2007 - 2022

Brexit Means Racism

14479582_10210491653504689_980713701778876023_nHatred is spewing out of the Conservative conference and the wider English political culture. Till now most of it has been avoided, ignored or tolerated with embarrassment.

After John Cleese’s outburst – and some of you may be steadying yourself understanding Fraser Nelson in his new role as Spartacus – senior Herald journalists responded by saying that you simply couldn’t tell whether anyone was Scottish or English. Now I’m as proud of our Mongrel Nation status as the next one but this was clearly spurious avoidance. One response to Cleese’s racist tweets would have been simply to list the long line of English journalists working in Scotland across broadcast and print over the last few decades. If Nelson is an unlikely champion of the underclass, it is a sign of how fast and how far Britannia has swung off its hinges.

Ct1eklSXEAAYWFs.jpg-largeThis morning it’s impossible for such shoe-shuffling to continue. There it is right in your face: “Firms must list foreign workers”. And in the image below we see the tragedy unfolding in southern Europe where we paddle on our holidays.

The stench of racism emanating from Birmingham can’t be ignored. Amongst the Brexit jam jokes and the clown Boris adulation there’s the whiff of Weimar. It has a long history: of failed empire, self-entitlement, presumption of place in the world and discomfort at status decline.

England is not happy about its place in the world.

From “Are you thinking what we’re thinking” to Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British workers” to Labours immigration mugs to Farage’s extraordinary campaign poster, to the now largely forgotten and conveniently ignored murder of Jo Cox – this is the culmination of decades of hate against migrants, asylum seekers, black people, Roma, eastern Europeans, anyone that can be cast under the gaze of tabloid Britain’s toxic ink.

None of this should come as a surprise to any of us.

aef11df0-089e-41e5-a4fe-24056d19fa8bWhen we challenged Nigel Farage on the streets of Edinburgh we were condemned as a ‘mob’ and accused of racism. Now a Scotland that voted to retain its place in a European community of nations is accused of ‘divisive nationalism’. The hypocrisy can’t keep up with the incoherent racists outpourings.

But it starts at home. Ruth Davidson’s jocular self-hatred is a comforting form of confused Uncle Tom rhetoric designed to ingratiate herself with her colleagues:

“I’m delighted we have such spectacular surroundings. Usually they put the Scots in a place where nothing can be broken. Or stolen for that matter!”

As she cleaves to what she perceives to be the dominate culture she will elevate herself in her party and its circles but she will denigrate her own culture even if such comments are airbrushed by a pliant and docile Scottish media.

Bargaining Chips

Part of the outcome of racism is always to re-categorise people. Yesterday Liam Fox re-categorised people as ‘bargaining chips’: “Liam Fox describes EU nationals in Britain “one of our main [negotiating] cards”.  

Now, amongst the sneering against Trump for his xenophobia and language about building walls and blaming foreigners, we have our own government talking about a ‘hard border’ in Ireland and ramping up language about Great Britain. As John Heese wrote on twitter: “A hard means a hard Irish border, and a hard Irish border means the Good Friday Agreement is toast.”

1979764_10152954509288438_6360516873813664924_n1The need for an alternative media is not motivated simply as a corrective to ‘unionist’ bias. It is needed as an urgent act of solidarity with people from around the world who live in this country and are being threatened and for all the people that will need to come to this country as they are fleeing wars we are complicit in, or for all those people that are already working for low-wages to pick your fruit or care for your sick and elderly relatives.

Our Prime Minister this week told us that “foreign doctors will be allowed to stay “until further numbers [of home-grown doctors] are trained”. It’s a miserable ungrateful view of the world, unwelcoming belligerent and puerile.

None of this is to pretend that we are immune from racism / superior / problem free (or any of the other completely unnecessary caveats) here in Scotland. Clearly we are not. But we are having attitudes and policies that we have rejected imposed on us and are being exposed to a steady stream of invective that should not be tolerated. Today leaders of SNP, Plaid and Greens jointly condemn “the most toxic rhetoric on immigration seen from any government in living memory”. #CPC16

It’s incumbent on the media to call to account the representatives of the Tory Party in Scotland for these policies, not to brush it away as some kind of softer Northern variant. It’s important now for Scottish society to come together to show solidarity with those threatened by such language and to reject the triumphalism and xenophobia of British nationalism.

It turns out that Brexit means racism.




Comments (83)

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  1. douglas clark says:


    Excellent article, completely agree.

  2. Kenny says:

    Yep, all of us have a responsibility to challenge and call it out for what it is.
    Really good to see the joint statement from the SNP, Greens and Plaid.
    Tackling this has to transcend party political lines. Would have been helpful to see a more robust approach from the Labour Party, really disappointing that their official response was to circulating a meme highlighting the Tory failure to meet their immigration reduction targets.

    1. Crubag says:

      Interesting that the statement includes no call for EU membership, whether UK or Scotland/Wales. It really is a dead duck

      There is only a call for close ties with Europe, which is revealing of a certain “fog in the channel, continent cut-off”. We’re already in Europe, culturally, politically and economically and geographically and will always be so.

    2. Greig McCalman says:

      It is worth highlighting that this is the tories moving to the centre found of politics in England and that labour have promised to be tougher on immigration than the tories.

      English politics has turned into a vile and tragic downward spiral that Scots should avoid at all costs.

      Shame on the red and blue tories, this is a disgraceful day for English politics!

      1. Crubag says:

        Corbyn is happy with high levels of immigration. At least there will be a clear choice come the election.

