Paisley campaigner asks General Election candidates to commit salary pledge to Palestine

A young child is seen as people inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes on March 19, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A Paisley man is calling on General Election candidates to pledge a portion of their salary to a charity supporting injured and maimed Palestinians.

Jamie Kinlochan, a social justice campaigner who spent time delivering English language workshops to students in the West Bank, has launched a campaign.

It’s aimed at getting all potential members of parliament to donate 0.5 per cent of their pay packet to the Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) organisation.

There is a demand for increased international support to address the escalating health crisis in Gaza due to the war between Israel and Hamas.

The conflict has resulted in an avalanche of injuries with reports indicating that over 81,000 people have been wounded – overwhelming the already-strained healthcare infrastructure.

The majority of those injured are as a result of air strikes with many victims suffering severe burns, fractures and life-threatening conditions that require immediate and extensive medical care.

Jamie was part of a group that travelled to the Middle East for a project designed to connect Palestinians with other people from across the world.

“What I met was people just trying to get on with their life,” Jamie said. “Just a bunch of folk trying to make their family proud, trying to get an education and work, people trying to make relationships, enjoy time with their pals, hang out and have fun.

“There’s folk that have got nothing to do with what happened – they’ve no connection to Hamas. They’re currently being starved, burnt, blown up and shot because of something somebody else has done. It just feels really unjust and unfair.”

In his plea for Palestine, Jamie has contacted candidates standing in his Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency and emphasised the responsibility of UK MPs to support humanitarian efforts.

He said: “We’re constantly seeing stuff happening in Gaza and saying, ‘okay, that’s really bad’ and not quite knowing what to do about it other than sharing solidarity on social media which is really important.

Jamie Kinlochan
Jamie Kinlochan -Credit:Submitted

“But we’ve got an election in five weeks. We can do stuff, that’s an opportunity. Now, of course people will be doing their own fundraising. I donate £30 a month to MAP, that’s important, but that feels like not very much.

“MP salaries are topping £90,000 and, while they attend parliament, lodge motions and attend rallies and all that stuff, Gaza continues to be bombed and children continue to be injured and wounded.

“What would it be like if as well as doing that, they kept 99.5 per cent of their salary and just gave 0.5 per cent to MAP?”

With annual salaries for MPs at £91,346, that would mean approximately £457 per year would go to the charity. If everyone agreed to it almost £300,000 would be raised.

Looking ahead to the election, Jamie added: “I have a bit of a decision to make and, for me, that decision would be influenced by where do these people stand on Gaza. What if they just gave a tiny bit of their salary to helping people out?”

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