What Liverpool could DO in a Ukrainian Crisis

UKRAINE-Protests-161608_540-6723513

More than  12 years ago Liverpool made a name for itself with the Government and in the eyes of the nation when within 3 days it organised and took in more than 900 Kosovan refugees. Most of these were women and children fleeing from the ruthless civil war. Because we had done so well with this we were asked to draw up contingnecy plans for a posiible inlfuc of British Pasport holders from Indai and Pakistan should there have beena  nuclear war in that region which seemed possible only 7 years ago.

Liverpool gained mightily from these activities. We grew in prestige and although the council did not make any money landlords and suppliers made a profit on the work and hundreds of volunteers pitched in to help.

I have today suggested we should be in a position to do the same if there is a Crimean flare up. Since I issued the suggestion there has been a cooling down and Putin seems to have blinked more than once but we never know!

Copied beneath is the Liverpool Echo story in its entirety. It never ceases to amaze me that the Mayor of Liverpool never rises to the occasion at times like this but descends to pathetic political squabbling. Potentially providing a respite for women and children from a  war zone should not be the stuff of gutter snipe politics. Rather the Mayor of this City – whoever it is – should be leading debates such as this in a real and visionary way.

Read it for yourself. See what you think!

House Ukranian refugees in empty Liverpool student digs say Lib Dems

4 Mar 2014 11:07

Cllr Richard Kemp: “This is a major international city and I want us to be able to play our part in international matters”

Ukranian refugees should be allowed to come and stay in empty student housing in Liverpool if the conflict in Crimea worsens, the leader of the city’s Liberal Democrat group has said.

Cllr Richard Kemp said in the same way the city opened its arms to up to 1,000 Kosovars during the crisis in Kosovo in 1999, it should be willing to help people who may be caught up in clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

The potential for conflict has been growing since Russian troops entered the largely Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula after the former pro-Moscow president of Ukraine was ousted by the people.

If given the floor, Cllr Kemp is to put a motion to tomorrow’s full council meeting, calling on Mayor of Liverpool to make the offer of help.

Mayor Anderson said he would work with the Foreign Office in the normal way if required, but hit out at Cllr Kemp’s “gesture politics” at a time of crisis for the city itself.

But Cllr Kemp said the move should only be made if the government offers to pay the keep of the refugees, as it did during the Kosovan conflict.

He added: “What we were able to do last time was use places like university accommodation because it was the holidays and the students weren’t there.

“I want to be able to be sure that as a city we are ready as we were if there had been a nuclear war between India and Pakistan in 2008 and 2009.

“We have lots of empty houses. In most parts of Liverpool there are empty terraced houses which landlords can’t rent out because students have moved into the city centre. I have no particular view on whereabouts it should be done but I just want us to be ready.

“This is a major international city and I want us to be able to play our part in international matters.”

He added that like the Kosovars, the refugees would return home after the conflict and there would be no net immigration.

But Mayor Anderson dismissed Cllr Kemp’s call as a gimmick, adding: “At the end of the day this is typical Kemp, more worried about what’s happening on the international stage than what’s happening here.

“Yes, I am concerned with what’s going on in the Ukraine with Russia’s annexation of parts of it, but anything we do as a city in a humanitarian way will be done in conjunction with the foreign office. I’m not going to engage in gesture politics.”

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. . Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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One Response to What Liverpool could DO in a Ukrainian Crisis

  1. Taras says:

    Excellent idea! Thank you, Richard.

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