        1. Pratim says:

          No he isn’t for high level of immigration, nor are the other non-racist parties. They are pointing out that the problem UK faces are not because of immigration but because of continuous failure from govt. When govt implements policies to penalise businesses exploiting workers, regulating nonsense rent rise, nonsense transportation cost increase, etc -life of every resident( British and Non-british) will improve.
          Kicking out Non-british and becoming racist won’t solve any of the problems. UK is becoming like Hungary. The whole world is watching.

  3. Mary Mac. says:

    Yes Mike, glad you’ve finally noticed that nationalism is not pleasant. But of course your shit smells better doesn’t it.

    1. Try and address some of the issues outlined in the article rather than just vent?

    2. Wullie says:

      British nationalism has been killing folk for 300 years & is still at it! Is that what you meant to say?

    3. Robert Graham says:

      well at least six arse holes agree with you arent you clever being able to type and spout shit at the time , try and hide your identity a bit more Ruth yer mask is slipping dear .

    4. Otis Galloway says:

      People like You and Steve Arnott make glad I’m leaving. In fact I hope every immigrant like me does the same thing.

  4. Peter Clive says:

    Excellent, there is now an urgent need to draw and hold the line and make clear “they shall not pass”

    80 years after Cable Street as well!


  5. Mary Mac. says:

    It’s unbelievable. A nationalist who bases all politics fundamentally on identity pointing the finger at other nationalists exploiting the very same base human instincts.

    I would say it lacked self awareness except the sinister thing is that it’s willful and knowing.

    1. Kenny says:

      Conflating the rabid narrative coming from the Tory Party and the campaign for Scotland to be an independently governed country, is ‘wilful and knowing’ on your part.
      Don’t let the facts get in the way of an opportunity to score cheap points against self determination.
      You know fine well that the call for independence is not based on identity or ethnicity, it’s based on a fundamental principle of democracy.
      It’s ironic that some folk choose to ignore the current democratic deficit in Scotland, and are happy to accept it when the single Scottish Tory MP tells us how Scotland will deal with the Brexit fall out.

      1. Arne says:

        This site and Scot nats regularly indulge in polemical dog whistle identity politics predicated on demonising a specific group – mostly people who have identity invested in being British and English (albeit cleverly coded but no less prevalent – e.g. theThe debate about immigration into Scotland being need always assumes that immigration ought to come from overseas and not within the UK – i.e- Poles ok, English not ok.), the middle class, normal Scottish small c conservatives, non nationalists, Labour supporters, certain bette noir individuals who disagree with the agenda including journalists and on and on. The list is quite lengthy. The very fact that English nationalism is now toxic in no way changes the fact that all nationalism are predicated on exclusivity of identity and belonging. Hence despite having a referendum, despite voting No, the language is still about what Scotland wants, when it ought to be what a minority of Scots want.

        And critiscing nationalism is not the same as being anti independence nor being open to changing forms of political and constitutional arrangement.

        1. Can you give an example of a Scottish pro-indy politician arguing against immigration (from within or outwith the Uk?)

          1. Arne says:

            Of course not, they are far too smart and disciplined for that. But the rhetoric about immigration always focuses on immigration from overseas, not migration from within the UK. Scotland being dragged out of Europe by xenephobic England and Wales is the rhetoric, when it needs immigration. Not once have I heard a Scottish politician or nationalist commentator posit the possibility that the obvious solution is to start a recruitment drive South of the border in order to balance things.

            Why not?

            It’s not just what’s said, it’s what’s not said that you can infer implication.

        2. Valerie says:

          You must have missed all the SNP MPs, in the last year, using their time and influence to support those down south. You don’t have a clue how often they are begged to speak outside Parliament for the disabled, the doctors, the elderly. During the debate on Chilcot, they took turns to leave the debate, and front groups outside demanding justice.

          You must have missed the invite, and the acceptance of many doctors in the south to come up here where they will be valued.

          How is the Indy cause based on identity, when any identity is welcomed in this country.

          You are stirring up shit about a minority. This country has numerous reasons to be on good terms, Scotland is not threatening a hard Border.

        3. Tarisgal says:

          Well either you are willfully ignoring or just plain ignorant of the facts, re:

          “The debate about immigration into Scotland being need always assumes that immigration ought to come from overseas and not within the UK – i.e- Poles ok, English not ok.)”.

          Your comment seems to suggest that Scots would not welcome English ‘immigrants’… If you followed debate, bloggs, Twitter etc., you would have seen for yourself that the ‘English not okay’ comment is totally inaccurate. Many English people have commented how they wish to Remain in EU and wish there was a way to remain as there may be in Scotland or are ashamed of the recent tory xenophobic, racist policies, or have commented “I wish we lived up there” – and I can’t count how many people have responded with, “Come on up to Scotland then. We will welcome you with open arms”. Or “Just move up here – the kettle’s on!” Not only that, but Nicola Sturgeon was quite specific that junior doctors or others who found their English contracts intolerable was welcome to apply for jobs here. She has also made it clear that English people feeling uncomfortable with the current English racist trends would be welcome. It does no one any good to pretend that things are the way you wish it to be – rather than what’s actually happening. And your comments lead me to believe that you WISH Scottish National Party supporters to be seen as the baddies… But the internet is a wonderful thing. And can disprove lies.

