Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Helping Poles in Scotland – it’s child’s play!

Clueless Scottish politicians turn to the kids for ideas on how to fight sectarianism.

As I have noted before, it is in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland where you find the strongest negative feelings towards Polish immigration. There have been beatings. Many complain that ‘they are taking our jobs’ etc.

For instance, a reporter for the Scotsman, talking to people in an Edinburgh pub, reports:

Out of earshot [of the Polish barmaid] a young single local man is quick to voice his anger. Taking a swig of his drink, the 21-year-old, who refuses to reveal his real name, rants: "I can't get a job because all the Polish are taking over here. The Waterfront is full of Polish, and people from other countries. The fish factories are the same.

"I've been trying to get a job for about two years and I'm really angry. A lot of other people feel like I do too about all the immigrants…I think people in the city should be given jobs first."

You would think they were talking in an area with many thousands out of work, wouldn’t you? But Edinburgh has an unemployment rate of just 2.2%, one of the lowest in Scotland. Poland has an unemployment rate of 15%.

Others think that the attacks against Poles are part of the sectarian divide in Scotland (and N. Ireland) between Protestants and Catholics.

To the rescue comes the Scottish Assembly (a glorified parliament) with a great new idea. The Evening Times reports:

The Scottish Executive has launched a new initiative aimed at promoting a clear, concise and strong anti-sectarian view.

And young people aged between five and 22 who can sum up the country's stance on sectarianism are being asked to submit their ideas.

A five year old? Submit ideas? About sectarianism?

It really has come to something when the political class in the UK are so clueless that they have to create Kindergarten Think Tanks to sort out the sectarian divide.

7 comments:

Bill said...

This whole post was a surprise to me; I wasn't aware their was particular anti-Polish feeling in Edinburgh. In the Inverness area we have quite a lot of Poles, relative to the size of the population (some reckon upto 8 or 10 per cent) I haven't heard of any particular problems, no more than elsewhere in UK at any rate; I often hear people in the supermarket (other customers) speaking Polish, etc. As for the sectarianism, well perhaps kindergarden-age kids will have better luck than adults in west central Scotland. Outside of that area (basically around Glasgow and Ayrshire) I've never heard it being a problem anywhere else in Scotland - it simply isn't an issue.

As for immigration, well our First Minister, and indeed almost all politicians in the ScotParl, have been trying to encourage inward immigration into Scotland for the last few years as they fear our demographics will see the pop. drop below 5 million in due course. They've even been trying to negotiate some special arrangements with London so that it would be easier to come here, but of course with our open border with the rest of the UK it would be difficult to stop people just hopping onto a bus/train/plane for London or Manchester. Frankly I don't regard The Scotsman as a particularly accurate reflection of Scottish opinion - its basically specialises in pretty sensational journalism (in my opinion) whilst pretending it is more refined than the likes of the Record or the Daily Mail, but much of the politics which lie behind it are just the same, if expressed a little more elegantly.

Bill said...

PS/ of course it's true that property prices in Edinburgh have risen very steeply since the ScotParl came into being and encouraged so many hangers-on - undoubtedly that has made it much more difficult for younger or less well paid people to get a foot on the housing ladder or even someplace affordable to rent, so that is more likely a source of resentment toward incomers, even allowing for the low unemployment rate. Peterhead has high unemployment and also has a big drug problem (one of your other linked stories).

Renegade Eye said...

It is at the age of about five, when the atitude one develops toward race, ethnicity develops, that will last forever. Even if that is true, it doesn't answer why the Scottish parliment appealed for their help.

beatroot said...

Ren: I think kids are much more resilient to that kind of rubbish till much later in life, actually. It’s something that happens in early adulthood. But as Bill says, sectarianism isn’t that prevalent in most of Scotland. It’s more west than that – as Mullet has commented here before.

But I will point Bill back to the link in the post, at ‘as I have noted before’…where it shows more idiocy from Scottish regional government, this time in Moray Council – which is in the north east of the country. So there is quite a bit of it about…

Bill said...

It wiuld be a fool, and I like to think I am not that, who would pretend that racism does not exist in Scotland - it does, big time. However, I do not believe that sectarianism, or dislike of immigrants (including Poles) is any more prevalent in most of Scotland than it is in the rest of the UK. Scotland has sectarianism, but it is mostly limited to west central Scotland. None of what you write, or have linked to so far, is indicative of anything else. Obviously the Moray case, (just a few miles from here, incidentally) is distressing, but I am pretty certain one could find similar isolated cases in most parts of the UK - for example sopme of the more depressed parts of agricultural Lincolnshire. As for the stupidity of Moray Council - well, there I have to agree sadly.

beatroot said...

Bill. If it was an isolated case then why would Moray even consider sending kids to Poland to learn about ‘why they have to come to Scotland’? That seems a ridiculously extreme thing to do for ‘isolated cases’. They obviously are worried about something.

And I have been monitoring physical attacks on Poles in the UK for about a year now. And they mostly happen in N. Ireland. Second is some parts of Scotland. And we can’t blame that on economics because the Scots have never had it so good.

Martin said...

Beetroot,

How many attacks have you come across?

I've come across two Polish rapists, two Polish perverts, a Pole who's caused death by dangerous driving and a Polish bail absconder.

And under our law a Parliament's higher tahn an assembly.

And why is Poland's unemployment rate so high? Why?

The reason that the man quoted in your post can't find work is the willingness of Poles to distort the Scottish labour market for their own gain. That's not being 'nasty' - that's a fact.