No place for intolerance

It’s almost fifteen years since Theresa May referred to the Tories as “the nasty party” at their party conference. But, in Scotland, the claim is as relevant as ever.

A string of Tory politicians have recently been caught out making racist, xenophobic or bigoted remarks.


One Tory councillor was caught making anti-Catholic and sectarian remarks, another tweeted racist ‘jokes’. Both have now been readmitted to the Tory party.

And last week new Tory MP, Douglas Ross, said that if he were Prime Minister his first priority would be “tougher enforcement” against the gypsy/traveller community.

His remarks have rightly been condemned by Naomi McAuliffe of Amnesty International who said that they were, “the sort of inflammatory language that fuels continuing prejudice against the Scottish Gypsy Traveller community”.

Yet there has been a shameful lack of action from Ruth Davidson.

Let’s be clear: this type of behaviour has no place in our national debate. As politicians we have a particular responsibility to call out and condemn intolerance and hate.

If we fail to take action, if we chose to walk on by on the other side, we not only normalise intolerance we risk fuelling it further.

Sadly, we should not be surprised by the reaction from the Tory party leadership.

This is the party that is implementing the stigmatising Rape Clause, that dreamt up a Bedroom Tax and that refuses to do everything it can to help unaccompanied children fleeing the horrors of war.

Of course most politicians, from across the political spectrum, get into public life to do good by the community they live in.

So I would appeal to all politicians in Scotland: let us unite against hate, fight intolerance and call out xenophobia at every turn.


Christina McKelvie is SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.