          As for: “Hence despite having a referendum, despite voting No, the language is still about what Scotland wants, when it ought to be what a minority of Scots want.” Here we have another case of what you want things to be. The Scottish National Party was voted in in May’s elections with a higher number of votes than ever and higher than has been garnered by any other Party at any time. I think that gives the Scottish National Party the mandate to proclaim they are speaking for the Scottish people. The majority of people get to speak through the elected government. That’s how democracy works. And while the ‘no’ people voted to stay a part of the UK, it does NOT signify that they are content with the current state of affairs, and I’d say that the Scottish National Party being a very clear winner in the recent elections says, “Scotland wants our elected government to govern differently to that of WM”! Scotgov is expected to speak for EVERYONE, not just ‘no’ voters. THAT is democracy.

          Yes – the ‘no’ voters won the last Independence Referendum, but that was then. With all the wishing in the world, election results DO NOT last forever! Hence the reason we have elections on a regular basis! And as the UK is now a whole different country to that one which Scots voted to stay in, and every single promise we were given is unkept, we have every right to protest and work toward a different result. I’m getting rather tired of that old cliche, “You aren’t respecting the ‘no’ vote – we voted to stay in the union”. Well actually, Scotgov DID respect it. We ARE still in the UK despite the wishes of nearly half the population. Or did I miss something? Two years later (which is a loooong time in politics!) Scotland voted 62% (to 38%) to ‘Remain’ – exactly when are ‘no’ voters going to respect that?? If ‘no’ wants respect, then they have to give some. It is NOT a one way street. Simple as that.

          But I will agree with you on this point: “It’s not just what’s said, it’s what’s not said that you can infer implication.” The inference that Scots are anti-English seems to be implied in your comment – though you didn’t actually say it… And implied that Scottish National Party supporters are undemocratic – though you didn’t actually say it…

  6. Craig Miller says:

    No triangulation allowed in this awful state we are in… Hate Putin, Hate secular Syria…Hate whoever they want to threaten now condemnation of the vile apaartheid statelets crimes on the stolen land of Palestine is referred to as Hate Speech… We are all Winston Smith now..whipped up to hate and love by a Ministry of Truth… As retailed by the state licensed mass media…..

  7. Crubag says:

    Apart from being wrong, labelling all those who voted to leave the Union – a bankrupt, sclerotic and undemocratic lash-up – as racist risks legitimising racism. The majority voted for leave.

    There are many good reasons to leve the EU – none of which relate to concepts of race or racial superiority – as a million Scots recognised.

    The remainder are so indifferent to the EU that there is no desire to re-run the referendum or to use it as a platform for indy 2.

    The Union instutions were rejected because of their detatchment, indifference snd secrecy – like Westminster but with fewer excuses as they are only a few decades old.

    1. James Mills says:

      The majority in Scotland who voted remain are not necessarily indifferent to the EU as you suggest . You object to the Leavers being branded ‘racist’ yet you ascribe indifference to the majority of Scots who voted remain . Do try and be consistent .
      Why , you ask , has there been no challenge to the result ? Perhaps they accepted the democratic will of the majority – unpleasant as that might be .
      That does not require silence in the face of the overt stigmatisation of ‘foreigners’ which was a theme before and after the referendum and , sadly , has continued apace at the Brexit Party Conference .

    2. Maria F says:

      Crubag 3 days ago

      “The majority voted for leave”.
      Only the majority in England and Wales did. The majority in NI and an overwhelming majority in Scotland voted to remain, let’s not forget about that.

      When you say ‘majority’ you are blurring the very important fact that the population in England represents an 85% of the total population in the UK. Currently it is obvious to everybody that doesn’t choose to close their eyes to reality that the political trajectories of Scotland and England are strikingly different, so dismissing the overwhelming support to remain in the EU shown by Scotland and also by NI last June by saying ‘the majority voted to leave’ when the overwhelming majority of those voting leave were in England is in my opinion extremely unfair and does nothing other than fuel the outrage caused by the democratic deficit that Scotland is subjected to within the UK.

      “There are many good reasons to leve the EU”
      As there are even more good reasons for Scotland to remain in the EU. it has been announced that up to 80000 jobs may well be lost in Scotland by leaving the EU. Scotland cannot afford that.

      Independently of ‘the good reasons to leave the EU’ Crubag, this is not longer the time to campaign to convince the Scottish people to leave the EU. The time for this was during the referendum campaign previous to the EU vote. The people of Scotland spoke at the polls in June and a 62% of those voting in Scotland did so to remain in the EU you like it or not. What you are suggesting is that the vote of those 62% should be made count less than the one of the 38% that voted to leave and that is completely undemocratic.

      If you dismiss the vote of the 62% that voted to remain in favour of the 38% that voted to leave, then you must dismiss also the result of indiref1 because it is rather obvious to anyone now how toxic the Uk has turned out to be for Scotland and how all the promises made by the Better Together during the campaign turned out to be all rubbish one by one and many of their assertions designed to cause fear were a pile of crap (remember that cracker one of the bbc licence costing twice as much for the scottish people in the case of independence? And what about that one about taking the HQ of RBS down to England if we voted Yes? Turns out that they moved them anyway, didn’t they?).

      “as a million Scots recognised”
      1.6 million of Scots (that is the 62% of those voting in June and an overwhelming majority) recognised that remaining in the EU was better for Scotland at this moment in time. Crubag, In what other than Tory selfserving universe the opinion of 1 million of Scots should be given more weight than to the opinion of 1.6 million?

