Scotland just a bit closer to being a racially just society?

Sadly, all-too-common, the Guardian lumps Scotland in with it’s reading of a research report which reveals that there is much to be done to reduce racism and ethnic inequality in ‘Britain’.

While racism is, of course, still a serious problem in Scotland, there are significant differences emerging in terms of, for example, falling hate crime, increasing identification by minority ethnicities with Scotland, and enlightened political leadership in sharp contrast with UK Cons or Labour.

The researchers I contacted, tell me that they have smaller number of respondents in Scotland and Wales, which means we cannot confidently make detailed interethnic comparisons.

However, deeper reading of the research does reveal some encouraging findings for Scotland.

In relation to pandemic management, people across all ethnic backgrounds are more likely to trust the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and local mayors than the UK Parliament.

There are stark differences in political affiliation between the White British majority and ethnic minority voters in the constituent countries of Britain, as shown in Figure 9.9 above. In England, ethnic minority people have much higher support for Labour compared to the White British majority (49% versus 36%), whereas in Scotland and Wales, both ethnic minority and White British people report similar levels of Labour affiliation. Support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) [in February to November 2021] among ethnic minority voters is also on a par with the White British majority in Scotland (around 52%). As expected, there is a generally lower level of Conservative support in Scotland (14‒15%) and Wales (19‒25%) compared to England (26‒39%) among both White British and ethnic minority people. Liberal Democrats in Wales turn out to be a more popular choice among ethnic minority groups compared to White British voters (16% vs 3%), whereas in England and Scotland, this is on a par with the White British majority. In contrast, support for Plaid Cymru in Wales is much lower among ethnic minority (11%) compared to White British (20%) voters. The Green Party fares better with minority voters (8%) in Scotland compared to the White British (4%) majority.

The generally higher level of trust in devolved governments reported by EVENS respondents is in line with the existing evidence from the polls (ONS, 2022Scottish Government, 2022YouGov, 2022). However, what is interesting here is that the higher levels of trust in the Scottish Parliament/Welsh Assembly are equally, or even more so, felt by ethnic minority respondents as the White British respondents. None of the quantitative surveys to date was explicitly able to compare the levels of trust in central and devolved governments for White British and ethnic minority groups. The EVENS finding of elevated political trust for some ethnic minority groups warrants further investigation.

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