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Citizens of Nowhere

RECENTLY I heard an interesting observation in the Brexit discourse. This commentator suggested that while Brits who grace foreign countries with their presence always identify as ‘ex-pats’, the preferred term in Britain for any foreigner who settles here is ‘migrant’. Even refugees and asylum seekers are thus labelled, especially by the BBC. It gives an impression of choice, a freedom surely denied those fleeing persecution or starvation.

Unpacking the definitions suggests that the British don’t migrate as such, but confer their presence on other lands, whilst keeping a grip on their birthright - a cogent example of British exceptionalism. This is an apparently incurable condition which has grown perceptibly since June 2016. I had never heard the comparison before, but suspect it reflects the xenophobic atmosphere legitimised by our imminent departure from the great European project. Who, I wonder, would want to be an immigrant to the UK in this toxic climate? The current wave of hostility and abuse being showered upon settled incomers reveals all too clearly that a large element in British society simply do not like immigrants.

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The award winning iScot Magazine issue number 58 is now available to download.