Sunday, 8 January 2012

amendment backed by its own victim

Though it made some money from the stunt of the Year of Homecoming, the SNP has always lacked interest in the diaspora and their opportunities to return here, both economic and by British immigration rules for those who have been away for several generations in the Commonwealth, as a social justice cause. Now, there has come from the unionist side a racist move, whether intentionally or by very sloppy blunder, that hands the SNP an opportunity to score some good for itself by taking the moral ground on the diaspora's side. But it will lever them to show some committal interest in the diaspora's problems, so will they do it or will they show uncaringness by dodging the issue?

Baroness Taylor of Bolton, who is an expat Scot by choice, and is Labour, has moved a Lords amendment to the Scotland bill, to give a referendum vote to everyone who lives in the UK and was born in Scotland. the UK, by the way, will not include the Isle of Man and Channel islands, so how are folks there racistly different? The proposal's purpose is being billed as to give the diaspora their say. But the diaspora is not just the folks who chanced to be born at home, nor are they even the majority. For a lot of the diaspora it was their parents or earlier ancestors who did the moving away, not always willingly, so they were born in exile. On a world scale at least 80% of all Scots were born in exile, for our diaspora numbers 20 million, the home population is 5 million.

Taylor's proposal involves a viciously arbitrary type of racism characteristic of school bullies and football crowd bigots: birthplace racism. The practice of believing that birthplace has any shred whatever to do with country belonging and identity. Birthplace is the location of one arbitrary event at one moment beyond the person's memory. Many folks have no further connection with their birthplace in their lives, e.g. the Silent Twins were Barbadian, and they were born in Aden because their father was in the RAF there at the time, they left there at age 8 months and never returned to Asia at all. They are obviously not Yemeni nor have Yemeni or Arab lives in any way, their birthplace is no guide to who they are. Nor to who famous Scots who were born in exile were: Tilda Swinton, Alexander McCall Smith, Eric Liddell, John Prebble, Lord Kelvin, Alec Home, the Queen Mother, and Labour's Edinburgh leader Andrew Burns.

Anyone who says being Scottish is determined by birthplace defines the vast majority of the Scottish people out of existence, which means, commits genocide. The Jews and the Palestinians are dispersed peoples too. A birthplace based franchise does this genocide, and discrminates even between siblings in the same family who were born on each side of the border. Another side of the same racist anomaly is that folks who were born in Scotland but do not identify as Scots and have left, folks for whom Scotland was their place of exile and another country is home, would have votes.

So why is the proposal actually being backed by someone who falls on its unjust side? Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, also Labour, tells us on his own website that he was born in Oswestry, a particularly tricky place for birthplace racists as it is officially England but to historical reason Wales. It is Wales's Berwick. Disputed lands wreck birthplace racism, once the bigots start on the complex border history of Eastern Europe they are mired in a web. Yet Foulkes is quoted "Ann [Lady Taylor] wants to open this up for debate. She was born in Motherwell and has a strong connection to Scotland. She still supports Motherwell. She is as interested in Scotland as some people are who are still living here. She wants the Scottish diaspora in the UK to be included." Yes George, the diaspora exactly like like you were, who racistly won't be included, with violent bullies getting ego gratification from seeing so.

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