I don’t normally discuss white, black and yellow hearts in the Evening News.
It’s more fun writing about maroon Hearts. The fans at Tynecastle and Easter Road showed racism the red card years ago. So it’s high time the rest of the world caught up with Edinburgh and started loving their neighbours, regardless of colour or creed.
We’re still waiting to find out the “why” behind the murder in broad daylight of Labour politician and mother of two, Jo Cox, on the steps of her constituency surgery but it already looks like a hate crime. Back in March, a Muslim shopkeer in Glasgow was murdered by a fellow Muslim for wishing his Christian friends a peaceful Easter. Glaswegians of all faiths and none condemned the killing and its senseless motive. By comparison, the fact that tomorrow we can all vote to decide whether Britain stays in Europe has hardly been setting the heather alight. But the two issues are closely related.
Think about it. How much difference is there between Scotland being forced to leave the EU by people who hate immigrants and the stabbing to death of a much-loved immigrant in Glasgow. Hate-filled words trigger violent deeds. Nigel Farage is the frontman for Brexit. He is so racist he doesn’t even bother to hide it any more. He says in interviews that “immigrants” will flood into Britain, their neighbours will use violence against them and that violence, in his words, will be “legitimate”. If that isn’t incitement, I’m Enoch Powell.
And look his fellow Brexit fans. A ragbag of disgruntled self-publicists from all parties, led by Boris Johnson (inset below). And just the one world leader, the lovely Vladimir Putin. This sorry lot should be losing but they’re running neck and neck with the Remainers. All the polls show that Britain is a nation divided.
Funnily enough, I can muster a wee bit sympathy for those Leavers who aren’t posh racists like Nigella Farrago. The European Union is far from perfect. But it’s easier to transform it from the inside rather than the outside. I’d rather be inside the tent p***ing out than outside the tent p***ing in. Richard Branson says business will be better if we stay and that’s good enough for me. Love or loathe the man, he knows what makes businesses tick – and it’s not self-isolation.
Unlike one out of two English folk, most Scots are Europhiles. We’re for Remaining. We love Europe too much to isolate ourselves from it. We didn’t qualify for the Euros or we’d be over there in our kilts, hugging the locals. Unlike those fat, skinhead Brexit fans who only ever visit France to buy cheap booze or smash up bars and cafes.
I can’t imagine anybody hurling pavement furniture through plate-glass windows on The Shore in Leith. We have no ghettoes. Everyone rubs shoulders with everyone else. The local Sikh Temple has offered to help us fight litter louts and dog foulers. The staff at VDeep fill our bellies with recipes from a hundred Indian cities and craft beers from a hundred Scottish breweries.
Variety is the spice of life in this old port. We pull together; one big rowdy family that loves its neighbours, wherever they come from.
I watched two extraordinary social experiments on YouTube recently. Both have clocked up millions of views. In the first, “Moeladdin”, (https://youtu.be/dYpwzUrF80M) two pranksters called Moe and Al, disguise themselves as a Jew and a Muslim then walk side by side through Jewish and Muslim neighbourhoods in New York, recording people’s reactions. The second experiment is even better. You can’t watch it without crying and laughing, just like the people who participated in it. It’s called “Momondo – The DNA Journey” (https://youtu.be/tyaEQEmt5ls). But I won’t spoil it for you by explaining it. Let’s just say it proves beyond any doubt that “the ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about and the refusal to even discuss it”.
I bet you any money that if you take 20 minutes to watch them both, you won’t vote for Brexit tomorrow.