      “The remainder are so indifferent to the EU that there is no desire to re-run the referendum or to use it as a platform for indy 2”
      Speak for yourself Crubag. I am so outraged by the flip-flop selfserving actions of Ms Davidson and the hypocritical attitude of Ms Dugdale that I am ravenous for another indiref. If flip-flop Davidson and contradiction-personified Dugdale can justify themselves ignoring the result of the EU referendum in Scotland for their own personal agendas, I do not see why the 46% should respect the result of indiref1.

      Do the unionist parties want the 46% to respect indiref1? Then they can lead by example by fully endorsing and enforcing the will of the Scottish voters during the EU referendum and start delivering all the promises made during indiref1, one by one.

      The way I see it, the NO vote in September 2014 was conditional to the delivery of those promises and to the Uk remaining as it was. None of these have materialised so the NO vote not longer counts.

      “The Union instutions were rejected because of their detatchment, indifference snd secrecy – like Westminster but with fewer excuses as they are only a few decades old”
      Only a 38% of those voting in Scotland in June did so to reject those EU institutions Crubag, which we all know are not perfect. And that is without counting all the EU citizens living in Scotland which were deprived of a vote, even when their lives are most affected by it.

      Now, a 46% rejected in 2014 the government of Westminster. Today that figure may be considerably higher, given the recent developments and the trail of destruction in the form of broken promises and inaccuracies the Better Together left behind.

      Talking about personal experience, apart of that detachment, indifference and secrecy of Westminster, some of those 46% voted so to reject the democratic deficit Scotland is subjected to in Westminster and the fact that it is obvious now that another country decides what government is in control of Scotland’s affairs.

      It was not the EU who voted to renew trident against the will of the Scottish people. It was not the EU who dragged Scotland against its will to bomb Syria, it is not the EU who imposed on Scotland a government rejected by a 85% of the people in Scotland, and it is not the EU who are forcing Scotland out of the EU against its will. It is not the EU who damaged the Oil industry in Scotland. It is not the EU who decided to break the promise of building the frigates in Scotland. It is not the EU who promised devo max and delivered none. It is not the EU who took the HMRC jobs away from Scotland. It is not the EU who removed the subsides from the renewables industry to the detriment of Scotland. It is not the EU who is controlling Scotland’s immigration policies. It is not the EU who has been feeding on Scotland’s assets for decades and no recycling it back into Scotland. No, that is the prerogative of the corrupt Westminster government personified today for Tories, under investigation for electoral funding fraud and appealing to xenophobia to scrap some votes.

  8. John B Dick says:

    I can’t agree on one point.

    I’m not quite dead yet and though my memory isn’t as good as it was, I still remember the 1940’s and as I recall there was a government in Germany then that was even more racist.

    Even in UK successful Jewish businessmen were looked down upon whereas those who had inherited their wealth were admired for their supposed stewardship of land and public service in running the country in furtherence of their sense of duty.

    ‘No coloured, no Irish’ was not uncommon and accepted as normal, even when deplored. A mixed marraige was not a black and white issue. It was Catholic and Protestant.

    Then there is illegitemacy, and homosexuality.

    Scotland today is less racist and less predjudiced than it was in 1945, and significantly, casual racism does not go unrecognised for what it is, as the existence of this article itself shows.

    1. douglas clark says:

      I agree with you.

      It is interesting, is it not, that we are now tied to a nationalist, limited, state that completely hates everyone? Including most of it’s core – English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland constituencies?

      They love only money and people with it.

      It is rule by sound bite, rule by rabble rousing.

      Theresa May is an utterly unworthy, and unelected lunatic, in the Trump demagoguery category.

  9. bringiton says:

    Where does this leave the global “free” marketeering philosophy of the Tories and New Labour?
    Capital is free to move but not labour,unless you are a banker or some other perceived economically vital person or press baron.
    Even their ideas of free movement of capital aren’t going to last very long once trade barriers start to go up.
    What a tangled web we weave……and what a deception perpetrated by these clowns in Westminster.
    I see trouble ahead…..big trouble.

  10. Craig Miller says:

    Personally speaking… based on decades long habitation in both… racists are common in both… We get the same mass media voice and if the Herald has a kilt on… it also has a See You Jimmy hat and Lions rugby shirt… shorthand that eh?.. these people just pass it on.. this is about media… mass media,a cultural government nurtured Goliath versus a crowd funded, whistling in the dark David… Scotland needs more better broadcast media… does anyone think the electorist SNP champion free speech?… scared of the reaction of the british mass media to any perceived controversial statement in an increasingly offended world

    1. Interesting point about the See You Jimmy Hat. Isn’t that self-mocking? Taking the piss out of ourselves?

      1. Craig Miller says:

        Naw… I have never worn one anyway…. Self depreciation?…. Is that not like…… the infamous ” cringe”?.. all the Rorys and Fionas… anglo Scots… tourists… have you been self depreciating yourself by wearing funny hats?…. I don’t get it

  11. EdinburghStudent says:

    I was a previous No voter and now a very soft Yes/middle ground voter following this mad Brexit situation and the transition of the governing Tory party into the French National Front. That said – there is plently of racism and bigotry in Scotland – and we still are relativity untouched by mass migration experienced in parts of England so I would say that there is a significant potential dormant force of it here in Scotland. I am personally English and I have argued with Scots (one of the 1.1 million voted for Brexit) about anti migrant and anti Polish views (I work for NHS Lothian and one of the patients relatives was particularly vicious about the Poles). That said – the political rhetoric is far, far better than the madness currently becoming the norm in England but it is not a given or inevitability that Scotland can guard against this just because “this is Scotland and we don’t do that here”.

