UNISON is aghast at the decision of the City of Edinburgh Council to grant permission for a far-right organisation, The Scottish Defence League, to march through the streets of our capital city on Saturday.
It is an absolutely abhorrent decision, the effects of which are amplified by the timing of the march - right in the middle of the Festival. It beggars belief that whilst on one hand we welcome millions of people of different race, colour, sexual orientation and religion to our city whilst on the other hand we allow a far right organisation that prejudices against the very people to which we extend our hospitality.
The SDL would have us believe that they march for improved rights for our squaddies. A noble calling that would, if that were the only reason for the march, would attract the support of many. In fact, UNISON represents many men and women in their day jobs who give their services to the armed forces territorial and reserves. The reality of the situation, however, is much darker and a lot less savoury.
The SDL, through many of their far-right blogs and social media space, have said that their march intends to "highlight islamic problems" such as terrorism and child grooming.
I need only draw attention to Anders Brevik, the IRA, UVF and ETA to show that any insinuation of terrorism being an "islamic" problem is nonsense. For child grooming, I would draw attention to the recent cases of Jimmy Saville, Stuart Hall and also to the horrific case of Ian Huntly.
It is unacceptable that any vile message of hate towards any section of society is allowed to take place on our streets. It is especially abhorrent in the middle of an international and multicultural festival.
UNISON would therefore urge any person wishes to oppose this disgraceful march to attend a counter demonstration that starts at 12pm on the 17th August in Chambers Street.
We can only hope that such a catastrophic failure in common sense does not take place in the future.
UNISON members reflect the wide diversity of cultures in our society. As such our banner will be proudly at the counter-demonstration. We hope to see you there.