Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shy Glaswegians

I do actually agree with Tom Harris when he writes about 'the need for the Labour Party as a whole, and at every level, to start talking the same language of the people we represent and to reflect their views.' For example, I look forward with enthusiasm to Tom discussing bad landlords or rich bankers in the same terms as the majority of his constituents would use, and reflecting their views about the Iraq war or higher taxes for the rich.

I was confused by one bit, though:

"Knocking on doors in my constituency on Saturday morning, I once again had to try to defend the government’s policies on immigration. This is a very regular occurrence these days, particularly in so-called “solid” Labour areas. These people are not racists by any stretch of the imagination, but they are worried. And they’re talking about their concerns now because it’s only now they feel they have “permission” to do so."

I've knocked on doors for the Labour Party from time to time since 1997 in a variety of places, and for at least the last decade I've regularly heard people raise concerns about the government's policies on immigration. (Some of these people were racists and some of them weren't.)

So this idea that people in Glasgow only now feel that they have "permission" to talk about immigration is one I find strange. It might be that Glaswegians are much more respectful of the views of pro-immigration liberals than people in England, and so only now feel able to voice opinions at odds with the liberal elite. Or it might be that the Scottish newspapers haven't printed lies designed to stir up hatred of immigrants every single day since Labour came to power, as the newspapers in England have.

Can anyone else help with the mystery of the 'shy Glaswegians'?

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