    1. Valerie says:

      Scotland is not perfect. There is racism and bigotry, sadly, but we must all call it out as we see it, and I’m glad you did. I take the view if I don’t speak out, I’m complicit.

      What we do have here, are leaders who are diametrically opposed to the current rhetoric down south, we know the first announcement Sturgeon made was to reassure EU nationals after the referendum, that got her and Scotland recognition in Europe.

      Can you imagine what the EU are making of May and her Ministers now? I suspect May was a quiet Brexiteer, such is her vehemence in this.

      I’m ashamed today to even share the same land mass as these people, they have given further rein to racial tension. They are fanning the flames, SNP will always move to condemn it.

    2. Robert Dawson Scott says:

      Your point about Scotland not having experienced large-scale immigration yet is a good one – although there are plenty of Italian Scots who will tell you of some pretty shocking experiences they faced in the relatively small wave of Italian immigrants in the early 20th century, as woudlthe Asian population more recently, and of course not to mention the Irish in the 19th century. We would do well not to be complacent about the possibility of it breaking out here. They key thing that has changed in England, though, is that it is now apparently OK to call out people for their race and origins; why, the Prime Minsiter does it herself.

  12. Alf Baird says:

    Scots unionists are well used to “denigrate (their) own culture” (in deference to a supposed ‘superior’ culture) given they have 300+ years of practice searching for their British nirvana illusion. The rest of us Scots are probably that used to imbedded UK style cultural racism we hardly notice it any more. Jings we dinna e’en quaisten hou we arena taucht wir ain langage – radge or whit?

    Paradoxically we still await the SNP’s ‘Scots Language Act’. Aa widna haud ma braith tho!

  13. Thrawn says:

    This article itself would not be out of place in the Daily Mail…it certainly abides by the same journalistic standards where an entire country is deemed racist because:

    1: The British government are looking ways of maintaining wage levels of British workers by preventing them from being undercut by migrants willing to work for less
    2: One elderly ex Labour voter turned Liberal Democrat campaigner makes a crass and stupid remark (that you cynically and duplicitously somehow attempt to link to the Tory party conference)
    3: A government minister makes an off the cuff remark about the Brexit negoitating strategy…one that is immediately disowned by the minister directly responsible
    4: The British government wishes to increase the number of UK trained doctors

    All of this is particulary rich given that currently the only part of the UK to make limitations on access to its services based on nationality is…yes SCOTLAND…who prevent English and Welsh students from getting the same benefit as Scottish ones with regards to tuition fees…strikes me as pretty racist that

    1. Wullie says:

      Let them discard tuition fees themselves. Problem solved. You protest too much from the wrong end of the telescope!

      1. Crubag says:

        One benefit of Brexit is that those rules – which allow unequal treatment within a member state but not between member states – will no longer apply.

    2. Thanks ‘Thrawn’ your comparison with the Daily Mail is brilliant.

      I could have listed endless, countless examples of anti-Scottish racism, not just John Cleese. Would you like me to do so?

      I’m not alone in finding the messages coming out of Birmingham repellent. As I mentioned in the article today leaders of SNP, Plaid and Greens jointly condemn “the most toxic rhetoric on immigration seen from any government in living memory”.

      It is.

      1. Crubag says:

        The independence white paper was arguing for a controlled immigration policy using a points based approach for non-EU nationals.

        By the time there is a second indy white paper the situation on the continent may be quite different from 2014 – certainly it looks like Schengen will come to an end.

        1. But we’re not defending or discussing the White Paper of 2014, nor can we really defend a counter-factual future scenario we don’t yet know, can we? What we’re discussing is the rhetoric of a government today, now.

          1. Thrawn says:

            If you are arguing that the UK government discussing how to manage its immigration strategy is racist…then yes you do have to defend the SNP doing the same…or you need to state what exactly you think an independent Scotland should have as its policy…and if it is anything less than absolute open borders be prepared to be accused of the same racism

          2. No I don’t because it’s been Scottish Govt policy (SNP now and Labour before) to encourage people to come and live and work here as part of our need to fill skills gap. It was called the Fresh Talent initiative and it was binned by the UK govt.

            The manner in which the debate today and for recent times has been framed is explicitly racist.

          3. schweppeslimone says:

            “But we’re not defending or discussing the White Paper of 2014”

            Seeking to control immigration into densely populated nation-state overseen by ‘Westminster’ and ‘a Tory Government’ that has overall has experienced high level of immigration over an extended period of time:


            Seeking to control immigration by smaller part of nation-state with aspirations of ‘independence’ that has much lower population density and has experienced a tiny fraction of the above level of immigration over the same period of time, for Scottish Scottisher Scottishy Scottishness sake:

            ABSOLUTELY FINE.

  14. Thrawn says:

    oh well…if the SNP Plaid and Greens said so…it MUST be true…obviously they don’t have any other agenda that is served by making ridiculous hyperbolic crass generalisations about the UK government.

    Oh and I’m pretty sure I could list endless, countless examples of anti-English racism as well…and I wouldn’t even have to leave the comments sections of this site

    Honestly Mike…you need to take a breath and really think if the nationalist agenda is best served by branding the 1million or so Scots who also voted for Brexit as racists.

    1. I didn’t brand anyone, I reflected the bile coming out of cabinet ministers mouths. ‘Brexist means Racism’ doesn’t brand anyone, out simply documents the outcomes we can all witness.

