather could be a significant factor – for anyone accustomed to a sunny climate this part of the world must seem very dreich indeed for a lot of the time – just remember how welcome the first two weeks in June were, with consistently dry and bright days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    Robert Wakeham July 26, 2016 1:23 am Reply
  • I can’t believe we are discussing this… Daily Mail or any other media report aside… offering sanctuary to selected refugees from any war torn part of the world is a moral obligation… but it is also a moral obligation of the the refugee to accept what is provided… they are safe, they have a roof , they have food, they have access to education, social care and social benefit’s …they now have hope… walk the streets of any UK town and note the people who sleep in doorways… what do they have ? to whom does the “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” apply too best… a refugee, or a homeless person in Scotland, who are we failing ???

    And how on earth can you tie the below statement in with a disgruntled refugee family is beyond me:

    “If you place them into existing cultural enclaves in some of the major cities, they may fit into those more seamlessly and easily – but you are creating and strengthening the sort of socially problematic divisions that defeat an integrated multiculturalism and can succor most easily the factional radicalisation of which western civilisation is rightly terrified.”… What ??????

    utter justifying clap-trap… a radicalised muslim is not radicalised by living within a “cultural enclave”, not radicalised by socio-economics, not radicalised by their own want to live amongst their own cultural ethnic group…they are not radicalised by our “ western culture”, cut trying to excuse the actions of these psychopathic murderous individuals by some form of blame game on our own culture… we are not to blame…QED…

    they are radicalized by none acceptance of a secular culture, radicalised by the medieval “extreme element”s of their own religion and the culture /doctrins this extremism supports… terrorists are terrorists, it can only be blamed on the individual and groups that undertake such barbaric acts…they use the excuse that it is in retribution for acts carried out by the west or others who will not show total obedience to their doctrine… what acts justify shooting, torturing, murdering, raping anybody ?????

    And that fact is born out by the atrocities that take place every day here in the middle east… they are as apt at killing their own nationals as they are killing us, whether they live in a ghetto or a mansion house estate this cancer exists everywhere and its root cause is a non secular religious doctrine and the fanatics that bow and accept and justify such lunacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    Karl Hughes July 26, 2016 9:17 am Reply
    • Eveything you say above applies justly to those who radicalise – but not necessarily to those who are vulnerable to be radicalised.
      When you are young, everything in life is understood in simple binary oppositions. It is only time and broad experience that introduces and embeds the tonalities of understanding.
      Many of the young everywhere, from the need to belong and from the acceleration of peer pressure, are also prone to follow the accepted behavioural norms or fashions of their peers.
      This is why radicalisation is most easily effected in cities and amongst the large cultural enclaves that can form there.
      The young, in their uncluttered understanding, are also idealist – and extremism is a form of idealism perverted.
      What you say about the safety and security that relocated refugees now possess is also correct – but is amended by two considerations.
      One is the automatic perception of all refugees as having the education to hold such an understanding of their situation. Many will be educated – some very highly indeed – but by no means all will have had the opportunity of education.
      The second is that, as may be the case with some of the Bute families, if they feel and look ‘different’ from everyone around them and if they cannot communicate, some will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, even intimidated – and it is unrealistic to assume that refugees will be universally made welcome in any locality.
      We had assumed that the acceptance of such refugees here would mean the automatic employment of those qualified to teach English as a foreign language and that such classes would be taught in a regular and compulsory schedule.
      This would be a responsible and necessary provision if integration is to be a realistic achievement.
      We do not know if such provision has been made and there seems to be no mention of it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      newsroom July 26, 2016 10:05 am Reply
      • I note that one of the fathers was so depressed he drank a whole bottle of whisky -who says they don’t belong here – naturals !

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

        Malcolm Kirk July 26, 2016 10:39 am Reply
        • You are about as amusing as Lung Cancer.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

          A.Salmon July 26, 2016 12:08 pm Reply
      • Hell of a lot of assumptions in your follow up Newsroom… why assume, why not ask the people in question or just leave them alone.
        The Daily Mails article, which I have just read…is bile ridden and inflamatory… if you need facts as to if or if not these refugees are happy or unhappy…look at the childrens faces… they are happy and healthy… that is the aim of such placements, these kids have a chance… yes its hard to move to another country, another culture, another climate… especially when you have been living in hades..but give them a chance and leave them alone…they have been here less than a year… the local community will support them, change takes time.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        Karl Hughes July 26, 2016 12:39 pm Reply
      • Thanks, Newsroom.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        Arthur Blue July 27, 2016 7:49 pm Reply
  • This stupid blog is attempting to ramp up Racial discord.
    To pay any attention to the Ultra Rightwing Rag,which is the Daily Mail,is tantamount to supporting their Rasist undertones.
    Why don’t you peddle your bile somewhere south of the border.
    Cowards pick on Minorities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    A.Salmon July 26, 2016 12:07 pm Reply
  • Says AS the biggest racist of all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    Steve Barlow July 26, 2016 12:43 pm Reply
    • Define your statement or shut your cake hole.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      A.Salmon July 26, 2016 2:30 pm Reply
  • Iraqi Karl has been radicalised since his return to his third home. He believes the odious Mail and his own home spun anti refuge diatribes.

    It must be difficult to live anywhere away from family friends and culture. However what they left was a minefield of hate helped by the UK USA invasion of Iraq. Mind you some folk profited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    No Cheese Here July 26, 2016 3:01 pm Reply
    • NHC its Tuesday July 26th 2016, … which post, thread, blog are you reading ??? it obviously cannot be this one… if it is actually this one you are obviously delusional and need help…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

      Karl Hughes July 26, 2016 5:01 pm Reply
  • Iraqi Karl,

    Reading the one your on brexitears.

    As I say some did alright from the Iraqi war. US oil companies for a start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    No Cheese Here July 26, 2016 7:37 pm Reply
  • Actually ,after reflection,nobody is reading or posting on this Hideous site!
    For all of mankind,that is a small step!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

    A.Salmon July 26, 2016 11:16 pm Reply
  • Refugee’s are welcomed on Bute,
    OOPs Herald retracts copied story from Daily Heil.

    For Argyll and right wing brexiters blame the refugees for fooling them. Irony it aint. Racist rants they are.
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14646306.Syrian_refugees_hit_back_at_reports_they_are_unhappy_in_Scotland/?ref=mr&lp=2

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

    No Cheese Here July 28, 2016 9:58 am Reply
  • If the Syrian refugees do not like living on Bute they will certainly not be rushing to live in Campbeltown which is a five hour bus journey to Glasgow and has a part-time summer ferry service to Ardrossan with a ferry that cannot sail if there is a puff of wind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    Treble T August 1, 2016 3:02 pm Reply
  • ttt– the mail article is a fabrication. As is For Argyll- “..From Bute, access to the metropolis of Glasgow involves a 5 minute ferry and an almost two hour drive or a 35 minute ferry and an almost hour long train journey.

    This situation is no one’s fault but evidences failures of comprehension and realism on all sides – and highlights some very tricky political and social policy decisions.”

    Isn’t this the same distance for all residents. 50 mins by car incidentally from Wemyss Bay.

    The fact is FA should have updated and amended the lies from the Mail. The fact FA has not basically tells you all you need to tell of this odious web page

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

    No Cheese Here August 8, 2016 8:19 pm Reply
    • – says a faithful (and genuinely odious) follower of this ‘web page’.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

      Robert Wakeham August 8, 2016 9:50 pm Reply
      • oh wacko– you know I care about Argyll and Bute. Just look how many folk have been welcomed to these shores over the past few decades. Tell you what, in a few years as Syrian Scots they will not denigrate Scotland the way some of the above posters on hear do including this site.
        Makes you wonder if they are just holiday homes walla’s and cant see past Hadrian? What do think cause you never commented on the main points of my post? You agree with the Mail?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        No Cheese Here August 10, 2016 12:58 am Reply

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