As I sit here in my office just south of Glasgow surrounded by – mainly – Scottish people, I am reminded I’m English. I’m also reminded that there are many differences between the indigenous Scots and immigrants of all shapes, colours, denominations and cultural backgrounds and a lot of these differences I just don’t like or want to justify.
A few years ago, I think during a FIFA World Cup in South Africa, a – once – very dear Scottish friend made comments on Social Media which I found hurtful; essentially trolling out the line “Anyone But England”. In doing so, said friend made reference to the biased and over-optimistic English Media and the arrogance of England – and everything English – that implied England was the best and that England would win.
Even before England went crashing out of that tournament, I found this too negative and hurtful to bear and so decided I would no longer have any contact with that dear friend – though I do wish them well in their future.
I arrived in Edinburgh in 1985 and, apart from a couple of years here and there, have made Scotland my home. I always recognised my accent is English – that I’m perceived as different – and continue to struggle to come to terms with the dichotomy of being in a minority with being white and middle class. But I don’t want sympathy.
And, before you call me an idiot, it’s not really a struggle.
What I do want is people Scotland to understand is that, whenever something negative is said about anything, it can have an effect on those who identify with the receiving end of that remark. What I – most importantly – want to get across is that when we discuss immigration or differences of behaviour for true – not just me – minorities must be even more affected about how they are perceived in the world than I am.
So any of you fine people who howl with derision or find it hilarious when England lose a football match would most probably make the country more tolerant if you considered how that behaviour enables similar attitudes from others to immigrants and refugees.