Commission in Scotland calls time on consensus that threatens Scotland's future.The Commission in Scotland has today issued a warning that the Scotland of 2030 will not be economically or socially fit for purpose unless Scots stop talking a good game on how fair and welcoming we are as a nation and start taking steps to realise our self image.
Speaking ahead of a specially convened expert seminar considering good race relations in the light of future migration, the Commission has called for better planning for population growth, a stronger policy focus on the issues that deter people from settling in Scotland and crucially an end to the consensus that our positive history of welcoming new people means that issues such as racism and inequality are not problems in modern Scotland.
Morag Alexander, Scotland Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
'We pride ourselves in being a welcoming nation but 30% of Scots surveyed in the latest Social Attitudes Survey felt that ethnic minorities and people from Eastern Europe take jobs away from Scots. Sadly we are also learning that our young people are becoming less comfortable with people who are different to them and not, as we would hope , more so.'
'It strikes me that too often we seek comfort in a Scottish consensus that we are all Jock Tamsons's bairns -citizens of a fair and equal nation . We have to be braver about the change that is required to make a fairer Scotland and part of that means looking afresh at whether the consensus holds. At EHRC we suspect it's too easy for us as a nation to talk a good game about our decency but the truth is often less noble. We like to think we are free of racism and other inequalities because we prefer that to the truth. In order to live up to our own self image we have to make the sentiment of our songs real and openly say 'this Scotland is not good enough' and then work to make it better and this, our welcome and behaviour towards newcomers, is only the starting point.'
The event is being held in the light of demographic projections that highlight the difficulties Scotland will face in the next fifteen to twenty years with an ageing population and higher ratio of workers to dependents. Recent research, conducted by Roger Wright of the University of Strathclyde and quoted in a paper published by the Commission for launch at today's event, looks at the impact of population decline and shows that by 2031 without migration to Scotland: