Sunday, 16 August 2009

Thou Shalt Not Pass

Since 2005, the Patiala Pipe Band, from Lahore, Pakistan has competed each year in the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.
Not this year.
The UK Borders Agency refused entry visas to around thirty members of the band, along with all bar one of a thirty five man strong government and trade delegation from Lahore, which is twinned with Glasgow.
Despite pleas from the Scottish Government and the Scotland Office, the UKBA would not relent.
That Scotland's national interest can be damaged in this way by a petty and small minded organisation operating under rules set by Westminster is yet another reason why we need independence now.
This ridiculous ruling is an appalling manifestation of what 'tough immigration rules' really means. For a welcoming, friendly and open nation such as ours, this is an anathema. An independent Scotland would sweep away much of this nonsense and replace it with rules that reflect our national psyche. Of course we would want to effectively control illegal immigration. Naturally, we would want to ensure that visitors returned home when they were supposed to - we just wouldn't use a sledgehammer to do it!

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