Welcome to this month’s update.
On 17th of October the government published a joint Home Office and Work and Pension study on the impact the immigrants have on the UK. On my way to a meeting in Cardiff I picked up two papers which can broadly be considered to have a similar ideological leaning: the Times (Migrants in Britain - the official verdict) and the Daly Mail (Government finally admits: Immigration is placing huge strain on Britain) covering the same story (I have to admit I am not a regular reader of the later, but picked it up as it was given away for free). Reding the two papers it becomes so obvious to me how easy papers can manipulate data and findings to put their own spin on a story. I would encourage you to read the two articles and let us know what you think. The Scottish press however seemed to have a more balanced coverage of the report. See for example the Herald coverage of the story
1. Racist incidents in Scotland:
Racism alive and unwell in Scotland
The Existence of a very different national identity in Scotland and of a more progressive, left-of-centre political culture was again cited at the Seeking Asylum - A Scottish Perspective conference in Glasgow last week as a reason for a relatively lower level of racism and greater acceptance of asylum seekers than down south. But the "Jock Tamson's bairns" myth, as perpetuated during the 1970s period of radicalised workers' struggles - during the resistance to Thatcher's 1980s neo-liberal structural adjustment up to the anti-poll tax movement, and the rise of socialists in the 1990s - needs not to be taken for granted. Throughout that time racism lived, breathed and thrived - from the casual racism of being called names in the streets to increasing physical racial attacks.
Khan claims son is victim of 'police racism'
Former city councillor Shami Khan accused police of being "institutionally racist" after his son was sentenced to 300 hours community service for an attack with an iron bar.
Racist abuse is common among immigrants
Immigrant children in Glasgow suffer racist abuse and bullying from each other as well as from others, according to new research. Children from asylum-seeking and refugee families find schools are safer places to avoid bullying, but outside schools - particularly in the city centre and on buses and trains - they face verbal abuse. Much of this goes unreported for fear of reprisals.
2. Developments, Reports and Investigations
Outdoor plan aims to give breath of fresh air to ethnic minorities
Its residents' minority language may be Doric, but Scotland's largest national park is set to turn to Urdu and Punjabi. The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has set out to encourage people from ethnic minority communities to visit the great outdoors.
Scotland on Sunday
Ethnic kids in different class with their results
Pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds out-perform white Glasgow youngsters in exams. A report shows Indian, Chinese, Pakistani and African pupils get better results in fourth and fifth year than white UK-born pupils. However, these city pupils catch up and overtake most ethnic minority youngsters by the time they get to sixth year.
Alistair is the Darling of new-look race group
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was to be the special guest today at the rebranding of an Edinburgh organisation. The new identity of the West of Edinburgh Ethnic Minority Community Group was to be unveiled by Alistair Darling, MP for Edinburgh South West, at the WHALE Learning Centre, Wester Hailes. It will now be called SCOREscotland (Strengthening Communities for Race Equality Scotland), and will look to build on its work in supporting people from ethnic minorities and removing the barriers they face in their day-to-day lives.
Justice needed for Britain's black communities, says Jesse Jackson
Britain’s black communities have still to throw off the mentality of slavery and need to invest in the future of their young people and build their confidence, leading US civil rights campaigner the Rev Jesse Jackson told reporters ahead of a public lecture at Regent's Park College in Oxford to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Mr Jackson was speaking at a media conference in London on Monday 12 November. He also said that the churches had offered justifications for enslavement in the past, and should be at the forefront of resisting prejudice now, in line with the Gospel message.
Jesse Jackson to help British churches tackle racial justice
US civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson is to visit British churches in an effort to help them do more to promote racial justice. During his visit next week, Jackson will address the involvement of minority ethnic communities in economic development and the building of a just society. He will also look at the empowerment of black and ethnic minority young people.
Fury at DNA pioneer's theory: Africans are less intelligent than Westerners
Celebrated scientist attacked for race comments: "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really".
Don't silence the scientists
A prominent scientist has had a prestigious lecture cancelled because he mentioned the unpalatable possibility that IQ may differ between races. James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and a great scientist, has had a prestigious lecture cancelled because he dared to mention the unpalatable possibility that IQ may differ between races, and another furious response has erupted. I have never wanted to get involved in this contentious issue. There has been a massive amount of research, the issues are complex and demanding, involving the nature of intelligence, the relevance of IQ tests, the validity of the concept of race, and much more, and there have been many previous outbursts of debate (eg over the Bell Curve). But the issues here are fundamental to science and society.
Guardian (comment is free)
Watson book tour cancelled after racism claims
A Nobel prize-winning scientist has cancelled his UK book tour and returned to the US early following allegations that he made “racist”.
Controversial Nobel Winner Cancels UK Tour After Row
A tour to promote a Nobel prize-winning scientist’s new book has been cancelled following his comments that black people are less intelligent than whites.
Black and Muslim lawyers plan breakaway regulator
Black and Muslim solicitors have accused Britain’s legal watchdog of racial discrimination and want to break away to establish their own watchdog body. The Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) and the Society of Black Lawyers have obtained figures that show that the Law Society’s regulatory arm is more than twice as likely to investigate misconduct allegations against ethnic minority solicitors than it is against white lawyers. They claim that the disproportionate attention is fuelled by discrimination, rather than by suspect practices.
On the move again
In 1971, some Gypsies settled on a site in east London. One of them, 13-year-old Bill, wrote a story about the harassment of his people, which was published to promote tolerance. Now the Clays Lane Gypsies have been moved on to make way for the Olympics. So has anything really changed? Patrick Barkham reports Guardian
Anger at stop-and-searches call
An anti-racism campaigner reacted with concern to a suggestion that police should increase stop-and-searches of youngsters to halt the wave of teenage murders.
