I am truly confused as to what Unionists hope to achieve with their incessant campaign against foreigners. This week it was Brian Wilson, former Labour MP and minister, who churned out the claim that when Scotland becomes independent, people living in England will become foreigners. Usually this goes along with a more specific assertion along the lines of my son, daughter, brother, sister, close friend or whoever will become a foreigner. This is always intoned in a way to make it clear that being a foreigner is a bad thing. What is it that Unionists have against foreigners? It is also curious to note that this disdain against foreigners only seems to apply to England. Wales and Northern Ireland rarely get a mention in the pro-Union campaign. Perhaps Unionists have an England fixation?
The serious point is what practical difference does it make if a family member or a close friend lives in foreign country? This must be a pretty common occurrence nowadays. For example I have a daughter and a grandson who live in Switzerland, which is about as foreign a country as you can get. My grandson was even born in Switzerland and his father is Italian. Good God, how do we manage? According to Unionists my daughter and grandson are foreigners. This is of course complete nonsense. Wherever they happen to live, my daughter and grandson will never be thought of as foreigners to us. The fact that they live in a foreign country is just irrelevant. Now I am not alone in this. Never mind the thousands of Scots who have family members and friends living abroad outwith the UK, just think of the many thousands of Scots of Pakistani, Indian, Irish, Polish, Chinese, Italian origin, to name but a few nationalities. Most of them will have family members and friends still living in their countries of origin. Are they all regarded as foreigners? What for example of Anas Sarwar, Deputy Leader of the Labour party in Scotland? His father was born in Pakistan. Does Anas have any family members still living in Pakistan, which by all accounts is a foreign country. How does Anas regard these family members? Are they less worthy of respect and love than those family members living in Scotland? I just do not believe this is how people work. Family members and friends remain family members and friends wherever they live.
So why do Unionists continue to make this apparently heartfelt plea not to make people living in England foreigners? It cannot surely be a none too subtle attempt to get voters with family and friends in England to vote no? If so, I am not sure how effective this crude emotional appeal will be. After all it may have the opposite effect as all this emphasis on England may well antagonize those of us who either do not have family members in England or do have family members living in other parts of the world. Perhaps it is just something very simple – Unionists are fixated on England and cannot see Scotland other than through an English prism. May not be the smartest of moves.