The Invisible Anglophobe

There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

How common is Anglophobia in Scotland?

This is a disputed question. Ask different people in Scotland about Anglophobia and you will get wildly different answers. 

Some will report current, regular & direct experience or witnessing of it,  others will insist there’s none at all, (and that even if there is it isn’t really racism anyway.) 

“The Scottish Resistance” Border Hate Campaigns

In the period from when Scottish nationalists came to power, up to the independence referendum, the Scottish Government’s own figures on racist incidents do not show Scotland wide incidents of Anglophobia…

Racist Incidents – White British – up to the referendum

They do, however, record a spike in racist incidents where the police were involved and the victim or complainer identified as “White-British”. Indeed, to our shame, ‘White-British’ rose as a demographic to equal Pakistani as the most likely to be a victim or reporter of a racist incident. 

When confronted with this as a possible corroboration of the anecdotal rise in Anglophobia Scottish nationalists have been quick to point out this doesn’t record Anglophobia and some even claimed it recorded anti-Scottish racism from “British others”. 

It’s interesting to note that in the way the Police are recording ethnicity we see the opposite of how it is tracked in the census; and the implications of this.

In the census, Scottish is carefully segregated from “Other British” to stress difference. In victim reporting “White British” is used here as a catch-all term making it impossible to separate the Scottish, Welsh, English and others

There is more data available than it initially seems from the aggregate nationwide data.

Most police force regions in Scotland, when recording ethnicity, used a 21 category ethnic classification system that included options for White Scottish, White English, White Welsh, White Northern Irish and White British among others.

However, Scotland’s most racist city, Glasgow, used an old 7 point classification that just identified White British – so the majority of the data was dumbed down into the blunt classification. 

the 21 and 13 ethnic classifications

So how much Anglophobia is there and what’s the trend? 

It’s possible that Glasgow has now moved to the new 21 sector classification – which would mean there should be Scotland-wide data on racist incidents where the victim or reporter is English, white or otherwise,  …but the publication of these racist incidents seems to have stopped in 2014. 

Both police measures of ethnicity are incompatible with the census measure of ethnicity. 

Even if this data was available, the full measure is not calculable. One of the key measures used to determine racist discrimination is to express the number of attacks as a ratio per 10,000 people of that race …using census data.  This is a perfectly valid and possible measure where the ethnicity categories match exactly.

Scottish census 2022

Yet by making the census only record Scottish or ‘Other British’ , and by Scotland’s most racist city not differentiating ‘White Scottish’ from ‘British other’, this data is not possible to calculate for English (not for White English, Pakistani English, Black English or any other variation)

Plus: what is actually being recorded is the ethnicity of the reporter of the incident.

If a white Scot reports an attack they have witnessed against a Pakistani Scot, it is recorded as a racist incident under white Scot. If a Pakistani English person suffers an Anglophobic attack, it is indistinguishable in the figures from a Pakistani Scottish person suffering an anti-Pakistani attack. 

Anglophobia is made invisible.  What isn’t measured, isn’t seen to exist, and so doesn’t need to be acknowledged.

Maybe Anglophobic is rising, maybe it’s dropping, maybe it’s negligible – but when you have a data-obsessed state spending millions to ask about 72 genders, 350 ways you feel nationally, and if you are ethnically Scottish  – as well as about racist incidents and even want schools to ask how much anal sex 14 year olds are having in non-anonymised data – doesn’t it seem remaining wilfully ignorant that they don’t choose to measure this? 

What is the Scottish Government Policy on Anglophobia?

Anecdotally, the Scottish government does actually have a policy on anglophobia – if something risks going viral then after a few days Nicola Sturgeon will half-heartedly condemn it on TV blaming a minority that are nothing to do with her, while failing to reprimand any SNP politicians who have retweeted it or expressed similar sentiments. 

In all police forces except for Glasgow data is actually recorded that would show when the victim or reporter of the racist incident is English, but it can’t be benchmarked against the population and I don’t see it shared. 

By making it bureaucratically impossible to measure Anglophobia they make sure there is no official record of past Anglophobia, which means there is no policy in the present to deal with Anglophobia and so no resources to reduce anglophobia in the future. Or to put it another way- “Whoever controls the past controls the present, whoever controls the present controls the future”

Further Questions

There is plenty of scope here for further digging, if there are still journalists who have faith in getting anything meaningful from Freedom of Information requests in Scotland.

  • If the Police Scotland moved from a 13 category to a 21 category classification on ethnicity, was this done on the basis of a consultation or recommendation?
  • If a recommendation was made for best practice why, if the government is serious about tackling prejudice, has this not been rolled out as a standard classification – including in the census.
  • Are we still tracking reported racist incidents in the way we were up to 2014, of so why have they not been made public?
  • Why was Scotland’s most racist city slowest to move to the new classification system, and is it on it now?
  • Does the data now exist to show the trend in racist incidents where the victim is English? If not, why not? If Yes- can we see it?

“State officials can often make their categories stick and impose their simplifications, because the state, of all institutions, is best equipped to insist on treating people according to its schemata. Thus categories that may have begun as the artificial inventions of cadastral surveyors, census takers, judges, or police officers can end by becoming categories that organise people’s daily experience precisely because they are embedded in state-created institutions that structure that experience…    …In dictatorial settings where there is no effective way to assert another reality, fictitious facts-on-paper can often be made eventually to prevail on the ground.”

Seeing Like A State

Published by Bingo Demagogue

Twitter - @BingoDemagogue

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