2015 is shaping up to be yet another interesting year to follow Scottish Politics. The changing landscape of Scottish politics in the aftermath of the independence referendum and the up and coming Westminster general election will ensure that politics will not be disappearing off our front pages anytime soon.
Whilst Scotland is going through a period of self assessment of how we want to be viewed by the rest of the world, it appears the battle ground on which the Westminster election will be thought upon is the subject of immigration. The rise of UKIP as a political force in England has wide ranging consequences for Scotland, even if, as predicted, they will not even come close to gaining a seat in Scotland in 2015.
Scotland voted in favour of remaining part of the UK in September and as such will be subjected to the same levels of intense immigration debate as the rest of the United Kingdom. Migration levels are mainly an issue that only effects the South East of the UK thanks to the London centric policies stared by the Thatcher administration and continued through the Blair/New Labour era and continues today in the Con/Dem government. At the same time, our media which also remains London centric, projects this as a nationwide issue which creates popular myths and in some cases breads hatred to those who relocate to the United Kingdom.
If you ask those who are interested in Scottish Politics, the popular view is that Scotland’s views on immigration is different to the rest of the United Kingdom. In a lot of ways this correct. We have no history of voting for far right racist parties nor have we embraced the anti immigrant hostile protest politics projected by UKIP in modern times. UKIP at present has never once had its deposit returned at any general or by election in a Scottish seat. However, as my participation in the independence referendum increased, the more vocal or aggressive objections of those who intended to vote No tended to come from people who feared that an independent Scotland would be ‘flooded’ with foreigners. I lost count the amount of times I had to argue with people who were regurgitating the usual myths about foreigners coming to Scotland as promoted by the right wing press.
Love it or hate it. Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom and the media which we consume will still continue to promote the propaganda of those in power at Westminster be it far-right, right or pretend centre left. You only have to listen to the speeches made by Ed Miliband on how the Labour Party will tackle the migration ‘problem’ to realise the poverty of voices in the mainstream political world making a case for the positives of migration. This constant bombardment of anti migration propaganda has an effect on Scotland no matter how different politically we claim to be.
This blog will aim to highlight views on migration in Scotland and tackle the popular myths on migration offered to us by the Scottish media via their London HQ’s.