    2. Arne says:

      Absolutely right. The cynicism is starting to grate. There is a clear political agenda at play here, I suspect issued from above in Scot government? Maybe not but the message is uniform. Brexit, not criticised for it’s own sake, but in order to further Scottish nationalism cause, to further divsion between England and Scotland, to indulge in self righteousness to deflect from the unpleasant nationalism in Scottish politics. Opportunism, nothing more, nothing less.

      1. A ‘clear politics agenda here’. You’re right ‘Arne’ there is! Go to the top of the class!

        You ‘suspect issued from above by the Scot government’. Ah, that’s where you disappear into paranoid fantasy.

        Would love to stay and chit-chat but just got to go and collect next weeks articles from Bute House.

      2. Alan Stewart says:

        “unpleasant nationalism in Scottish politics”
        You really have your finger on the pulse there, pal.
        I guess it takes a while for the news to reach Omicron Persei 8.

  15. William Ross says:

    Sorry Editor, but Thrawn called it absolutely right. You are trying to generate a mountain out of molehill. I hear nothing from Birmingham that concerns me and my wife is an immigrant. To equate Brexit with racism is mad and bad. It is simply tosh. I am an SNP Leaver without a racist drop of blood in my body. I do not know of a single Leave voter who was a racist.

    1. Wullie says:

      Obviously living in a bubble!

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      It must feel good to have blood that pure!

    3. Willie says:

      The tirade against immigrants, the making of lists, the naming and shaming, the send them home message, and you say that there’s no racism. Most strange. In fact very strange.

  16. Terence Callacha says:

    Amazing isn’t it that THRAWN says here in his comment that when England and Wales decided to charge their students £9000 in tuition fees and Scotland decided not to charge ,it is Scotland that is being racist by not allowing English and Welsh students to come and take advantage of fee free tuition here in Scotland ? Typical unionist view of the world they want to benefit and get get get but don’t want to contribute anything.Nobody forced England and Wales to introduce tuition fees they decided to do it themselves.Scotland d coded not to,England and Wales can reverse their decision and provide what Scotland provides.

    1. Thrawn says:

      The students in France and Italy also have to pay tuition fees…we let them come and study for free…so why do we single out the English?

      1. Crubag says:

        EU rules don’t allow discrimination against other member states or their citizens. Discrimination within a member state isn’t an EU issue.

        In the event 2014 had been yes, and 2016 remain, rUK students would have had the same entitlement as Scots – which would have been unaffordable.

        1. Thrawn says:

          So to summarise….we are prevented by EU law from discriminating students on the basis of nationality (presumably as the editor would agree because it is racist), irrespective of the benefits or lack thereof given to those students in their own country, but choose to do so against the English so we can retain our subsidy to middle class Scottish families

          1. Crubag says:

            Against fellow member states, yes. The same goes (in theory) for state aid. States can subsidise a home industry (providing also it doesn’t contravene WTO rules) if it doesn’t affect industries in other member states.

            I’d imagine if they could, the SNP would have limited tuition fees to Scots students only.

          2. Wullie says:

            There is no subsidy, just as in primary & secondary education, there is no charge for tertiary. Middle class folks pay their taxes & so will graduates.

  17. Arne says:

    What I find frustrating is that the wider issue is lost in all the point scoring. The situation is that we are going through a period of transition across Europe and the world. There are wider historical processes at play. 1) the shift in the balance of global power to the east (China) 2) The decline of European and US industrial and economic pre-eminanace 3) The inability of the nation state to combat and manage the malign aspects of globalisation and global capital.

    Scottish Independence needs to address this reality, that it is part of a wider phenomenon – arguing about the details, who is more racist, and more xenephobic is pointless when all nationalism has such potentiality – let us remember the last time Scotland had immigration on the scale of parts of England was Glasgow and the Irish or Aberdeen and the Northern English. Neither was free of the kind of negativity we are currently seeing in England (I’m afraid there were quite a few incidents of physical attacks on English in Aberdeen back in the 80s and 90’s – with much anti English graffiti on walls SNLA type stuff – but more insidiously it was part of the normal accepted discourse – banter – and still (less so) is. And as for the Irish,well…

    It would be nice if the wider issue (the impotence of all nation states vis a vis the global economy) could be addressed. This is why I believe nationalism, both Scottish, British and where ever is not the answer. Fragmentation is not the answer as it simply pits one group against another – blue collar Americans who live in towns where the only industry has moved away versus Mexican immigrants, working class Scots left behind by globalisation versus English and Welsh working classes, French shipyard workers agains Algerian immigrants.

    And along come populists of all kinds, left wing, right wing, who manipulate the situation for their own ends and power.

    This is history.

    1. schweppeslimone says:


      Get out of here with your broad current and historical perspective.

      Scottish Nationalism is a Scottish Scottisher Scottishy Scottishest CIVIC Nationalism.

      It is different, and better than other Nationalisms. It is a SUPERIOR Nationalism.

      This is Bella Caledonia – you are not welcome.

    2. Wul says:

      “This is why I believe nationalism, both Scottish, British and where ever is not the answer.”

      What is the answer Arne?

      How do I, and the large majority of voters in Scotland, get the kind of government we actually vote for?

  18. As we watch the commentators lap-up May’s line about being ‘here for the working class’ – this comment from Ally Fogg on twitter gets it right:

    “There’s a political tradition that marries aggressive nationalism & xenophobia to state power & faux concern for the native working classes, & it isn’t called centrism.”

    1. Crubag says:

      National Socialism?

