The UK authorities has come beneath hearth in current weeks for its “hostile setting” immigration coverage, which many think about a contributing issue to the tragic deaths of 27 migrants making an attempt to cross the English Channel in November. But what about nations which undertake a pro-immigration stance and politics? And how does a state presenting itself as inclusive impression migrants’ experiences of life in it?
In Scotland, there’s a widespread notion that the nation is open, inclusive and outward-looking. In the final 50 years the nation has voted for extra centre-left political events, resulting in a widespread sense of “no downside right here” relating to racism. This kinds the idea of what we time period “Scottish distinctiveness” in our newest analysis.
But this doesn’t at all times have a wholly humanitarian foundation. Previous analysis has highlighted how a pro-immigration political stance has been utilized in quite a few nationalist sub-state areas – similar to South Tyrol in Italy, Catalonia in Spain and Quebec in Canada – to realize political benefit. This has allowed minority nationalist political events to current themselves as extra caring and progressive than the bigger state authorities, which is often accountable for setting immigration quotas.
Where Scottish distinctiveness comes from
While Scotland doesn’t have the authority to set its personal immigration quotas (it is a reserved UK authorities matter), our analysis has discovered that political teams within the nation have been in a position to make use of insurance policies and public speeches to place the nation as extra open and progressive than the remainder of the UK.
For instance, the New Scots Strategy 2018-2022 is designed to assist the “imaginative and prescient of a welcoming Scotland”. Our evaluation of political speech has additionally proven proof of this development. In a Scottish National Party convention speech in 2016, first minister Nicola Sturgeon mentioned:
Inclusion is the tenet for every thing we do. It encapsulates what we stand for as a celebration and it describes the form of nation we would like Scotland to be. A rustic the place we worth individuals for the contribution they make.
In one other instance, in April 2019, Sturgeon acknowledged:
In Scotland, we all know … that the Westminster method to migration – in addition to being deeply inhumane – poses an existential risk to our future prosperity.
Politicians speaking about inclusivity is at all times to be lauded, however these examples reveal how immigration coverage and the financial contribution of migrants are sometimes aligned. In Scotland, it is because the nation has an ageing inhabitants and destructive inhabitants progress and is in want of migrants to work in public service jobs to safe the longer term financial system. So though politicians current Scotland as inclusive in the direction of migrants, that is usually primarily based on the nation’s financial wants.
But crucially, Scotland’s pro-immigration narrative additionally has a profound impact on how migrants relate their experiences of the nation.
When we spoke to younger grownup migrants residing in Glasgow, we discovered that the concept of Scottish distinctiveness positioned quite a few expectations upon them. For instance, it led interviewees to low cost the seriousness of their experiences of racism. To them, calling this out could be seen as speaking down the nation’s repute and make them seem ungrateful within the eyes of the Scottish public.
Participants recounted traumatic tales of racial discrimination. One younger Roma man from Glasgow informed us that he had been repeatedly attacked by an anti-immigrant gang at college within the south-side of the town. The prevalence of anti-Roma sentiment in Glasgow has been nicely documented.
In one other occasion, a bus driver repeatedly refused journey to a younger refugee and and referred to as the police to confirm their age. Participants additionally informed us that they might not declare to be Scottish with out first “wanting or showing Scottish”. Many felt that as individuals of color and and not using a Scottish accent they had been unable to assert this identification. This is a discovering which contradicts the Scottish authorities’s One Scotland message.
Confirming the narrative
Despite these limitations and traumatic experiences, the younger grownup migrants we spoke with strongly believed that Scotland was welcoming to everybody as a result of the nation “wants extra individuals” and since that they had been given equal alternatives to review and work. Some arrived as refugees in Scotland and had been notably grateful to flee the persecution that they had skilled in their very own nations. This could clarify why they didn’t wish to seem important of any racism or discrimination they skilled.
Some justified their view of Scottish distinctiveness with the opinion that Scotland was extra welcoming to migrants than England, which was perceived as illiberal and extra racially segregated. One informed us:
When you come to Scotland and also you hear it’s a welcoming place it form of places your thoughts comfy. It’s a lot simpler than going to London or some locations down south … [where you hear] about knife crime and hate crime and stuff like that.
The metropolis motto of “People Make Glasgow” was additionally used for instance of the welcoming and open nature of Scottish individuals. Participants usually attributed racist attitudes to a minority of the inhabitants – normally older individuals and soccer followers.
These findings recommend that the concept of the particular Scottish distinctiveness embraced by many Scots performs an necessary position in shaping the opinions of migrants residing in Scotland. But their precise experiences reveal that the nation isn’t as tolerant because it likes to assume it’s.
In the approaching years, we’re prone to see additional claims of Scottish distinctiveness because the SNP authorities seeks to realize assist for a second independence referendum. While it’s encouraging that Scotland embraces a pro-immigration stance, we must also pay attention to how the difficulty can be utilized as a political device.
Marcus Nicolson doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.