The view from Strasbourg.

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us

To see oursel’s as others see us!

Robert Burns’ plea for self-awareness seems very appropriate when I read this report from the “Advisory committee on the framework convention for the protection of national minorities” for the European Commission.

Combating racism and intolerance

18. The authorities have made continued efforts to implement measures to fight all forms of

racism and intolerance in society. Significant progress has taken place with regard to data

collection on hate crime. This data indicates that hate crime is on the increase since the adoption

of the second Opinion of the Advisory Committee, which is a cause  for concern. There is a

worrying level of hostility against Gypsies, Travellers, migrants and Roma, a situation that is

sometimes aggravated by certain sections of the media stirring up hostility and prejudices

against them and other ethnic minority communities. There has also been a steady rise in

Islamophobia and in hate crime against Muslims, a rise in incidents of anti-Irish racism reported

in Scotland, as well as attacks against Roma families in Belfast in 2009. This situation is a

source of concern.

It is significant and encouraging that anti-Irish racism in Scotland is now on the European Commission’s radar.

I hope that that the Scottish government will find it increasingly difficult to cling to the sectarian framework when it realises that the reality of anti-Irish racism in Scotland is now known in arenas like the European Commission.

The Irish community in Scotland needs this awareness to grow in places like Strasbourg so pressure can build on Holyrood to engage with them and listen to their legitimate concerns.

Until they do that the government in Edinburgh who claim they are patriots remains a parcel of rogues.

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