Thursday, 28 November 2013

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson supporting St Andrew's Day anti-racism rally

Last week Ruth Davidson made a fantastic speech in the Scottish Parliament in support of Equal Marriage.  Here she adds her, and the Scottish conservative Party's support for the St Andrew's Day anti-racism March and Rally.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

The eyes of the world are beginning to fall on Scotland, thanks to not only the upcoming Commonwealth Games, but of course the independence referendum which closely follows.

That puts a pressure on us to promote the fair society we strive to be, and show the watching world that there is simply no place for racism.

It doesn’t matter whether discrimination is prompted by skin colour, nationality or religion, it is unacceptable in modern Scotland.

While we are mindful of the work we still need to do, it is important we acknowledge the advances we’ve made in eradicating racism and recognise that sport can play a huge part in how we see ourselves and how others see us.

It’s a disgrace that some football teams approach matches in certain European countries with trepidation, purely because they know every time a black player receives the ball, he will be greeted with a chorus of boos or monkey chants.

It wasn’t so long ago that the UK had such flashpoints too, and while we’re pleased that this has gone from the British game, it is not something we can afford to become complacent about.

That’s why the Commonwealth Games can be such a key demonstration of the value of progress.

Glasgow is a friendly city and we will welcome every member of every team from every country that’s competing.

Having the friendliest Commonwealth Games in history here in Scotland will show other countries the huge benefits in atmosphere, support, engagement and competition that stamping out racism can bring.

It takes public and political will to do this and while Scotland has both, we can’t pretend that there is not a stubborn minority for whom discrimination and prejudice is a poison they still choose to practice.

If pockets of racism didn’t still stubbornly exist, I wouldn’t be writing this article, and the Scottish Trades Union Congress wouldn’t be staging this important rally every year.

I’m proud to be associated with the event for the second year running, as was my predecessor as leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Annabel Goldie.

If we are to maintain the progress achieved thanks to longstanding events such as this, people and politicians from across the political spectrum must come together to offer their full-blooded support.

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