When home isn’t home

According to an article in Business Insider, Boris Johnson has vowed to stop European Union migrants from treating Britain “as their own country” if he wins this week’s general election. The prime minister has promised to reduce net migration if returned to Downing Street.

The Times also Tweeted the phrase: EU migrants have been able to “treat the UK as if it’s part of their own country” for too long, Boris Johnson said yesterday as he reprised the core message of Vote Leave’s 2016 EU referendum campaign.

It was hardly surprising that this met with a flurry of angry Tweets in response. Scotland needs immigrants. Our population has a preponderance of older people and we need economically active young people to help balance that out and ensure the continued provision of services.

A selection of the Tweets are posted below, some from politicians whose names are included, mostly from members of the public with names removed. It’s reassuring that in the present climate of nastiness and xenophobia there are still people who welcome immigrants and appreciate the contribution they make to Scotland, their new home.

It wasn’t surprising to come across a Tweet from our FM, Nicola Sturgeon: I hope that migrants who have chosen to live in and make a contribution to Scotland do feel like it is their country – their home in other words – because it is. Really despicable, dog whistle politics to suggest otherwise.”

Dr Philippa Whitford also made her feelings known: Yes, my husband has treated this as his own country – indeed he has done something more than that – he has made Scotland his HOME and, as a doctor, has looked after people here for over 30 years. You are despicable but seem to forget Freedom of Movement works both ways!

Adam Price of Plaid Cymru added his contribution: I give my utmost assurance to EU citizens that Wales welcomes you, Wales values you, and Wales wants you to stay here. Plaid Cymru will defend your rights to live & work in Wales. Plaid Cymru will fight until your legal status is guaranteed automatically. Wales is your home.

Labour’s David Lammy also made his views known: Breaks my heart to hear the UK Prime Minister spout this bigotry and hate to win votes. Blaming migrants for national government failures has a long and ugly history. If Boris Johnson wins on Thursday, racists and xenophobes will be emboldened.

As did John Nicolson: Ghastly. EU migrants staff our hospitals, look after our old people, work hard & pay their taxes. Shameful to hear them abused in this way. Johnson with a General Election 2019 majority will cause deep damage. Please consider your vote carefully on Thursday.

And then there was Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm: Every morning this most disgraceful of PMs says something that shocks and appals. Love it that we have so many EU citizens here contributung so much and that we can live similarly in Europe if Johnson is defeated on Thursday.

Many others expressed their disgust. This is just a selection from infuriated people in England and Wales as well as Scotland:

  • Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in New York. He has lived in Washington, Conneticut and Brussels.
  • This is one of the biggest differences between the UK and Scotland. The Prime Minister wants me oot the country, while my First Minister makes sure I know this is MY country. Vote SNP the 12th of December, for a true welcoming leader
  • My Scottish politics really began with the idea of Independence in Europe. Beautiful, I thought: you can be who you are, but in flow with other European nations, helping develop this great structural triumph over war. Here’s the monstrous opposite of that. This Thursday, vote SNP
  • I should not feel at home here says Boris Johnson. I shouldn’t have felt at home in 2003 when we welcomed Louise to this world and buried her twin Stella. I shouldn’t have felt at home last year supporting my wife and her mum through my father in law illness and death
  • It’s almost like nobody has ever been to the Costa Del Sol, Benidorm etc. About 99% of Britnat immigrants don’t even bother with the Spanish language. Utter hypocrites
  • Dear Boris Johnson, I had a Polish friend called Tony, walked out of a Russian Labour camp, dropped at Arnhem, fought at Monte Casino and spent the rest of his life in the Yorkshire coalfields. He died thinking he would be sent back. He thought this country was his own, we all did
  • This is dreadful & ugly nationalism. What we have here in Scotland is normalism. It’s just that many are too blinkered to realise it. Scots Tories will foist this mans politics on you. Waken up.
  • And as if by magic, up pops the dog whistle lazy let’s blame all the migrants bullshit from this revolting man. How awful that our NHS workers, our friends, neighbours and colleagues should treat the UK as their home. Get in the sea. You’re disgusting.
  • My wife has lived in this country for more than half her life, paid her taxes and raised our children here. This disgusting dog whistle from Boris Johnson has destroyed any lingering chance of me voting Conservative
  • The UK continues its slide into a very dark place.
  • Jesus, that is just grim. One of the triumphs of modern times, being able to treat 27 vastly different countries as home, being repackaged and sold as cheap, small-minded xenophobia.
  • British Nationalism is ugly, and at complete odds with Scotland’s political journey. If you live, study or work in Scotland; you’re one of us, if you want to be
  • HOW BLOODY DARE YOU. You’ve been happy to take my taxes for over 30 years. Your country’s citizens have been happy to have me as their (genuine) friend, (genuine) neighbour & (genuine) colleague. One of them has been happy to have me as his wife. Two of them as their mother.
  • I… I.. I don’t know what to say. I live here. I work here. I have done so for nearing a decade. I pay my taxes. I queue. I say sorry when I bump into a lamppost. And now. I am terrified.
  • People have come here, made lives, made friends, made families, worked hard, saved lives, made the country a better place to live. This moral fucking vacuum sees them as just something to throw under the bus last minute to win a few more measly votes from racists.
  • I can speak for the vast majority of Scotland when I say we do not believe this bullshit. You live with us, you work with us, you pay your taxes and help our economy. We are better for having you and we will protect your right to stay in the country you call home. We are European

Contrast Johnson’s accusation of EU migrants treating the UK as if it’s part of their own country for too long with one from Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to US:
2,000 people from 100 countries set to become Irish citizens in Killarney today. “You are welcome, you are Irish, & you are also a person who comes with the richness of another culture which we look forward to sharing” – Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Hopefully the sentiments in the last above listed Tweet in particular can be endorsed by most people in Scotland, and that anyone who hasn’t yet made up their mind how to vote on Thursday takes into account Johnson’s xenophobic beliefs, and Scotland’s opportunity to vote to be an independent, inclusive, welcoming country like Ireland.

NOTE: Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born in new York. and raised in Brussels. His paternal great-grandfather was a Turkish immigrant – journalist Ali Kemal – with other ancestors being English, German, French, Russian and American. Johnson has described himself as a “one-man melting pot”. With such a rich heritage and cultural background it is sad that as Prime Minister he has seen fit to lambast EU nationals for making their homes in the UK.

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