At the end of the day, Scotland would never exist the dynamic and outgoing nation that it truly is without continuous and uninterrupted immigration. Nobody living here is bigger than the nation. And let’s face it, who is defined as a Scot? The unambiguous answer is that it is every person who lives here, who wants to be part of Scottish society and those who have a link to the country in some way, shape or form whether it’s through family relations, for example.
The current political issue of immigration is not as much an issue for people here as it is elsewhere within the UK, because Scots have an appreciation for how spreading far and wide across the world works for numerous reasons. They may have family who live abroad in places like Australia or the United States for instance or they may have friends who work in countries such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
We aren’t a big country in terms of population after all and, regrettably, the lack of specific economic opportunity at times here has forced many Scots to leave home to seek a career elsewhere. Much was talked about the emigration crisis in the Republic of Ireland over four years ago when the country had to be bailed out and as far as Scotland is concerned, there isn’t much data available to illustrate specifically how many Scots have had to emigrate from Scotland to seek a livelihood elsewhere.
But in the current context of things, much of the focus within the news has been on the current refugee crisis. Some journalists have carelessly and wrongfully dubbed this current situation as a “migration” crisis. It is absolutely ignorant, crass and callous to think that those tens of thousands of people are voluntarily coming into Europe for the sake of doing so – they have been left with no choice, but to move across with all the risks they have had to put up with. And let’s face it, if you are prepared to risk getting to Europe on a raft, let alone a ferry, then what does that say? Life for many refugees coming to Europe must have been cataclysmically bleak at home.
Since the Big Bang, the world’s land hasn’t stand still and the composition of Earth has diversified. Scotland was once part of a continent called Laurentia which also included Greenland and North America. Scotland and England only physically joined each other when the lapetus Ocean disappeared around 400 million years ago. The first human beings to arrive and reside in Scotland were said to have been approximately 10,000 years ago. During time since then, the likes of the Celts and the Romans made a major influence upon the Scottish nation and in recent times more and more people from different areas such as Eastern Europe and South Asia have come to make Scotland home.
So how hypocritical would it be if us Scots started to feel uneasy about immigrants or refugees from other parts of the world coming to live in our country? Whilst in some quarters it is an issue to an extent for some, it actually isn’t for many more in our country. Frankly, the idea of adopting an anti-immigration attitude is a folly and an affront to Scottish identity and the history of our country. Having said that though, Scotland sadly has elements of it’s own history which are regrettable – for instance, sectarianism has poisoned parts of society especially across the west of the country.
But we are beginning to turn the corner, slowly but surely. Scotland has always been a multi-cultural country and naturally so. And in the wake of the current refugee crisis especially, we are rightfully willing to embrace any new arrivals into our country.
If you live in Scotland, want to be Scottish or want to be part of Scottish society, then you are in the team – and this is regardless of your race, religion or wherever your origins came from. A “them and us” attitude isn’t particularly Scottish and thankfully never will be, because we are a country that is at ease with ourselves. Whether we are sons or daughters of first generation immigrants or immigrants from hundreds of years ago, approximately all five million of us in Scotland are immigrants.