Community Dialogue & Political Narratives – David Hewitt

 

“I am politically engaged in Edinburgh particularly through Yes Craigmillar and Niddrie. My concerns around Populism and Nationalism are informed by my experiences during the 2014 Independence Referendum. I was active for a year in the lead up to the referendum canvassing on the doorstep and on the streets. Eventually when speaking to indigenous locals, in a now multicultural area, the subject of immigration was always raised particularly Eastern European. The reasons given for it being an issue was usually around their families not being able to get a tenancy or a job. And if I asked if they know any Eastern Europeans and they did it was not those ones that were a problem.

These residents were roundly condemned as racist and their views were ignored. But I didn’t experience them as racists but mostly people concerned at the pace of change and people not being listened to. My concern is that if we ignore the views of working class people then they may become more susceptible to the views and policies of populists and right wing nationalists. On the other hand if we don’t challenge some of the views expressed are we not allowing racist views to take hold?

What is clear to me is that we are not doing enough to ensure that new migrants to the city are integrated as fully as possible.”

– David Hewitt, Active & Engaged Edinburgh Community Member