By Rory Reynolds
ANTI-ENGLISH attitudes are driving skilled graduates from south of the border away, according to a damning report by the University of Edinburgh.
English students who come to Scotland to work or study often complain of racist attitudes and in some cases leave, the report warned.
The study’s author said he found a “general sense of underlying anti-Englishness” particularly against “people who are perceived as being posh”.
Researchers at the university’s department of sociology interviewed 40 graduates, half of whom left Scotland after studying and with many speaking of negative experiences.
Some said they had received regular abuse, while one even said they had taken their employer to a tribunal over what they claimed was anti-English discrimination.
Several of those interviewed told researchers they found Scotland an “unwelcoming country” and had been told to “piss off back to England” on a number of occasions.
One said: “I used to live in Leith and you felt that barrier came down and it didn’t matter who you were and what you did, that was it.
“They’ve made their minds up about you. It wasn’t just not acknowledging you, but being deliberately rude.
“Scotland didn’t seem to be a place that opened its arms and said, ‘we really want you to come here’.”
Another of those interviewed said they had experienced anti-Englishness while watching football.
They said: “Any kind of allegiance to Scotland has been killed by the anti-English feeling of the Scots.
“I will cheer for the team playing Scotland but not quite as fervently as they do for the team playing England.”
However, the authors of An Audible Minority: Migration, Settlement and Identity Among English Graduates in Scotland found that the experience of Scottish graduates who moved to England was quite different.
The report concluded: “The breadth and nature of our evidence highlights the potential for such experiences to affect identification with Scotland and thus weaken capacity to retain highly skilled graduates who originated from south of the border.”
Ross Bond, lead author of the report, which is featured in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, said: “We found there was a general sense of underlying anti-Englishness.”
“It seems to apply differently to different people and can be a class and regional related thing as well.
“The evidence suggests people from the north of England or people who are more working class don’t encounter the same hostilities as people who are perceived as being posh or from the south.”
Researchers said that all of the abuse that interviewees had reported was verbal, although some claimed they had heard accounts of physical violence.
The university itself has previously been accused of having a “racist” admissions policy because it is said to show a preference to applicants from Scotland and the north of England.
Richard Cairns, the headmaster of Brighton college has previously criticised the university’s policies after several of his top students were refused offers.
He said he was not surprised by the findings of the report, adding, “The situation has got worse.
“I went into a pub once and was told they didn’t serve English people. It’s incredibly insular and very damaging to the country.”