UK Borders Bill gains Royal assent
Migrant row Tory candidate quits
Tory candidate resigns over race row
3. Asylum refugees:
Border and Immigration Agency Complaints Audit Committee, Annual Report for 2006/7
The annual report for 2006/2007, published this week by the BIA Complaints Audit Committee, makes pretty devastating reading and confirms what NCADC and other NGO's, have been saying all along about the mishandling or not handling at all, of complaints from detainees in immigration detention. Download a copy of the Complaints Audit Committee report 2006-2007
The secret scandal of the refugee beggars
Government policy is putting failed asylum seekers on the streets and into a limbo existence of despair.
Archbishop of Canterbury backs Independent Asylum Commission
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams this week gave his firm support to the work of the Independent Asylum Commission at a two-hour private seminar at Lambeth Palace - highlighting the need to treat those fleeing oppression with dignity. The Commission is conducting a national citizens’ enquiry into the UK asylum system and is travelling across the UK to hear the experiences of those who have gone through the asylum system, and the opinions of the public at large. The Commission will publish its findings and recommendations for reform of the asylum system in 2008.
Migrant workers change face of rural Scotland
The population of remote rural Scotland has increased at four times the rate of the rest of the country in the past five years, regenerating local economies in those areas. Statistics from the General Register of Scotland (GROS) show the population in remote rural Scotland increased by 4 per cent between 2001 and 2006, while the population in accessible rural areas (small settlements half an hour from the nearest town) increased by 6 per cent.
The changing face of Scotland
It has helped to give the dwindling population of Scotland a much-needed boost but a report published yesterday suggests that immigration has also brought its fair share of problems. The findings, from the Migration Impacts Forum, show that the influx of migrants in recent years, particularly from Eastern Europe, has led to increased antisocial behaviour and rising community tensions, particularly in areas previously unused to large-scale immigration. An increase in low-level crimes, such as driving offences, was also noted as a source of concern by the Scots surveyed.
Migration back to being a political football again
Migration issues have been catapulted back into the UK media headlines again, with the two main parties vying with each other for 'get tough' policies, and the government admitting that its recent labour force statistics have been wrong. The government's Work and Pensions minister, Peter Hain, says that the number of foreign nationals employed in Britain and Northern Ireland since 1997 is 1.1m, not the 800,000 officially recorded and given in Commons answers. But the government's statistics gaffe still does not justify the apocalyptic tones of the current debate, say advocates for fair treatment of migrants.
Foreign worker numbers underestimated
Home Secretary sorry for immigration figures blunder
Cameron hits out at 'panic' over immigration
Integration must not come at too high a price
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears last week set out the Westminster Government's thinking for a more integrated Britain, healing the divisions in our fragmented society and creating a common identity among our diverse population.
New balance for immigration policies
As immigration policies change to strengthen border controls, a Home Office minister promises the system will be balanced fairly.
The truth about migration
It is no real surprise that economic migration is causing pressure on services in almost every UK region. But some of the coverage of the report from the Home Office's Migration Impacts Forum has been misleading. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said the report showed the "huge impact" of migration has "little economic justification" and called for a cut in the number of migrants from non-EU countries. In fact, the considered and balanced report does not paint a picture of collapsing public services under catastrophic strain.
Britain's immigration muddle
Critics of immigration will love the government's latest report - but the true contribution that migrants make is far greater than the figures allow for. Guardian (comment is free)
5. Marking the Bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade
Exhibit to mark slave trade past
A new exhibition marking 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade in Britain has opened in Alloa. The event, called Another Kind of Slavery, looks at the trade in black slaves and serfdom in Scotland before 1800.
'They bought me as a butcher would a calf or a lamb'
Mary Prince, a slave, was the first black woman to publish an account of her life in Britain - an account so brutal that few believed it. Now she is finally being celebrated, writes Sara Wajid. Guardian
LEGAL SERVICES AGENCY SEMINAR/CONFERENCE
Current Issues in Immigration Law Looking at non-asylum migration Monday 3rd December 2007, 10.00am to 4.00pm (Registration and Coffee 9.30am) at Kirk Lounge, Renfield St. Stephen's Church Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow Cost: £120.00 full price/£105.00 LSA members/£60.00 Concessionary cost places (lunch provided).
St Andrew’s Day anti-Racism March and Rally
24 November 2007 in Glasgow, March assembles 10.30 in Blythswood Square; march off 11.00; rally 12 noon at Glasgow Film Theatre, Rose Street. For information contact the STUC 0141 337 8100; email firstname.lastname@example.org, website GARA
Mainstreaming Approaches to Equality
14 December in Glasgow (9.30 – 3.00), SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations); The event will provide an opportunity for networking and debate current and emerging equalities practices; learning about techniques to aid in the development and implementation of practical approaches to mainstreaming equalities within your organisation. For information contact Nan McCluggage 0141 225 8013; email email@example.com
From World Council of Churches: Discussion platform - Theological reflection on migration
The Global Platform is an experiment in theological reflection and analysis around a chosen issue each year. For 2007, the issue is migration. This discussion platform is an opportunity to participate through sharing theological reflection on migration - stories, Bible studies, methodologies, statements and questions - and responding to what others have posted. The views expressed in this forum do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of the World Council of Churches.
Learning to Read a New Culture: How Immigrant and Asylum Seeking Children Experience Scottish Identity through Classroom Books, Scottish Government website.
The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration, A Cross-Departmental Submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Home Department by Command of Her Majesty, October 2007 (PDF)
Not for Sale: Raising Awareness, Ending exploitation, Editors, Carrie Pemberton, Alison Myers and Lucy Berry. Inspire, Peterborough, £12.99. ISBN 978-1-905958-11-5. Buy it from CHASTE website
Britain’s Immigrants: an economic profile