A Repository for Anger

As I write, early on Monday morning, it would appear that UKIP will return an MEP in Scotland. Looking through the blogs, Facebook and Twitter, there is an awful lot of gnashing of teeth, sadness and anger. Fingers are pointed at the MSM with commentators identifying the massive coverage that UKIP have received, particularly through the medium of television. 10.4% of Scots who turned out to vote gave their allegiance to UKIP.

I’m not in the slightest surprised.

As a Scot, I know people who fit the UKIP demographic and I don’t regard them as irrational human beings, in fact they believe sincerely that they have genuine concerns that require answering.

I’ve detected a sort of centre leftist arrogance and complacency among fellow Scots; apparently we are a wholly welcoming society, ultra tolerant and progressive in thought. I’ve never believed that and I regard Scotland as a conservative society (with a small “c”).

I can accept that 1 in 10 Scots have concerns that made them think that UKIP was a better bet than the usual parties. These Scots will probably be Unionist in thought and heart, but I can be sure that many will share the classic UKIP profile of being anti EU and anti immigrant.

We should never be complacent when we discuss immigration; it requires a conversation, even among those who see themselves as the “tolerant majority”. People are unfailingly human and we shouldn’t forget that.
I think that the anti immigration issue should be approached and understood from two different view points in Scotland.

The first point is simply the numbers game. UKIP voters will see immigrants in terms of a housing queue, or competition for jobs. We should be cognisant to this and not dismiss it as silly scaremongering. Potentially 1 in 10 Scots see it as a legitimate point of conversation. We should listen to them. “The country is hard-up and we’re still letting people in!” This reaction is understandable.

The second point is rather more difficult to encapsulate in a single word or phrase, but it is a rejection of multi culturalism. Identities are important in this discussion. Scots see themselves as “Scots” or “British” and this is manifested in different ways. If you suddenly start to experience people from different cultural backgrounds living among you, taking the kids to school, standing in the checkout queue and they look or speak differently, is it beyond surprise that 1 in 10 Scots will not react in a positive way?

Scotland is a conservative society, across all shades of that society. UKIP is capturing support from all across this Scottish society. In that respect Scotland is probably no different than parts of England or France.

People are unfailingly human and we shouldn’t forget that.

The other common denominator, of course, is the EU. Immigration and austerity are causing voters to become more inward and insular in thought. The EU is the obvious bogey man in all of this.

So let us not get snobbish in a politically correct point of way. We need to accept that what has happened is a symptom of something greater. If we are genuinely a nation of tolerance, as many would like us to believe we are, then let’s be tolerant with those that would disagree with us and listen to them.

UKIP is a repository for anger. Listen to the anger, understand the anger and think about addressing the issues. That can be by gentle explanation or something more tangible but arguing among ourselves is not the answer.


2 thoughts on “A Repository for Anger

  1. FergusMac

    I totally agree with your post here. Far too much of the pro-Independence blogosphere represents the centre-left congratulating itself on its moral superiority (a weakness to which it is prone), and demonising its enemies (again, a fundamental flaw in its Manichaean, bipolar good-versus-evil world view). This is not helped by the total conflation of “right-wing” with “unionist” thanks to the Conservative Party. There is effectively no pro-independence option for Scots who are not on the left.

    I want to see an independent Scotland, but I am by no means convinced that switching ultimate control from London to Brussels is a positive development. I was not impressed by the actions of the EU in displacing the democratic governments in Rome and Athens, and replacing them with pro-EU technocrats to impose austerity, nor with the arrogance of the Franco-German axis over the years in its approach to small states. Norway and Switzerland do well enough outside the EU, and so would we.

    I had thought of voting UKIP, but decided that the party carried too much baggage of oddballs, and more than a whiff of Scottish anti-Catholicism (the one acceptable form of racism – for it is ultimately anti-Irish – in Scotland, as has been shown by the despicable silence meeting the treatment of Neil Lennon).

    I voted SNP, but it does not follow that my vote represents a ringing endorsement of the EU. I decided that it was my only realistic option, and the higher the SNP vote, the less able the BBC et al would be to portray the election results as a pointer to a No vote in September.

  2. Iltuae

    Time to award the white feather to the two thirds of Scots who failed to vote, and in doing so voted UKIP by omission.

    Your one-in-ten assumption is, I suggest, way off. Extremist parties like UKIP and the BNP only fare well when there is a low turnout because they mobilise what little support they have to get out and vote. Only one in thirty Scots voted UKIP. UKIP, BNP, Britain First and NO2EU combined received the endorsement of only seven per cent of the Scottish electorate.

    Indifference was the winner with 65% of the vote. UKIP came a distant fifth 3.5%.


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