SNP’s European success spells victory for a different brand of nationalism

The SNP approach to immigration advocates open borders for all races and nationalities.

09 June 2009: Nick Griffin may not be right in thinking the British National Party’s anti-immigrant stand is sure shot mantra for success.

After all, the Scottish National Party (SNP) with its ‘strong social democratic inclinations’ too bagged equal number of two European seats.

Policies poles apart, Alex Salmond of the SNP too is hailing the result as "historic breakthrough", as SNP and Labour gained two seats each, while the Liberal Democrats and the Tories one apiece.

A left leaning nationalist party advocating secession from the United Kingdom, analysts believe SNP is “a modern socialist party still in touch with the needs of the electorate”, unlike Labour.

One of the key issues addressed by SNP is immigration. But the nationalist party’s stand is at angle with BNP’s neo-fascist approach.

SNP is serious about raising immigration to Scotland. It’s plan is to reverse Scotland’s declining population, which is predicted to fall below five million by 2009.

"While Labour and the Tories are competing with each other to keep immigrants out of England, Scotland is crying out for talented people of working age to combat our growing population crisis, " said Alex Salmond.

“Scotland is in historic population decline and the blip caused by Eastern European workers is already coming to an end with many returning back home. It is now recognised that, by the second part of the century, Scotland’s population will fall below five million. That will certainly have an impact on the economy.

“If the Westminster Government is unable or unwilling to address this, then the Scottish Parliament must be given the powers to take the initiative. Scotland really needs the power to administer its own immigration service and determine a policy that meets our own specific requirements.”

Beyond recognising immigration as essential to the economy, a simple reality too many of the English overlook, supporters value how SNP seems to understand that to champion the rights of one group they do not have to trample on the rights of other groups.

“The Scottish Nationalist Party seems to be first and foremost for the Scottish people. The British Nationalist Party seem to be first and foremost against anyone who isn’t British.

“The BNP just don’t get it,” they insist.

Rather, the SNP is a civic nationalist party, which wants an open border for all races and nationalities. The past provides a testimony: Alex Salmond took great pride of his party electing the first Muslim MSP – the late Bashir Ahmed, in 2007.

Political observers insist the SNP’s policy is not hard to comprehend. The open door policy has many takers, as Scotland has a falling population and currently receives less than 10 per cent of the inward migration into the UK.

SNP has went so far as to discussed the possibility of restricting freedom of residence, by granting a "green card" to immigrants that would entitle them to live and work in Scotland on the condition that they did not break a five-year residency requirement.

The proposal was immediately branded as an attempt to "detain" foreign immigrants in Scotland.

Consensus to this approach is grounded also by what is commonly referred to as Scottish ‘inclusiveness’: Scots generally regard themselves as tolerant and non-racist, although some social researchers have lately put this attitude into question.

Not so difficult to explain, say critics: with such a large land mass and relatively low population, the impact of incomers is less disturbing in Scotland than England.

“Most ethnic minorities in Scotland don’t live in areas in sufficiently large numbers to cause the indigenous population much sense of loss or alienation,” commenters have said.

Related articles: Immigrants prefer England to Scotland and BNP’s anti-immigration stand rewarded by its first ever European Parliament seat


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