Scottish council targets anti-English racism as 'it's more common than Islamophobia'

Moray Council of north-east Scotland is focusing on rooting out discrimination and harassment in the area

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A Scottish council has voted to target anti-English racism as they believe it to be “more common than Islamophobia".

Moray Council of north-east Scotland made the decision to pay special attention “Anglophobia” in their district this week as part of their plans to root out discrimination and harassment.

The move came after the council's adoption of the widely-used definition of Islamophobia set out by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims.

Claire Feaver, a Tory councillor, said while it’s important to recognise people targeted for their faith, prejudice against English people “was far more common".

"I think we also need to recognise along with Islamophobia, Anglophobia," Ms Feaver said in a meeting of council members.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Moray, Scotland in the north-east of the country, with a coastline on the Moray Firth
Moray, Scotland in the north-east of the country, with a coastline on the Moray Firth

She continued: "As a minority group in Moray, I get more emails and telephone calls from people who’ve suffered from Anglophobia and I’d like to flag that up.

"Anglophobia is there all the time, numerous constituents over the last five years have come to me asking what we’re going to do about this."

Donald Gatt, another Moray councillor, supported Ms Feaver’s appeal and revealed even as a Scotsman, he had been a victim of anti-English abuse.

"Any victimisation of people because of their race or their religion or their colour is to be condemned utterly," he said.

"Sadly, I do have to report about two years ago I myself was subject to it. I was told to go back to England and I was born in Perth, so I’m as Scottish as anybody else.

"I would welcome any other moves to eradicate this hatred we have in society whether it’s Islamophobia, Anglophobia or antisemitism."

In Moray, which borders the council areas of Aberdeenshire and Highland, there are two military bases which SNP councillor Aaron McLean said was a big contributor to the community’s diversity.

"Those people have loved Moray, decided to stay here and are now part of our community, friends and part of our family in my own instance," he said.

Graham Leadbetter, the SNP Moray Council leader, said he was open to considering the issue, but refused to change the wording to incorporate prejudice against English people "on the hoof".

He said: "We would all agree any form of discrimination is completely unacceptable. It’s a particularly insidious form of abuse.

"But we are at risk if we randomly add bits to this motion, because there are many areas it could cover.

"For example, we could add gypsy traveller discrimination, which is significant and widespread.

"I’m not averse to having that (Anglophobia) incorporated into the council’s policies, I just think it needs to be done correctly."

An SNP spokesman said: "The SNP believes in equality for all and we’re working hard to deliver a truly inclusive society. All forms of discrimination and prejudice are completely unacceptable."