I’ve never been one to take pleasure in the suffering of others but I have to admit feeling more than a wee smidgen of schadenfreude in seeing the English squeal and squirm at the prospect of an SNP-propped government in Westminster.
Whilst I’m not a Scot – I don’t think having a Glaswegian sister in law (via Lahore) quite qualifies me – there is a deeply satisfying irony in the thought of a bunch of Jocks from north of the border governing a country that has spent the last five years whipping up the threat posed by foreigners and terrorists (aka Muslims).
This is the first election in my voting lifetime that has been fought on the poisoned ground of immigration. The rise of UKIP has allowed for the English to vent a latent racist antipathy that has simmered beneath the surface since 2004 when Britain opened its borders to the ten new members of the expanded EU, triggering a large influx of migrants from eastern Europe.
Back then most politicians welcomed the free movement directives, even refusing the option of a staggered implementation over several years because Britain needed plenty of cheap labour. Fast forward a decade and the tables have well and truly turned. The eastern Europeans are today’s Windrush generation, victims of a political scapegoating that feeds on and in turn fuels popular prejudices about immigrants stealing jobs, committing crimes, playing the benefits system and undermining some imagined, idyllic and above all, essentially white, British way of life.