Edinburgh Conservatives are tabling a motion at the August Full Council meeting (21 August) in light of the proposal by a Green councillor to fly the Palestinian flag above the City Chambers and the proposal of the Council leader to weigh in to the complex political situation in the Middle East in a partisan way. More positively, the leader of the Council is proposing that a flag should fly from the City Chambers advertising a telephone number for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.
Conservatives on Edinburgh Council believe that, in the light of intense suffering in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Ukraine, as well as Gaza that humanitarian leadership should be more even handed. Edinburgh already has an established relationship with Mercy Corps, a relief agency working in most of these hotspots of suffering and Edinburgh Conservatives believe the Council should encourage support for humanitarian relief in all these areas.
The motion notes:
1. the appalling suffering in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Ukraine as well as Gaza
2. recognises the desire of many in Edinburgh to contribute to the relief of such suffering
3. notes that Edinburgh already has strong links with Mercy Corps (which has its European Headquarters in Sciennes, Edinburgh)
4. resolves to fly an appeal flag and encourage donations to a range of crisis relief hotspots and not just Gaza
Conservative group leader Cameron Rose has noted the following:
· The suffering of refugees and bereaved families in a range of current crisis hotspots is enormous and cannot help but move people to human compassion.
· I believe Edinburgh people expect their councillors to reflect and engage local concerns rather than spend their time and energy on international partisan political posturing.
· I deplore the intimidation and bullying demonstrations on the streets of Edinburg which led to the silencing of one particular theatre group at the Festival Fringe last month. Freedom of speech is precious in this country but there is a difference between freedom to express views and intimidation and bullying.
· The reported proposal from a SNP councillor to rename the street where the US Consulate in Edinburgh is situated as the ‘State of Palestine Terrace’ is a sad reflection of partisan and blinkered nature of some Edinburgh councillors. It comes after a Green councillor proposed flying a Palestinian flag from the City Chambers. I share genuine concerns for suffering in Gaza. But the focus on what has long been an international political campaign of the far left – when there is such acute suffering in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Ukraine is one sided. The focus of our civilised society and councillors is better directed towards humanitarian help for hard pressed refugees and those suffering from conflict.
NOTE: A copy of the full meeting papers for the August Full Council meeting can be accessed here: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/cpol