      1. Crubag says:

        But totalitarian regimes are all much of a muchness.

        State planning, thought crime, and unbelievable government statistics.

    2. Thrawn says:

      You do realise you just described the SNP….

      1. Crubag says:

        No, the SNP has its faults and I say that as a loyal voter until recently, but it is within the mainstream liberal/social democratic trend, a bit of state intervention but mostly free market.

        Sometimes it goes too far that way, like putting a corporate lobbyist in charge of the economic policy refresh, sometimes too far the other, like state guardians, but these are exceptions.

  19. Craig Miller says:

    Bella Caledonia supports Scottish Independence?….. Ha ha ha…. OK…. but it’s never been an SNP e comic…. The Tories are disgusting pigs from another country entirely, we didn’t vote for them beyond 20% yet these foreign Tories have control of our European citizenship….. I don’t want foreign control to continue another minute

  20. Craig Miller says:

    Anyone who thinks free Scots are abusive to the english should read the Telegraph… I don’t know why even otherwise quite sensible english people become totally insane when confronted with Scottish Independence.. as if they were our joint landlord or they personally owned part of us… even otherwise well read and well balanced english people get unhinged when Scottish self determination is broached…

    1. bringiton says:

      The reason,of course is that an independent English state is not a viable proposition,and they know it.

      1. Wullie says:

        It will also look ridiculous on the map of Europe, England reduced t0 its Elizabethan borders. We will all have a good laugh! 🙂 Brexit begets Nemesis!

      2. Really? Why would that be true?

    2. Alf Baird says:

      “even otherwise well read and well balanced english people get unhinged when Scottish self determination is broached”

      And don’t forget the 1,000,000 or so who live in Scotland or have hooses here (so can register to vote), and who mostly (80%+) voted No. When it comes to Scottish independence, significant cultural factors are far more important influences for many No voters than economics etc. I.e. it would not matter a jot if Scotland were the richest nation on earth, dominant cultural influences mean many would still vote No.

      1. Craig Miller says:

        well I am a Scottish Nationalist since my distant teens, not SNP….. a student of colonialism…. our internal colonization and as you point out so pertainatly this creeping actual colonization….I hate britain worse than dirt

    3. douglas clark says:

      Me neither. I have known a lot of English people over the years and not one has been as offensive as the comments on the Telegraph. Sure, they would argue we were subsidy junkies and such like but the level of offense we see now comes from the top of the Conservative and (lest we forget) Unionist Party. It is a feeding frenzy of English nationalism and it is not pretty.

      I expect, when this is fully implemented, we’ll be tattooed with a Thistle, the Welsh with a Leek and the Northern Irish with a Shamrock. Of course we’ll all be dead already because Theresa May by invoking a leaving date for foreign doctors will have, ahem, accidentally encouraged perhaps the easiest sector of our society to leave already. The woman is an incompetent fool.

  21. Angela Kennedy says:

    “t is needed as an urgent act of solidarity with people from around the world who live in this country and are being threatened and for all the people that will need to come to this country as they are fleeing wars we are complicit in, or for all those people that are already working for low-wages to pick your fruit or care for your sick and elderly relatives.”

    Er – excuse me, but some of us ARE those sick and elderly relatives, being persecuted by this government, and we need solidarity too of course. But what we DON’T need is to be othered in the way this article has done! You’ve just made the article ableist! 🙁

  22. Butch Cassidy says:

    Why have all these immigrants entered England over the past 20 years if it such a racist country?

    1. Craig Miller says:

      You nicked all their stuff…? well from some of them anyway…. The others maybe come because it’s so cosmopolitan what with all the foreigners living there already… I liked Maltese bouncers from Soho, Jamaican taxi drivers from Brixton …. Jewish salt beef vendors from Mile End….Irish Lotharios from Kennigton…. some english people were OK but then I didn’t actively seek them out… I lived there for twenty years

  23. Steve Arnott says:

    Brexit means racism?

    What, back to claiming all Leave voters are racists and that a left vote against the neo-liberal capitalist club that is the EU is ‘getting into bed’ with xenophobes and racists?

    Perhaps, by the same logic, everyone who fought the Nazis in WWII were backers of De Gualle, Churchill or Stalin?

    Or, by equally weak logic, racism presumably didn’t exist prior to the Brexit vote?

    1. Alan Stewart says:

      I was under the impression that the article was referring to the reaction TO brexit, by the current government.

      1. Broadbield says:

        Me too. It was also, in my simple mind, a polemical/rhetorical piece of artistic licence.

        But make no mistake, a vote for the Tories is now a vote for xenophobia and racism – they have made that clear themselves.

    2. Maria F says:

      Steve Arnott

      “Brexit means racism?”

      Sadly for Scotland Steve Arnott, I think today yes it does. But not just racism. I would add to that that Brexit for Scotland will become the culmination of the massive democratic deficit to which Scotland is subjected to within this allegedly democratic Union of 4 countries. So democratic is this Union that only the country with the highest level of population gets its way in every thing. The rest just must tag along no matter how they vote and no matter how much damage it means to them.

