SCOTS fair gie theirsels a guid auld clap on the back fir their inclusiveness. And whiles its mair than deserved.

The official repone tae the Brexit bourach bein bowfed up doon at Westminster has been braw. Nicola Sturgeon immediately cam oot an telt ilka single European citizen in Scotland that they were mair than welcome tae bide on, an were as muckle tae dae wi Scotland’s praisent an future as onybody else. Aiberdeen University pit up a muckle EU flag at the tap o their tooer as a sign o solidarity. Businesses, organisations an ilka level o government richt up tae oor MEPs sic as Alyn Smith hae shawn the richt, warm, open attitude ye’d want tae see.

We get bealin aboot Theresa May an the Tories are ettlin tae turn the hail o the UK intae a “hostile environment”, makkit aa pairts o Britain uninhabitable for fowk wanchancy eneuch tae be designatit undesirable.

Yet richt here at hame we create oor ain hostile environment. We create oor ain parcel o refugees. We create a fowk wha maun ging aboot in a laun they belong tae, feart o whit their neebors think aboot them. Mair nor thon, they maun ging aboot feart o whit their neebors micht dae tae them.

READ MORE: An hoo dae ye think this relates tae Ulster Scots?

In Scotland there’s nearaboot three thoosan Traivellers that aye bide on the road. Their nummers, its thocht, hae come in pairt fae indigenous traivellin bands o metalworkers, incomin Romany wha’ve been here fae at least the 1500s, an hae been inflatit whiles bi runaway Jacobites, Traivellers takkin on settled spouses an ither means. They circulate baith aroon Scotland an further oot. Owre the years they hae partially integratit wi ither groups o traivellin fowk, sic as the Roma, an nooadays hae relationships wi mony siclike groups.

Three thoosan. Soons like a fair auld skelp does it? It’s aboot the population o Huntly. It means, coincidentally, that Scotland has nearhaun the same nummer o aye-flittin Traivellers in it as it does Syrian refugees. This maks for a no unreasonable comparison.

Scotland fair made us prood wi the wye it dealt wi the arrival o Syrian Refugees. A 2018 Glasgow University report funn that refugees tane in bi Scotland as pairt o the recent conflicts were “much happier” an enjoyed “far better living conditions” than refugees tane in in England. Braw.

Whan the racially motivatit ugsome bogle Katie Hopkins cam awa wi a tweet suggestin that Syrian Refugees arriving tae Scotland haed something tae dae wi the deeth o puir wee Alesha MacPhail an a rise in sexual crime on Bute, she wis toastit. The Ferret immediately dug her oot aboot her havers, an Scottish twitter gaed intae hyperdrive in defence o oor open hertit policy. Quite richt. Guid auld Scotland.

Yet whan news cam oot that a pucklie Traiveller faimlies were ettlin tae set up a wee site tae tak langer staps at, there wis nae sic support. I’ll gie ye a quick upsum. In a quaet wee oot-o-the-road neuk in Aiberdeenshire, a sma community is ettlin tae big a mair permanent stappin grun. A field the noo his been turnt intae packit grun, an whiles caravans stap there. The community o Traivellers hae pit in an application tae pit in space fir three static caravans. Plannin permission haes been pittin in fir. An aaready there’s been 30 complaints fae the “local” community.

The comments on social media were exactly whit ye’d expect. Tinks. Minks. Theives. Dodgy wirkers. Dinnae pey their tax. Shouldnae be allowed. Bairns will disrupt the scuil. Faimlies will pit owre muckle pressure on local NHS services. The main newspaper north o the Mounth scrievit just a wee airticle aboot it, highlichtin the nummer o complaints it’s received fae the local community, aboot a placie whaur twa faimlies hopit tae bide. A closed group is set up on Facebook tae mount an opposition tae the camp. There’s nae visible ootpourin o support.

Davie Donaldson, Scottish Traiveller Activist and Campaigner said “this is a cheil tryin tae big up a safe hame fir his family. Nae mair, nae less. If this wis a Scladie [settled person] biggin a hoose, we wouldnae see ony outrage. Fowk just cannae accept that fowk find ‘hame’ in different ways”.

“Traivellers are treatit wi contempt and mistrust for simply bein Traivellers. We are pre-judged on the actions o oor maist difficult community members. We arnae treatit as individuals, as aabdy else is. We are treatit as ae hail body, an aa end up tarred wi the same brush. Scotland portrays itsel as an egalitarian society – if this is truly the case, how are Traivellers still treated sae badly?”

Whaur is the ootrage? Whaur are the bealin social media commentariat caain oot sic retrograde intolerant pish? Nae place. Naebody cares whan intolerance is sae ingrained as this.

I mind whan I first flittit up tae Moray, tae bide in Burgheid an wirk in Elgin. I made guid pals aroon there. But ae day a pucklie caravans turned up in the great bonnie Cooper Park in the middle o Elgin. “Fuckin tinks. Should chase them oot”. “Need to lock aahin up till thae tinks hae left”. “Polis should deal wi them harder”. These new freens o mine said aa this an mair. The same freens wha wad blaw aboot how Scotland needit its independence, an aboot how Poles were braw neebors. The same fowk that wad dooncry human richts abuse ony place in the warld. These same fowk were pairt o a wab o intolerance that has brocht an auld wey o life near tae an enn.

Wha can forget that Douglas Ross, the incumbent Tory MP sayin that, gin he were (heivin forbid) made Prime Minister fir the dey, the maist important thing fir him wad be tae ensure “tougher enforcement against Gypsy Travellers”. An he’s still the MP, an is weel-liked in Moray. He wis sayin whit aabdy wis thinkin.

This is faur fae an isolated case in Aiberdeenshire, an thae views fae young lads in Moray wernae isolatit tae Moray.

Scotland micht weel be a guid exaimple tae the warld on whit wey tae help gie vulnerable refugees bield. But – an this fact gars us grue wi shame – mony Scots are aye contributin tae a Hostile Environment fir oor ain citizens that differ fae us culturally.

Afore ony Scots opens their mou tae blaw aboot whit braw we are tae aabdy, an how we’re aa Jock Tamson’s bairns, they maun reflect on the Scottish Traivellers an the centuries o persecution, disruption an disdain they’ve strauchled aneath.