Of particular interest was the Migration event on 16 August 2015 which posed the question of how we, as a nation, respond to people who are looking to live, work, study and seek refuge in Scotland. The panelists discussed what Scotland's political, civic and cultural voice should be on this topic.
The discussions were led by Dr Ima Jackson of Glasgow Caledonian University and Glasgow Refugee and Migration Network. The panelists gave their own view with there being lively interaction between the panelists and audience. Lilja Gretarsdottir, Adviser on Migration, Council of Europe, gave her perspective on how different countries have responded to migration. She commented on the small number of refugees in Scotland in comparison with countries such as Turkey and provided some perspective on treatment of refugees at present and in the past.
Dr David McCollum, Lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, provided some helpful statistics on migration. He explained that high numbers of migrants come to the UK under the points based system to study and work in the UK and advanced statistics to explain that views on migration are largely the same across the UK.
Sue Cameron, Columnist, The Telegraph, gave her perspective on the media coverage of migrants. She highlighted areas in the UK where a lack of integration has led to problems and suggested that havens should be available to refugees near to their country of origin.
Whatever perspective you have on the topic the event served as a worthwhile debate on a topical issue, addressing views surrounding those who come to the UK to live, work, study or seek refuge. It was recognised that UK immigration law covers the whole of the UK, but there was scope for discussions on immigration policy.
It is important to recognise that the views of experts and the public influences party politics in the UK. Keeping up to date with these views can give some foresight into potential changes to UK immigration law - a continuously changing area of the law.
I attach the link to the festival as it may be that some detail will appear on their site. For those living in Edinburgh or visiting during the festival season I would encourage you to include something from this in your schedule next year.