      Scotland voted overwhelmingly in June to remain in the EU by an outstanding 62% against a 38%. A success for all the political parties in Scotland who campaigned for that. And yet, we have the ironic situation where Ms Davidson is stabbing in the back the 62% by demanding from them to forget about what she asked them to vote for, forget the democratic result of the referendum in Scotland, forget the disastrous consequences that leaving the EU may well have for Scotland (it has been announced that around 80000 jobs can be lost in Scotland with Brexit) and follow her like sheep following the butcher to the slaughter house to Brexit. Why? Well, because it is convenient for her career progression, for her party retaining power and have a source of natural assets they can put their hands on whenever they want to help to cover up their mismanagement of the UK’s economy. Ms DAvidson is fighting on behalf of a party that has formed the government in Westminster without mandate from Scotland, which overwhelmingly rejected it at the polls in the form of 85% of the electorate who voted in the GE, voting for a different party. But this of course, doesn’t count in this beacon of democracy that is the Union.

      Sadly, this party, rejected by an 85% of those voting in Scotland, has decided to take a dangerous and irresponsible route, which is that of flirting hard with xenophobia and racism so as they can scrap a few more votes down south and make UKIP redundant. I guess that this may well be to compensate for the consequences of all those investigations in Tory electoral funding fraud that the MSM doesn’t want us to know about.

      So there we are Steve, this xenophobia and racism-flirting-Tory government not elected by Scotland, getting away with dragging Scotland out of the EU against Scotland’s will means for Scotland poverty and a bout of xenophobia that Scotland didn’t ask for.

      On the other side of the coin we have Ms Dugdale, contradiction personified. This is the person that by her own words gets up every morning to fight the tories at Westminster. She doesn’t fight them in Scotland. No, in Scotland she joins the tories against the government that has been democratically elected by the majority of those voting in Scotland. I guess this is the democratic way of the UK. Never mind that Ms Dugdale is a MSP and therefore her only jurisdiction is Holyrood. And of course, never mind Scotland and all those supporting independence, as, by the look of it, they are just a stepping stone to reach Westminster for the Unionist parties wannabes.

      so yes, brexit means racism for Scotland. A racism that Scotland didn’t ask for, a brexit that Scotland voted against and that is going to be delivered by a political party in government Scotland overwhelmingly rejected at the polls. So for Scotland brexit means not only racism uncalled for but also the realisation that Scotland will never stand a chance at democracy unless it abandons this undemocratic Union of 4 countries.

  24. c rober says:

    I have to love the British jobs for British workers crap , meaning a move over to in farming more intensive mechachemical practices , exporting wealth to tractor makers , pharma and of course banks that will fund it. It also means a move over to Victorian work houses , benefits for work , in the lowest paid jobs and of course where HS2 imports workers into London where they cannot afford to live , due to said low wages , zero hours contracts and a decades long profit making enterprise in private housing over social rented in the capital – as well as completely ignoring the non doms whom will be above and beyond said legislation anyway.

    The bigger long term problem is the Pension bill , which is as always swept under the carpet. Without immigration then paying that pension , for those under the age of 40 today , will be impossible with the birth rate due to increased housing prices and low wage increases. Currently the pension deficit , private , in the Uk today is beyond a trillion pounds , that may not affect your typical Daily mail retireee , or soon to be retiree in the next 10 years , but this group are basically the last to benefit from both private and state pensions as we know it today.

    Someone in the Brexit parties must have done the maths and realised the lack of British Born and educated doctors , where one should be worried here is that this may end up seeing the “immigrant” doctors become the new private medicine version of the NHS. There is already shortages of doctors , and to expect to fill them just after what will now be a hard Brexit according to May , and the French of course demanding free movement as part of any trade deal , is political fantasy.

    And here in lies the problem.

    The problems that have led to brexit has not been as a result of EU membership , it has been the fault of successive UK Govts. They are the ones that made the decisions on investing internally , be that housing , schools , hospitals and importantly jobs even austerity itself…. and every single one of them has resulted in the anti EU , nay total immigration argument to fester , and now the chickens have came home to roost. Today though those voters have shot themselves in the foot , for the grass is greener hope , but unfortunately the groundskeepers will remain the same.

    SO the Tories have adopted the politics of popularism to stave off UKIP , and that may or not be , or appear to be – xenophobic.

    AS the SNP went left to catch the disenfranchised Slabbite , the Tories have went both RIGHT and LEFT in one full swoop , a wider political centre if you will , proclaiming once again , or is it claiming the term once again “working class”. Scottish Labour though , stuck in the doldrums , with no clear identity , no clear lead other than one that says one week Corbyn good , next week Corbyn bad , and until the total change at the top towards a nationalist ear , if not identity back to the days of Hardie and of course Reid – where ironically Corbyn was this week at the lectures.

    The next political test comes after the Brexit countdown starts , while its “only” local elections , it should still serve to show where voter sentiment is going , and of course if the SNP bring that to the local level on whether it will define a ref2.

    The SNP must stand with a mandate to elect at local level is to show voter support for indy2 , thus showing electoral proof of its desire , not just that of the party. The sheer number of first choice votes will dictate that demand to Westminster , and is therefore unable to be ignored. Even with 2nd choice voting , a drive to have that election as a psuedo litmus test should be the goal… anything else will just reek of politics of personal income first , not change.

  25. Willie says:

    Maybe those of us who believe in an inclusive and tolerant Scotland have got it wrong. Since our votes don’t count, and our democratic wishes are ignored, maybe we should be making lists of those who oppose democracy. Let’s name and shame them, so that people know who they are and where they are. Let’s make the hunters feel hunted. Or am I listening to too much of the Tory conference because we ignore these sentiments at our peril.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “our democratic wishes are ignored”; yes, by the 56 SNP MPs who were given a mandate to end the union in 2015. They decided instead to take their seats and the unionist salary + exp.

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