With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP.
Whilst debating the Global Refugee Crisis today, Christian Allard MSP has highlighted that our Word Choice Matters.
Speaking today in the Scottish Parliament, he encouraged accuracy in terminology used and commended those who are currently discussing the Refugee Crisis with appropriate terms.
The North East MSP has recognised that when discussing the Refugee Crisis there must be clarity between the terms ‘Migrant’ and ‘Refugee’.
Christian Allard MSP explains that by ensuring the separation of the two terms it will protect the refugees from implications that the ‘M’ word can carry and, we can support the current crisis through truthful, informative discussions.
The North East MSP recognises that there has been a positive change of tone surrounding the situation but continues to urge that we all must continue to watch our language.
SNP MSP Christian Allard said:
“The damaging effects of using an incorrect term is very relevant and will influence our own perception and attitude towards refugees. Accuracy is key, Word Choice Matters.”
“The careless use of our words won’t help, calling people names is not the solution, helping them is.”
“They are not migrants …I am a migrant and I am no refugee.”
“Let’s remember where we all come from because, in Scotland’s Story, we are all worth the same.”
Commenting on the difference between migrants and refugees, a spokesman for EUHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) said:
“Yes, there is a difference, and it does matter.
“The two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations”
Note: A video of the debate will be available on the Scottish Parliament website in due course.
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Incorrect terminology is, as Monsieur Allard says, potentially damaging. Unfortunately Monsieur Allard goes on to say that “They are not migrants….I am a migrant and I am no refugee”
Monsieur Allard makes no attempt to explain who “they “are but I presume, perhaps mistakenly, that he is referring to anyone who has recently arrived in Europe from the Middle East and/or Turkey. This gives rise to a further presumption, again perhaps mistaken, that he is blessed of special powers which enable him to determine, from a great distance, the origin, status and intentions of hundreds of thousands of people currently crossing Eastern and Central Europe on foot or crossing the sea to Greece.
At this moment in time, there is a burgeoning black market in Syrian passports across Europe as economic migrants seek to maximise their chances of being granted “refugee” status. Neither the migrants or refugees have any interest in seeking to settle in Eastern Europe or even in France, Spain or Italy. They are determined to make their way to England, Germany and Scandinavia as that is where they believe a better future lies.
If language is important, surely it is worth taking the time to ascertain who is a “migrant” and who is a “refugee”, to ensure the most vulnerable are protected, rather than lazily following the rather tired and unscrupulous SNP party line, which is to try to claim moral superiority over the UK Government by labelling everyone as a “refugee” and trying to exploit a humanitarian crisis.