In the Herald yesterday, we were confronted with the above. You could read that headline two ways – ‘welcome to Scotland because you’ll be safer here’ or, as I suspect they meant, ‘welcome to Scotland because violence is us!’
The article opened with:
‘When Shabaz Ali opened his eyes, after fighting for his life in hospital for three days, he didn’t know where he was. After his father answered his questions, Shabaz told him he had no future in Scotland. “We ran away from war in Syria, I do not want to die here. This country is not safe for me,” he said.’
On its own, it’s a tragic, highly regrettable incident but, crucially, as the Herald well knows, it’s not representative of Scotland at all. Scotland does have a racism problem. Every country has one. There is, however, clear evidence that Scotland has much less racially-motivated violence, per head of population, than the non-Scottish parts of the UK:
‘There were 3,349 [hate crime] charges reported [in Scotland] in 2016-17, 10 percent fewer than in 2015-16, and the lowest number reported since 2003-04.’
Remember these figures include anti-semitism (17), racism and attacks against English, East Europeans, catholics and presumably protestants too.
In England and Wales, however:
‘Hate crimes have rocketed by almost a third in the UK in the past year, with unprecedented spikes around the EU referendum and terror attacks recorded by police. New figures released by the Home Office confirm victims’ reports of a dramatic increase in incidents motivated by attackers’ hostility towards their race, nationality, religion or other factors. Data from police forces across England and Wales showed there were almost 80,400 hate crimes recorded in the 2016/17 financial year.’