I was saddened to read this piece in the Irish Voice.
Mhairi Black MP is highly regarded in Scottish political circles.
She is young, working class and openly gay
In a watering hole for Old Etonians, she stands out.
Her spirited speeches in Westminster are well received by many, as she holds the bloated bourgeoisie of the Tory Party to account for their cruel austerity policies.
Therefore, I was disappointed to see a quote attributed to her where she indulged in modern Scotland’s oldest and most socially acceptable hatred.
My views on anti-Irish racism in Fair Caledonia are not a secret.
Five years ago I wrote a book on the subject:
“Minority Reporter. Modern Scotland’s bad attitude towards her own Irish”.
Ironically in that book, I used the analogy of the journey of LGBT community and their long march to equality in Scotland.
There was a time, thankfully gone, when LGBT people had to conceal who they truly were because of the prejudicial attitudes of society.
My thesis was that a mature society is one that is comfortable with difference and diversity.
Several years before I wrote Minority Reporter was asked to give a lecture at the Changin Scotland conference in Ullapool.
My talk was about my personal experiences growing up in Scotland and what I encountered when I had attempted to express an Irish identity.
The audience was an eclectic audience of SNP activists Labourites and local folk.
I stated that for my generation born in the 1950s, expressing a second generation Irish identity (2GI) in Scotland had been problematic.
The comparison with the Irish community in the USA was stark.
Moreover, it was also different to the experience of the Italian community in Scotland who appeared to me to have been afforded a cultural space that had been denied to the Irish.
“One Scotland many cultures” is a great marketing slogan.
However, Ms Black’s attitudes prove that there is still a way to travel before Scotland’s oldest ethnic minority is respected and valued.
If the Paisley MP had thrown such a jibe in the direction of any other community then it would have been a resigning issue.
However, by targeting the Irish in Scotland she is on safe ground in fair Caledonia.
Perhaps the honourable member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South would care to read this piece of mine in the Guardian.
I’m glad that my brood has not grown up in a country where an elected politician can throw out this racism with impunity.