There has been a lot of xenophobic sentiment displayed over the last few years, particularly in England and it is worrying. In the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser; Convenor of the RMT parliamentary group Elaine Smith MSP complained about how our railways are in private hands and that they are now a “cash cow for Dutch state-owned Abellio” and that they are “passing profits abroad”. Most people in Scotland fully agree that our railways should be nationalised, but why does Ms Smith draw attention to which country that money will go to? There are numerous privatised Train Operating Companies operating in Scotland, Arriva and Virgin to name two which aren’t foreign owned, yet Ms Smith specifically singles out the one where the privatised profits don’t go into British pockets. Alluding to foreign companies taking “our” money might resonate with some, but not with most Scots. Her “anti-foreigner” rhetoric is sadly parroted in full colour on the back page of the February issue of the RMT news, and this is perhaps indicative of an agreed approach to campaigning which the RMT would be wise to avoid. While England has voted for Brexit, Scotland did not, and we send the message out that Scotland welcomes people from across the world: to us “foreigners” isn’t a dirty word, a slur to be whispered behind peoples backs.
If privatisation of public services is wrong then by all means make your case on that basis Elaine. Not by the nationality of the pocket the money ends up in.